Paisley Tie Guide | How & When To Wear A Paisley Tie

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Knowing how & when to wear a paisley tie can be of immense value when upping your sartorial game. In this detailed paisley tie guide, we cover the different types of paisley patterns, why you should considering wearing a paisley tie, pattern matching suggestions and ultimately, when to wear a paisley tie!

Finding variation in your tie game can be like looking for unique music in today’s saturated, auto tuned music industry. Or an old school center in the modern NBA’s five out offense, with big men limping out to the line to jack up three point attempts. Before I risk sounding like the grumpy old uncle you aim to avoid every time there’s a family dinner, let me introduce an element of hope in what can sometimes seem like drab part of your wardrobe – your neckties.

Sure, there are patterns that do stand out – such as polka dot ties, that can make your ensembles seem a bit more whimsical. But by and large, neckties seem to be fairly limited to solids, foulard repeating patterns and stripes. The occasional printed silk tie with a repeating animal motif can lighten things up too – making your suit wear appear more lively.

Paisley Silk Ties

 Paisley Ties can be an incredible way to inject your ensembles with flair & intrigue! Courtesy of

However, if you are looking for a tie that can paradoxically both loosen up and elevate your style game, making an emphatic statement at the same time – look no further than the paisley tie.

Paisley Tie Overview

The Paisley Tie is a droplet shaped pattern of Persian Origin. Such designs became popular in the west in the 18th and 19th centuries, following the importation of post-Mughal versions of the motif from India, particularly in regard to Kashmiri Shawls. Resembling a twisted eardrop, the paisley tie’s name is derived from a town in West Scotland, where paisley patterns were first introduced.

The teardrop shape was initially named ‘buta’ or ‘boteh’, translating to ‘flower bud’ or ‘spray of leaves’.

Paisley Patterns

Paisley Patterns can be traced back to Persian origins. Courtesy of Rhode Island School Of Design Museum, Providence, RI.

Why Wear A Paisley Tie

Before we delve into the details of wearing a paisley tie, why consider even strutting one in the first place?

  • Brings muted colors to life. If your sartorial sensibilities are more classically inclined, a paisley tie with a pop of color will contrast perfectly with your more subtle colored suits and shirts, injecting your ensemble with much needed flair.
  • Adds an element of edge to your stye. Every now and then, we need a break from our tendencies, and our style game is no different. Introducing paisley ties into your wardrobe will allow you to experiment with your style game!
  • Paisley Ties are business appropriate. While we would eschew more colorful paisley patterns for two toned schemes (more on that below), these ties can work for both daily work wear and important presentations. Larger paisley ties in particular work extremely well, as they can be paired with solid, finely striped or micro checkered shirts.
  • Highly versatile. Paisley ties can be worn with your solid grey, navy blue, brown or black suits!

Paisley Silk Tie

Featuring The Dark Knot's Amesbury Paisley Brownish Gold Silk Tie.

Paisley Tie Pattern Matching

Paisley tie patterns are typically offered in smaller, medium sized or larger sized variants. Larger sized paisley patterns, which is what the design is most typically associated with, can be worn with a range of underlying shirt & suit patterns, given the pattern spacing within the tie design.

When matching patterns, similar to matching colors, you ideally want to create an element of contrast with the shirt and suit that you are wearing. As a general rule of thumb, avoid mixing and matching three patterns, as it could be deemed as overkill – especially if you are unsure as to what you are doing.

Contrary to popular opinion, pattern proportion is more important than difference in patterns. Hence, a larger spaced striped silk tie will work perfectly against a narrowly striped shirt. While you are unlikely to match a paisley tie against a paisley shirt, proportion is still of critical importance.

As a consequence, larger proportioned paisley patterns will pop off perfectly against a finely striped or micro checkered shirt.

Paisley Silk Tie

The Dark Knot’s Bar Harbor Paisley Navy / Turquoise / Silver Silk Tie pops off perfectly against this micro checkered shirt.

Conversely, smaller paisley patterned ties should not be worn with patterned shirts, so as to avoid pattern clashing. Hence, smaller patterned paisley ties are best worn with a solid dress shirt.

Paisley Silk Tie

Smaller paisley patterned dress shirts are often best complemented by a solid white dress shirt. Featuring The Dark Knot’s Menaggio Foulard Red / Navy Printed Silk Tie.

Larger Patterned Paisley Ties

Larger patterned paisley ties with a two tone color sequence are ideal for office wear. Contrary to the popular notion that paisley ties are largely colorful, overtly bold statement pieces, a two toned paisley tie with navy, brown or burgundy tones can be the perfect piece for office wear – whether it’s for daily work or an important presentation.

Looking for a statement piece that is more emphatic, but requires more risk taking with your fashion sensibilities? The Dark Knot’s Exeter Paisley Silk Tie Blue / Brown offers the level of formality associated with a two toned paisley tie, while significantly upping the oomph factor.

Blue & Brown Paisley Silk Tie

Featuring The Dark Knot’s Exeter Paisley Blue / Brown Silk Tie. Courtesy of

Additionally, these larger patterned paisley ties can work incredibly well in more festive settings, such as an evening out with friends, a cocktail party or a wedding reception. The inherently playful nature of a paisley tie allows for perfect juxtaposition against a more formal or business casual ensemble, all whilst maintaining an emphatic & intriguing look.

Please feel free to view The Dark Knot’s range of stunning paisley silk ties

Smaller Patterned Paisley Ties

Smaller & Medium sized paisley patterns are best worn with a solid shirt. While medium sized paisley patterns can be worn with a finely striped or micro checkered shirt, it’s most prudent to pair these patterns with a solid shirt, so as to avoid pattern overclash. While we generally advocate wearing larger paisley patterns in more subdued, traditional colors such as navy, burgundy or bronze, we recommend experimenting with non traditional colors such as yellow for smaller paisley patterns!

These more subtle, less prominent paisley patterns are well contrasted with a more whimsical color, such as yellow, allowing for a refined, visually intriguing look.

An example would be The Dark Knot’s Menaggio Foulard Yellow / Brown Silk Tie, which can be worn at a summer time wedding reception or an evening out with friends!

Paisley Silk Tie

Featuring The Dark Knot’s Menaggio Foulard Yellow / Brown Printed Silk Tie. Courtesy of

Silk Ties | Ties | Neckties | Extra Long Ties

Printed Paisley Patterns

While woven silk ties are manufactured through the intricate interlocking of yarns, creating textural depth, printed ties can be just as charming, without as much of the fuss. Hence, for a casual evening out with friends or a dinner party, we suggest slipping on a paisley tie with a more relaxed feel – so you know, you don’t feel quite as stuffy!

Printed Paisley Polyester Tie

Featuring The Dark Knot’s Groveland Paisley Printed Polyester Tie.

Maverick Inspired Paisley Ties

Maverick or renegade inspired paisley ties often involve a throwback to yesteryear – that is, indulging in a shopping spree at vintage stores. These ties may very well include paisley ties with more colorful motifs – often too colorful. While these may not necessarily be a part of our steady sartorial diet here at The Dark Knot, there too, is a place for such inspired neck pieces for you oh so daring individuals!

Paisley Silk Tie

A retro inspired colorful paisley tie. Courtesy of

How To Match A Paisley Tie

While we’ve gone over the golden rule of pattern matching (matching pattern proportions) as it pertains to paisley ties, here are some general guidelines when opting to wear one:

  • When in doubt, wear a white dress shirt. If you feel paisley can feel overwhelming for you, imagine what it’s like for the viewer. Temper the bold look provided by a paisley pattern with a solid white dress shirt – especially if you’re unsure as to your color and pattern coordination sensibilities.

 Paisley Silk Tie

Featuring The Dark Knot’s Alexandria Paisley Navy / Fuschia Silk Tie. 

  • Pair your silk paisley ties with a classic woolen suit. Neutral, woolen suits such as navy, grey, brown or black will pair well with any paisley silk ties. While cotton or even linen paisley ties can work particularly well with relaxed summer fabrics at a beach wedding come summer time, we suggest pairing your silk paisley ties with a woolen suit in most instances.
  • Paisley patterns are best paired with relatively neutral pieces, given that paisley ties are inherently louder by nature.

Paisley Silk Ties

Featuring The Dark Knot’s Caledonia Paisley Blue / Bronze Silk Tie. Courtesy of

Please feel free to view The Dark Knot's range of Paisley Ties!

Paisley Pocket Squares

Given that we have expounded upon the topic of appropriately strutting paisley ties, we would be remiss if we were not to mention its stylistic counterpart – the paisley pocket square. Contrary to conventional wisdom, ties and pocket squares should not be from the same design, pattern or even color.

In fact, the art of wearing a pocket square involves choosing a piece that appropriately complements your choice of tie, as opposed to matching it. This shows a certain level of discretion, and ultimately, sophistication with regards to your sartorial instincts.

Paisley Silk Pocket Square

The Dark Knot’s Gloucester Paisley Silk Pocket Square.

As such, at The Dark Knot, we are strong advocates of complementing your solid, striped, foulard (smaller geometric repeating patterns), polka dot or printed silk ties with a paisley pocket square. The pattern spacing of paisley pocket squares generally makes them a great match with regards to pattern proportion. Complementing a smaller patterned silk tie with a larger patterned paisley pocket square will create a pronounced effect.

Secondly, paisley pocket squares are often louder in color scheme, allowing them to make your ensembles pop. Looking for a further touch of sophistication? Try The Dark Knot’s pocket squares that come with hand rolled contrasting edges, further adding to the statement that your paisley pocket square will undoubtedly make!

Pocket Square | Silk Pocket Squares | Linen Pocket Squares

When & Where To Wear A Paisley Tie

How’s that for a tongue twister? Now that we’ve covered why one should wear a paisley tie, tie pattern matching etiquette and guidelines for how to style a paisley tie, we are left with the last burning question most of us would have (unless of course, you have reservations about wearing a paisley tie with your birth suit and swimming trunks!).

Daily Work

While Paisley Ties may appear whimsical at first glance, a two toned paisley tie with a navy, burgundy or even olive green background makes for perfect daily work wear. A larger paisley pattern will allow you to pair your tie with a range of underlying shirt and suit patterns – though, we would prefer to keep the shirt to a solid, microcheckered or finely striped shirt.

Moreover, due to both the louder and intricate nature of a paisley tie, we would highly advocate wearing two patterns at most – hence, your suit or shirt should be a solid, so as to avoid pattern overkill!

Paisley Silk Ties

Featuring The Dark Knot's Caledonia Paisley Brown / Gold Silk Tie.


Similar to daily work, a paisley tie with the appropriate muted color base (navy, burgundy, olive green or brown) can work perfectly in a presentation setting. Again, the trick here is to opt for a two toned tie, so that the focus is ultimately on the topic at hand, and not on your overtly fancy Disney inspired tie.

In a presentation setting, however, we recommend pairing your paisley silk tie with a solid white dress shirt and a solid suit. One bold pattern in a presentation setting will suffice – keeping your look crisp, clean and elegant, without detracting from the main event.

Date Night

Looking to make an impression on date night? What better way to strut your stuff than by opting for a paisley tie. Now is the time to incorporate more playful colors or paisleys of a different variety – smaller paisley patterns, printed paisley ties or even alternative, synthetic fabrics such as a polyester paisley tie!

Paisley Tie

A bolder paisley tie can make for perfect date night attire! Courtesy of

Evenings Out / Cocktails

Evenings Out are the perfect opportunity to showcase your unique style. Whether you want to strut a larger paisley patterned or smaller repeating paisley designed tie, evenings out are the perfect way to experiment with your color & pattern preferences! Similar to a date night – printed paisley ties or synthetic fabrics such as polyester can do the trick!

Paisley Silk Tie

A bolder paisley tie can set the tone for a cocktail party or evening out! Courtesy of


Celebrate those festivities with aplomb! Inject that pomp & pageantry with your own sense of style, raising your look and eliciting intrigue from onlookers. While paisley ties are ideal at a wedding setting, we would make a clear delineation between evening and day time weddings.

For evening or fall / winter weddings, we advocate opting for a two toned, more subdued paisley tie with a navy, burgundy or olive green background. This tie will most likely allow you to make a statement, whilst letting you blend in with the (most likely subdued) requisite dress code.

 Paisley Ties

Featuring The Dark Knot’s Cernobbio Paisley Burgundy / White Silk Tie.

For beach , outdoors or spring / summer weddings, lighter colored paisley ties can work particularly well. While certain lighter colors can work well with larger paisley patterns, such as baby blue or light pink ( as seen above) we generally think lighter colored paisleys look best with smaller patterns.

While a larger paisley pattern with a pastel colored background may create too bold a look, a smaller paisley pattern with a bolder color can seem more congruent, especially for a wedding!

Paisley Silk Ties

And that’s a wrap for this one. We hope that you have enjoyed reading it as much as we have writing it.

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