Who, What, Where: A Tie Guide

A guide for choosing the right

Written by Blanche Grasset

How to dress for work is
always a tricky question. When it comes to your professional life, it’s
important to make a good impression on colleagues, clients, and your bosses.
The way you dress is the best opportunity to show people what you’re all about.
While some days, a work
uniform will suffice, there are some occasions that call for switching things
up. For example, you wouldn’t wear the same getup attending a networking night,
as you would giving an important presentation or going for a casual day at

We put together this guide to
help make your morning routine a little bit easier.

You might think wearing any
kind of tie will make you appear professional, but that’s not always the case.
In the tie game, we have so many different choices. It can be downright
daunting sometimes.  So what are the
right colors for a job interview? When can you wear a tie with some
personality? You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers.
When selecting your tie,
consider the occasion. The choice of fabric, size, or color will depend on your
the situation, but another important factor to consider is your company
Your Work Dress Code

Business Formal

Business Formal
If you work in a particularly
traditional industry like accounting, finance, or insurance, you’re probably
familiar with these standards of formal dressing.
When you’re regularly meeting
with executives or if you’re striving to hold a high-level position, it’s
expected you come to work in full business professional. Even if your office
skews more casual, you might have to break out this dress code for occasions
like a big meeting with a client.
The business professional look
comes with a few givens. You should be in a formal suit, dress shoes and
collared shirt. To fit with this look we recommend to staying conservative with
your ties. Colors should be neutral (black, grey or dark blue). Concerning
patterns, we will go more for solid patterns and maybe some light stripes.
Absolutely avoid novelty ties (trust us on this one).
Opt for silk ties with a
little sheen, the perfect accessory for formal business settings. Keep the
cotton and knit ties for more casual occasions.
Changing the color and the
pattern of your tie, while still staying neutral, is a good way to vary your
everyday formal look at work.
Business Professional

Business Professional
When it comes to color and
patterns, business professional clothing is a little more relaxed when compared
with its older brother business professional. In a business professional work
environment, you are still required to wear a suit, so ties are the good
accessory to inject more of your personality into your outfit. You’ll have more
liberty for the choice of patterns. Instead of the standard solid or stripe of
a more formal office, don’t be afraid to try a polka dot, plaid or floral.
Silk, cotton and sometimes
knit (if you wear it professionally with a nice suit) are still the most
appropriate materials. Stick to those, and your ties will be well within your
office’s dress code.
Coming to sizes, try to keep
it standard, but skinny ties are also a good option. It really depends on your
personal style and how you want to incorporate it into your business attire.
Bow ties are still pretty difficult to wear in a business professional work
Since you still have to wear a
suit, go up to the next level with your work accessories and choose your
materials and patterns following the seasons.
In winter, we can opt for wool
ties with darker colors (burgundy, brown, dark blue…).
Florals and bright colors will
announce the spring season. It’s also time to wear cotton and skinny tie.
For summertime, be colorful
and bright in your tie choices! Orange, pink, coral, canary, mint, the list of
summer colors is really long.
At last, during fall season
try some plaid patterns and play on the colors with maroon and brownie tones.
Business Casual

Business Casual
In recent years, a growing
number of companies are adopting a business casual code, letting employees
express more freedom with their everyday business attire. Employees still have
to stay professional but they’re allowed to show their personality and wear
more relaxed clothes.
This is time for you to wear
some ties without a suit. This’ll give you a whole new set of style
First, you can definitely wear
those colorful ties to show your mood and personality. Don’t get too carried
away though, we recommend matching your tie with your style.
With business casual, there
are many more options for tie materials. We definitely have to try the knit
during winter, and of course cotton for spring and summer!
It’s also the opportunity to
wear some novelty ties. But remember you’re still at work so avoid very showy
novelty ties, unless you really want to be the center of attention for the day!

When you think about casual
outfits at work, you don’t think about ties. Don’t be so quick! Ties are a good
accessory at work even when you’re allowed to wear more casual outfits. It’s a
great way to express your style through the liberty of wearing what you want at
If your work allowed casual
outfits, try to be the best-dressed guy at the office. You have so many
possibilities, all cards are yours. Your ties can be original and colorful. You
can show your personality with some bow ties, extra long tie or skinny ties. You
can even try a different type of tie for every day of the week: bow tie on
Monday, skinny tie on Tuesday, standard tie on Wednesday, knit tie on Thursday
and a novelty tie on Friday.
Special Occasions at the

Special Ocassions
Just as you wouldn’t wear swim
trunks to a wedding, there are also some specific work occasions where you must
consider the situation before choosing your work attire. This goes of course
for your tie and what style might be appropriate.
Job Interviews

Job interviews are always
stressful. When it comes to your outfit, it can be even more of a hassle.
First, consider your potential
employer and the kind of environment you might work in. There’s a  difference between your buddy’s startup and
that investing job your mom has always wanted you to get.
Avoid novelty ties no matter
what the environment is. Instead, go with a 
conservative pattern like a solid or stripe and stick with traditional
silk ties.
When it comes to color, blue
is always a good idea. Blue connotes a calm and soothing nature so you’ll
appear more confident and reliable. It’s also a color that suggests elegance
and maturity.
Keep in mind that you need to
wear traditional outfits that won’t distract from the most important thing:
getting the job.
Leading a Meeting

Leading a Meeting
When you’re leading a meeting
or making a presentation, you should keep things traditional and go with a silk
necktie. Take a chance with a powerful color like red or burgundy.  Those colors portray dominance and self-confidence.
It may give you the bravado you need drive the point home.
Office Party

Office Party
This is the occasion to wear
something festive and original. We recommend wearing something classy with a
touch of personality.
Holiday Parties

Holiday Party
It’s time for you to wear your
best holiday novelty tie! Don’t be afraid to break out something bold at your
next Christmas party. Chances are that everyone will be too drunk to remember
if it was a hit or not.
If your job is too stuffy for
a silly holiday tie, then stick to something less in your face. Patterned ties
are great at portraying a more casual look without going over the line.
Cocktail and Social Events

Cocktail Party
Cocktail parties are great
networking events. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a good impression. Silk
ties might look great with your traditional suit but knit ties are going to
look much better with cocktail attire like deconstructed blazers and a pair of
chinos. Keep colors conservative for this one.
Suit Up

Closing Header
We hope this guide will make
your life easier when it’s time to choose your working outfits.
When you have to wear a suit
everyday, ties are the perfect working accessory to show your personality and
your everyday mood. Keep in mind that ties will always get you more respect in
every working situation. So dress to impress!

Blanche Grasset

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.