With the relaxation of dress codes becoming more prevalent, the desire to dress a suit without a tie is becoming increasingly more common. In this detailed guide, we cover how to wear a suit without a tie – allowing you to stand out by, as always, paying attention to the details that matter most.
So you’ve decided that immersing yourself into civilization has to come with the added stipulation that you’re always dressed to the nines. Even sans tie. A herculean task, it seems – to exhibit your dapper sensibilities without going all the way. Embracing your inner Justin Timberlake, Daniel Craig or a member on the set of Empire is no easy task, especially as it implies that you bring your A-game without using all tools at your disposal. Dressing sans tie and looking to stand out can at first feel intimidating – but with some practice and eventual attainment of perfection, you’ll be able to step out of your zip code feeling both light and debonair, all at once. Now, who wouldn’t want that?
So with that said, here is our comprehensive guide on how to wear a suit without a tie.
1. Consider the occasion
The occasion you are dressing up for is paramount importance. After all, it could require a suit and tie, in which case, well, your damn out of luck! In the event that you are allowed to dress business casual or wear items other than a full fledged suit, the type of event you are dressing for and seasonal considerations should be paid attention to.
It is important to note that strutting a suit sans tie is very different to pulling off your tie after an arduous day at the office. The latter denotes rebelling against the establishment, per se, and just wanting to loosen both the physical and metaphorical noose, while the former implies a commitment to looking suave, without having to commit all the way.
Daniel Craig rocking a suit without the tie. Courtesy of www.artofmanliness.com
A formal, navy suit without a tie is best worn with a plain white shirt. Opt for a premium shirting fabrics such as a 100 2 ply that will provide your look with ore elegance. Occasionally, when you come across a shirt at a major retailer, you will see a label along the lines of “100’s Two Ply Cotton”. So what does this mean?
Yarn Number – Describes the thickness of the yarn. Lower yarn numbers indicate a thicker yarn, whereas higher yar numbers are indicative of slimmer, finer yarns. Because these thinner yarns can only be created from the smoothest, longest cotton fibers, shirts made from these yarns are generally more expensive.
Ply – refers to the number of yarns used in the weaving process. Two Ply indicates the twisting of two yarns together to form a single yarn before weaving. Fabrics made from two ply yarn are of a higher quality than those composed of single yarn. Because fabric is woven using yarns in two directions (‘weft’ for horizontal and ‘warp’ for vertical), the following designations are often used:
- 2 x 2: Two ply for both warp and weft
- 2 x 1: Two ply for one direction and single ply for the other
- 1 x 1: single ply in both directions
Casual Suit (e.g Beach Wedding or The Kentucky Derby)
While a casual suit without a tie sounds easy, paying attention to fabric composition can help create a balanced look. Balance your lighter linen or cotton suit with a poplin shirt, so as ensure that your shirting fabrics don’t clash. Lighter colored shirts will work best with your less structured, slimmer, notch suit jacket lapels. Or if you’re really looking to go casual without the tie, opt for a polo.
A more casual suit without the tie. Courtesy of www.articlesofstyle.com
2. Air Tie
Looking to make a statement sans tie? How about dressing up all the way, without the actual tie. You guessed it. Full suit, with a buttoned up shirt. This look is ideal for making a statement in a more casual capacity – whether it be a relaxed wedding venue or dressing up for an evening out! This particular look is best pulled off with slim tailoring and a slightly cropped leg. It therefore suit a slimmer body profile.
Looking to really make a statement by contrasting the formalness of the suit with something more casual? Swap out the leather oxford or derby shoes for something more relaxed and casual- loafers or even sneakers.
Strutting a tie sans suit provides for an ideal look! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
3. Pay Attention To Your Collar
Without the center piece of the suit, the tie, all attention turns to the shirt, and as a corollary, the collar (try saying that last past real fast, over and over!). Without a necktie, the collar is what frames your face. A flimsy collar will detract from your overall look and make you appear sloppy. So how do we counter this prevalent issue that plagues many a gentleman?
A key way to give your collar some heft is to use a collar stay. Collar Stays, commonly referred to as ‘collar tabs’ or ‘collar stiffeners’ are flat, rigid pieces of metal or plastic that are inserted into pockets on the underside of your dress shirt collars. The purpose of a collar stay is to give the collar sufficient weight and crispness, so as to keep the dress shirt collar in place. Collar stays give your shirt collars the right amount of weight, so that it lays flat against your collar bone.
Collar Stays definitely help you up your style game! Courtesy of www.teachingmensfashion.com
Collar Stays are available in a range of materials, including plastic, stainless steel & brass collar stays. Brass Collar Stays are equivalent to stainless steel stays, but are composed of a higher end metal. The look of brass - especially burnished or polished brass, provides for a classic, refined look.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s Brass Collar Stays.
Additionally, as elementary as it may sound:
- Iron your shirt collars
- Apply Starch – if possible, provision for dry cleaning and request for your shirts to be lightly or heavily starched.
4. Fit Is Everything
A well coordinated, higher quality tie can momentarily distract from poor fit. Or maybe even slightly longer. Take away the tie, and well, you’re exposed buddy. A poorly fitted suit will have dapper gents of yesteryear rolling in their graves. Make sure that your suit and dress shirt fit. Avoid the pant break. Look for a tapered suit that accentuates your v-shape, and try to avoid the NBA TNT box cut. Sure, we all love Shaq and Barkley. Just not their suit styles.
When wearing a suit without a tie, fit is everything! Courtesy of www.idleman.com
5. Get Creative With Your Dress Shirt Patterns
This holds especially true if you are opting for suit sans tie in a setting outside of work, where you can feel free to experiment. Going on a date night, an evening out or a cocktail party? How about introducing some fancier patterned dress shirts. The more professional your suit and shirt look sans tie, the more a missing tie looks inappropriate (outside of stricter environments, such as the workplace).
Courtesy of www.thebestfashionblog.com
6. Opt for darker colored dress shirts
Hold on tiger. We’re bucking conventional wisdom? Yes, every now and then, circumstances provided, conventional wisdom can be eschewed for something more daring. A darker shirt with a tie just won’t provide the same visual interest as a lighter shirt pattern, as its all about contrast. While contrast levels between jacket and shirt are important, throwing in a darker dress shirt every now and then won’t hurt too much, especially if you can contrast it with a lighter colored pocket square (more on that below).
A black shirt beneath a grey suit, or a grey shirt beneath a blue suit both tend to look completely smooth without a tie.
Just don’t slick your hair back, and you’ll avoid semblance of the Jersey Shore! Courtesy of www.thecoolist.com
7. Embrace louder suit patterns
Strutting a patterned suit with a tie is tricky business. Despite the plethora of style suggestions out there, most gents prefer to opt with one pattern and two solids, or two solids and a pattern. Three patterned items (shirt, jacket and tie), in most instances, are about as automatic a no as an NFL team trading for Tebow for a starting QB.
Forego the tie however, and louder suit patterns suddenly become an option. Larger pinstripes, windowpane suits and sharp solids can all add a seamless stylishness to a shirt without a tie.
Keep your style on point (no pun intended), like Russell Westbrook! Courtesy of www.freshwestay.com
8. Emphasize the drop
The drop, known as the difference between your clothing’s chest and waist measurements, are what creates a perceived V shape. Without a tie, feel free to accentuate the drop by unbuttoning the top two jacket buttons (if it’s a three button jacket) so that only the last jacket button is fastened. This will create the perception of a larger chest dropping down to a smaller waist, hence accentuating your ‘V-shape’, all while making your outfit look more relaxed. It’s a win win!
The more buttons that your jacket has, the tighter its going to squeeze your shirt, while the jacket lapels coming closer together. This results in a more formal look. Unbuttoning of jacket buttons will make the opening of the shirt wider, and hence create a more casual look.
9. Keep your undershirt hidden
Undershirts are important because they can do the following:
- Provide insulation
- Protect your overshirt from body oils
- Help smoothen out your torso for a better fitting shirt.
Conventional wisdom for an undershirt is that it should not be seen. Wearing the wrong type of undershirt can crowd the neck and increase perceived bulkiness. Hence, opt for a v-neck undershirt. The drop of the collar on a v-neck undershirt is perfect for maintaining that polished look.
10. Accessorize Your Suit
With the centerpiece of the suit gone, it’s time to pay attention to your other accessories. Kind of like when Baker Mayfield steps out and others are allowed to shine – ok, terrible analogy. The Browns suck regardless.
So what accessories can we use to spruce up our outfits? Pocket Squares allow you to add a dash of color and pattern to your tie-less suit. Silk will provide sheen, and is appropriate for puff folds, while linen provides textural variation and is ideal when using more complex folds that showcase edges and corners of the pocket square.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of Silk Pocket Squares.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of Linen Pocket Squares
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Looking for an alternative? How about replacing the pocket square with a lapel flower. Lapel flowers can add an instant dash of color and pop to your attire. Make sure to look for lapel flowers that are more in proportion to your lapel size, which should be a consequence of your frame. A wider body type will therefore require larger lapel flowers, while a slim frame and slimmer lapels will require a small diameter lapel flower.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of lapel flowers.
Courtesy of www.thedarkknot.com
Looking to make a statement with your attire that can be more subtle, depending on how much leg your looking to strut? Colorful socks can instantly elevate your style game, and bring attention to your attire without having to wear a tie.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of Men's Colorful Socks
Courtesy of www.blacklapel.com
Finally, bracelets are an ideal way to add visual interest to your clothing. Whether you are opting for leather bracelets, beaded bracelets or both, this accessory will add detail to your attire, while also being an instant conversation starter.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of leather bracelets.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of beaded bracelets.
And that’s a wrap for this one! We hope that you have found this article both informative and enjoyable to read!
Bracelets are a great way to add detail to your attire. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
And that’s a wrap for this one! We hope that you have found this article both enjoyable and informative to read!