The Complete Guide To Ties

Every gentleman knows, no modern smart outfit is complete without a treasured tie. It adds a degree of sophistication and elegance to finish off your suit and shirting combination. Often associated with office wear, the tie can also be used in more ways than one to glamourise your outfit. As we are known for our bespoke range of handmade silk, wool and cashmere ties, we thought it best to give our community the official Rampley & Co guide to all things ties. Below we will cover...

  • How to wear a tie with a suit?
  • Pattern matching and colour guide
  • How to do a tie knot effectively
  • Handmade ties vs machine made
  • Natural tie fabrics vs synthetic 


    handmade ties


    The necktie we know and love today has been around for more than 150 years. From the hand-painted ties of post-WWI to the wild and wide ties of the 1970’s, to the skinny ties of the late 1950’s, the necktie has remained a constant staple of men’s fashion.

    The necktie originated in the 17th Century, whereby King Louis XIII hired Croatian mercenaries who wore a piece of cloth around their neck as part of their uniform, used to tie the top of their jackets. Outside of their functional usage, they offered a decorative effect, a look that King Louis became quite fond of; hence the term we now see common in menswear, "La Cravate", was made in honour of the Croatian soldiers.

    During the 20th Century, the world saw a decline in formal cravats as men's fashion became less about the look and more about comfort, functionality and fit. In 1920 a tie maker named Jessie Langsdorf invented a new way of cutting the fabric when constructing a tie. This led to the creation of different tie knots. Bow ties were reserved for formal occasions, scarf ties for artistic and flamboyance, whilst neckties were the predominant choice for gentlemen in everyday wear.

    history of ties

    By the 1930s, scarf ties and bow ties were out of fashion, leaving only the now traditional silk necktie to dominate, in an array of pattern clash and colour mix. The hand painted tie continued to be popular in the early ’50s, with the designs becoming more abstract, cubist, modern, and artistic. The tie became a statement for plays on colour, shape and creative flair vs traditional hobby use.

    1930s ties

    By the 1960s, ties got the narrowest they have ever been, when the ultra thin 2 inch skinny tie came in vogue to go with skinny suits. Solid colours and striped designs were preferred in most ’50s business attire, while mod art designs reigned in the ’60s. The 1970s tie saw the rise of the neckerchief. A square silk scarf was tied around the neck and held in place with either a square knot or a tie ring with ends pointing to the sides. 

    During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the width of the necktie was played with & explored. It is rumoured that ‘skinny’ ties were invented in the 1950s as the makers were running short of fabric, so they used the last bits to form a tie! Then, during the disco era of the '70s, neckties became super wide and bold in colour and pattern, groovy indeed.

    Today, the new standard tie width is 3.5 inches and 150cm in length, but it’s straightforward to find sizes, patterns and fabrics across a wide range of tie options to suit your needs.

    Shop the Collection: Handmade Ties

    tie widths


    When first created and developed, each tie was sewn individually, sometimes leading to ties that looked slightly different in shape and width to each other. Nowadays, with all mass production, some machines can make thousands of ties an hour without any need for human interaction.

    Handmade does precisely what it says on the tin. Each tie is individually made by a person, which costs more to produce but leads to higher quality craftsmanship and work.

    All our ties at Rampley & Co are handmade to align with our brand ethos of quality and perfection in all your attire, to ensure a long-lasting evergreen product. Our handmade collection encompasses many styles and materials across the most delicate fabrics in the world. Once the fabrics are sourced, our ties are then handmade in England by skilled craftsmen to the highest possible standards to give the perfect finish.

    handmade ties


    All fabrics in menswear can be characterised as either natural or synthetic fibres (or a blend of the two). Both types have pros and cons; natural fibres come from plants and animals, while synthetic fibres are made from chemical compounds and are artificial. 

    Advantages of Using Natural Fibres
    Natural fibres such as cotton, silk, wool and linen are popular for many different reasons; as the fabric is generally more environmentally friendly and durable. All our handmade ties are made from natural fabrics to keep our design quality & sustainability focus intact. 

    Natural fibres are our choice within the Rampley & Co tie collection. They have an incredibly high absorbency, as the fibres, both plant and animal, have a strong affinity for water. They also usually have a smaller environmental impact than synthetic fibres because natural fibres do not use as many chemicals during the production process. However, some natural fibres, e.g. cotton fabric, are less eco-friendly than others because some plants require more water.

    handmade natural fabric tie


    One of our core brand values at Rampley & Co is to only work with the finest and premium fabrics in the market, delivering our community the best quality available. Below we explore our established fabric suppliers. 


    Fox Brothers
    Fox Brothers only work with the very finest resources to ensure the highest quality finished product, and this has been integral to the global reputation Fox Brothers has forged. The wool they choose to use is premium super fine Merino from Australian wool growers, simply because it’s the finest and softest wool in the world.

    Its natural benefits are so great that no other fibre, whether natural or synthetic, can compete. When used for ties, Australian Merino wool is perfect all year round. The crimped composition of the fibre provides unbeatable insulation by condensing moisture and air inside the fibre and providing heat to your body. This means it both draws and keeps moisture away from the skin.

    Knowing all of this, when it came to selecting fabrics to work with, Fox Brothers was a clear choice and enables us to work within our sustainable framework to source the best materials and highest quality workmanship resulting in long lasting clothes and accessories. 



    Shantung is a high end, best in class type of silk fabric with characteristic irregular ridges known as slubs running through the fabric. Like many silk fabrics, shantung is crisp, and its lightness causes it to drape elegantly. It's one of the thinnest forms of silk fabric on the market, and with its added texture, is considered one of the finest silks available.

    Established as a centre of silk production since the 16th century, northern Italy is synonymous with the highest quality silks which we are proud to use for our Shantung ties. Our current collection contains 3 bespoke tie designs, with a diagonal classic stripe pattern running throughout across core menswear colours, suitable for office wear or occasion dressing

    Further Reading: Product Focus Shantung Silk Ties

    Knowing their beautiful elite yarns and the fine details and workmanship of the fabrics, Scabal fully reflects our brand values on quality, design and sustainability. With their mills, set in the glorious hills of Huddersfield, they have perfect atmospheric conditions to nurture the cloth and create rare fibres. Alongside this, the fabrics and cloths have great stability and recovery performance, and we can produce garments that will stand the test of time.

    All our Scabal fabrics are prepared with the Scabal Bloom finish which adds a subtle lustre to each cloth to enhance the hue levels. At Scabal, everything begins with cloth, and for over 80 years they have stood at the forefront of innovation and sophistication in weaving. At present, their unique and inspired cloths can be found in over 75 countries worldwide.


    Of course, millions of ties are out there on the market, and millions more are added to the mix every year. Unfortunately, however, only a tiny proportion of these are actually worth the time of day and money. So what hallmarks should we be looking for in a quality tie?

    We have discussed handmade vs machine earlier on, but any definitive quality tie, in our opinion, has to be handcrafted. Premium handmade ties are cut on the bias - otherwise, the tie will have an unfavourable twist, not hang straight and have a poor drape. The traditional way to cut a tie is referred to as a three-fold tie. So-called because of the way the tie is folded - three times basically: if you look at the back of the front blade, the silk has been folded in on itself on either side, and one of those flaps has just been tucked under – creating a small, third fold so that you get a closed seam on the edge.

    Handmade ties should also boast a slip stitch running the entirety of the tie – a loose piece of silk thread that ensures the tie will always retain its shape. You should also notice a bar tack on the lower section of the blade of the tie, a single heavy stitch that holds the two sides of the tie together - it reinforces the slip stitching and helps a tie retain its shape.


    Even though the tie is one of the most minor cloth accessories within menswear fashion, it has many parts and intricate components to make up this classic pointed design. What are the main components of a tie?

    The Shell
    The shell is the outer layer of fabric used on the tie; as discussed previously with our range of premium fabrics, these are traditionally cotton, silk, wool or linens. Ties are usually meant to be cut on the “true bias” of the fabric. This means that it will be cut at a 45-degree angle, ensuring that the tie lays flat when worn and generally stays wrinkle-free. In addition, bias cutting softens the fabric's drape, which means skill is required to fold the tie and create a beautiful shape around the interlining.

    This is the fabric lined into the inside of the blade, hidden between the layers of the ties outer shell. Interlining helps create and maintain the tie's shape and adds extra bulk and weight, and is specific to each tie shell fabric, fold and style, part of the handmade process. Interlinings are crucial to keep and maintain the classic shape and hold of your tie.



    Tipping is the fabric sewn onto the backside of the tip and tail of the tie. There are three methods to finishing tips: un-tipped, self-tipped, and decorative tipping. Self-tipping is matched to the shell fabric and design, while decorative tipping includes having an extra fabric pattern of print for a highlight colour. 

    Keeper/Tie Loop 
    This is the extra piece of fabric, small in width, that is sewn into the backside of the tie blade. It has a functional use, whereby the tail of your tie should go through the loop to help keep the smart shape and tail out of sight. No one likes a droopy tail!


    What type of tie should I wear? This season is all about getting out again and looking your best. Below we give you our absolute favourites from the Rampley & Co collection to dress up or down your workwear or smart occasion dressing.

    1. Navy Prince of Wales 100% Merino Wool tie - we adore this versatile and well rounded option and is entirely handmade in England using fabric from the world-renowned Fox Brothers & Co. The classic Prince of Wales pattern in navy tones is a crisp, dry worsted cloth, and provides a subtle texture and firm structure. One of the most famous of the traditional British patterns, this tie works beautifully with most jackets.

    2. Charcoal Basketweave 100% Merino Wool tie - Greys work with just about all jackets and shirting as a colour family as they are cool, soft and easy on the eye. This traditional pattern has a weave reminiscent of wicker basket wear, from which it draws its name.

    3. Steel Blue and Gold Medallion Silk Twill tie - We love a patterned tie, and this rich, jewelled toned geometric option will see you through any party season. It provides a subtle addition to an outfit and can be used in both casual and formal occasions as well as matching with a variety of more exciting and colourful pocket square designs.

    4. Navy & White Striped Shantung Silk tie part of our Shantung range, this tie is handmade in England with Italian woven Shantung silk. Perfect for any occasion dressing, this fine and luxurious fabric add texture and sophistication to any outfit. The weaving of thicker yarns into the silk results in a tie that is truly unique, while the texture also lends itself perfectly to a more casual look.

    5.Chestnut Brown Wool-Cashmere blend tie brown seems to be the trend colour of the sartorial season, with its warm tones and versatile use, we think this will be one of our best sellers. The blend of wool and cashmere makes for a supremely soft finish to the tie, that will work particularly well with any navy jacket. 



    Which is the best way to knot a tie? Below are the two most commonly known tie knots to follow for your everyday needs.

    Four In Hand Knot
    The four-in-hand knot is tied by placing the tie around the neck and crossing the broad end of the tie in front of the narrow end. The broad end is folded behind the narrow end and brought forward on the opposite side, passed across the front horizontally, folded behind the narrow end again, brought over the top of the knot from behind, tucked behind the horizontal pass, and the knot pulled snug. The knot is slid up the narrow end of the tie until snug against the collar.
    four hand knot
    Oriental Knot
    Also known as the simple knot, is the quickest and efficient knot as the oriental knot contains the fewest possible steps and is very easy to learn. It involves similar process to the four in hand knot but without being folded behind the narrow end again. Despite its simplicity, this knot is rarely worn in the West but maintains popularity in China. This knot works well with thick neckties or for tall guys who need a little extra length.
    oriental knot


    One question we often get asked is whether you should be matching your tie and pocket square. Of course, the short answer is no, but it’s not as simple as that. The key to matching and pairing your accessories is complimentary colours.

    The purpose of the pocket square is to complement the rest of your look: either by harmonising or contrasting with your other accessories. So although some stores even offer matching tie and pocket square sets, our advice is to steer clear of these if you want to be seen to be on top of your style game.

    Let your tie be the first item you define and choose to outfit build into your shirt and jacket. Depending on the occasion, this could be various fabrics, widths, and patterns. Understand the core base colour of your tie and follow suit with the pocket square. When we discuss base colours, this should be the overall most prominent colour running through your tie. In the below example, the check tie is an ecru base tone, so the pocket square should have this incorporated into the print in order to fold and match.

    tie and pocket square matching

    For example, in the below image, the correct tie example is a solid burgundy. Therefore, the pocket square to match chosen is a pattern of royal blues, reds and golds, but the key pairing colour here is the red highlights popping through that complement and pair well with the plain tie. If your pocket square has a pattern or print, for example, then pick a colour from that palette to bring your look together and match it to a primary colour in your ties.

    Matching tie and pocket square

    Equally, you could choose a pocket square that is a shade lighter or darker than the core colour of your tie ensemble. Remember, it’s all in the detail, so don’t be afraid to bring out an accent colour on a subtle pinstripe or checked shirt.


    While all of our cashmere, silk and merino ties pair well with either a standard navy or grey jacket, they are equally at home with slightly more adventurous patterns such as stripes or checks. The general rule of thumb is the louder the jacket pattern, the more subdued the tie; there’s nothing worse than the two competing against each other. So for a bold, busy check blazer, for example, the plainer subtle patterns come into their own.

    Be sure to tread with care when wearing micro shirting patterns such as checks and stripes, as it is easy to clash with double prints, so again, aim to choose a plain or textured fabric tie when wearing a patterned shirt. Our favourite ties with print and patterns work fantastically with a crisp, smart white shirt, making the tie your focal point.


    In summary, we at Rampley and Co have created an ethos whereby a tie is seen as an incredibly versatile accessory option, allowing modern men to express themselves and vary their look without investing in different suits and outerwear. Whether through fabric, design or pattern, we believe all men should have the perfect outfit combinations available to them under one roof, allowing you to be creative and act as a leader in your day to day life. We hope this guide has given you some insights and techniques to dress up or down your tie choices on site. You may also be interested to see our guides on pocket squares etiquette and black suit combinations to see you through your sartorial needs.


    Further Reading:

    The Journal: Product Focus Series

    Read our Pocket Square Guide 2021

    Shop the Collection: Handmade Ties


    1. All our ties are handmade in England by tie makers with decades of experience producing the finest ties. This ensures that each tie is entirely unique as well as being produced to an exceptionally high standard. We carefully select our interlinings based on the individual fabric being used, which ensures the perfect balance of weight and movement to prevent creasing.

    Moss Pindot Fox Brothers Tie

    2. We choose to work with only the finest fabrics to make our ties. Our wool and cashmere fabrics are woven in the UK from the world renowned Fox Fabrics and Scabal. We also only work with the finest silk, printed in Macclesfield, England, an area that traces its history of textile production back hundreds of years.

    Fox Brothers Fabric Book

    3. Our ties are produced as a classic 3-fold tie with a self-tipped finish, which provides a nice weight while not using an excessive amount of fabric. Self-tipping is widely considered as a finer way to finish a tie, where the back of the blade is made from the same fabric as the tie itself. Self-tipped ties are generally found on premium quality neckwear due to the higher cost of production.

    Self tipped grey and white pinstripe

    4. We produce our ties with the versatile dimensions of an 8cm (3.15 inches) wide blade and 150cm (59 inches) long. This ensures our ties will pair nicely with the width of most jacket lapels. We also add a stretch loop while slipping the tie, a continuous piece of thread that allows the fabric to move when worn. This special stitch is another indicator that a tie is handmade.

    Brown Glen Check Super Fine Merino Wool Tie