How to Wear a Suit Without a Tie

Men have complained about ties for ages. They can feel binding and hot, and seem a little strange, a little pointless, and a little like a colorful noose.

If you’re a man who dislikes ties, is it advisable to wear a suit without one? Can you do so and still look stylish and appropriately dressed?

Today we’ll provide the answers to these questions.

Should You Wear a Suit Without a Tie?

Most generally, the answer to this question is no.

An entire traditional suit get-up — pants, jacket, shirt, and tie — is not a system of independent pieces, but rather interconnected parts that are designed to be worn together. A suit jacket shouldn’t be worn with different pants than the ones it came with. A dress shirt and tie don’t look good without a jacket. And the full suit doesn’t look complete without a tie. The suit itself is in fact designed with the tie in mind; its lapels, along with the collars of your dress shirt, serve as frames to the neckwear which runs down the center of your chest.

A tie then pulls the suited look together and adds a bit of finish and authoritativeness to your outfit. Not to mention, it simply adds a nice bit of color and visual interest to what is otherwise a fairly monochrome ensemble.

Wearing a tie with a suit is thus a must for all professional and more formal events and environments. Showing up tieless to a place where everyone else is wearing a tie will make you look kind of dopey — conveying that you’re either lazy (the kind of guy who prefers his own comfort to showing respect for the occasion), superficially rebellious (“Okay, I consent to wearing a suit, but I draw the line at putting on a tie!”), or sartorially clueless.

Even for more business casual occasions, if the event is dressed-down enough to forgo the tie with your suit, you’ll typically be better off wearing a sport coat without a tie, as those two style elements better complement each other.

However, all this being said, wearing a suit without a tie actually isn’t a bad look. There are times where you don’t want to project conventional authority, or even look entirely “complete,” and ditching the tie can be a fine, stylish way to dress down a suit. It’s a viable option for certain occasions and events like a casual outdoor summer wedding (hot weather in general makes the tieless suit a more acceptable choice), cocktail party, or art gallery opening. It can also work in environments in which you normally wear a suit but have been called into an emergency meeting or sent into the field to work on a project outside the norm. It’s notable that politicians seem to increasingly be forgoing the tie outside of more formal campaign events, perhaps to offer a more open and accessible look to voters and constituents.

To pull off the look yourself, you’ve just got to keep a few guidelines in mind.

How to Wear a Suit Without a Tie

The main issue with skipping the tie when wearing a suit is that it’s apt to be read either as an unintentional omission — you forgot a tie or didn’t understand the dress code — or as a merely comfort-driven decision — you’ve been drinking too much, and are feeling flushed and like you need to tear off your tie to better get down on the dance floor.

The corrective to this issue, naturally, is to take steps to ensure that going tieless seems less like a sloppy oversight and more like a deliberate style choice. You know how to dress, and you’re ditching the tie on purpose.

Nail the fit. Fit is always key, and it’s even more important in the absence of a tie, when your get-up runs a greater risk of going sideways into sloppiness.

Wear a more casual/stylish, non-business suit. Skipping the tie while wearing a more formal, structured, conservative, dark-colored business suit just feels like you were willing to start something, but didn’t want to go all the way; it exudes that “incomplete” feel that mars the tieless look.

Instead, forgo the tie only when you’re wearing a more casual/stylish suit that fits better with dressed-down social occasions. Think lighter colors and fabrics, less structured, slimmer notch lapels.

Wear a less formal shirt. Same idea here. Your shirt choice will come into greater focus in the absence of a tie, and a more casual shirt telegraphs that this absence was an intentional choice. Go with a classic Oxford, or a button-down in a chambray, denim, or patterned fabric.

Mind the collar. The collar of your dress shirt acts as an important and flattering frame to your face. But without a tie to hold it together, the collar of your dress shirt can flatten and flop around underneath the structure of your jacket and look incongruous and sloppy. So don’t wear a shirt where the collar is going to spread out excessively and lie horizontally. Rather, you want the collar to stand up fairly straight and keep a nice vertical orientation. To accomplish this, make sure your shirt is well-ironed (add starch as needed), and use collar stays. A button-down is a good choice as its collar will better maintain its shape.

Undo two buttons. The tieless suit is not a buttoned-up look, so neither should your shirt be. You’ll definitely want to unbutton at least one, and typically two of your shirt buttons to evince the right level of casual nonchalance. Make sure your undershirt isn’t showing; if you wear one, you’ll want to opt for the v-neck style, rather than a crewneck. Undo any more than two buttons, and you’re entering gigolo territory.

Add visual interest with other accessories. A tie contributes a good deal of color and visual interest to a suit. In its absence, add some other accessories that will snazz things up and attract people’s eyes. A nice watch, lapel pin (you can get an AoM one here), and/or a pocket square will do the trick. A white, square-folded pocket square may be a bit too formal for wearing with a tieless get-up; consider a colored or patterned pocket square, tucked in with the puff fold (click here to learn the different pocket square folds).

Shine your shoes. Without a tie serving as a suit’s focal point, more attention will be paid to other details of your outfit, so make sure you’ve got them all right. That includes making sure your shoes are looking spiffy; you can find a complete guide to shining them here.

Generally speaking, wearing a suit with a tie simply looks better. So when you’re in doubt, put on a tie; if the occasion doesn’t turn out to call for one, you can always take it off. Nonetheless, in the right environment, worn in the right way — that is, with confidence and stylish intention — wearing a suit without a tie can certainly work.

Brett & Kate McKay | December 1, 2017

StyleStyle & Grooming

You Will Soon Be Able To Smell Like IKEA

In case you thought the IKEA craze was dwindling — it isn’t. Thanks to Swedish indie fragrance creator Byredo, you’ll soon be able to pair your Off-White™ FRAKTA Bag with the Scandinavian furniture store’s scent. Byredo founder Ben Gorham took to his Instagram account to announce the collaboration, posting an image captioned “SCALE.” The meaning of the caption, as well as what exactly the scent will be, has yet to be revealed.

IKEA’s press release hints cinnamon buns may play a role in inspiring the scent, calling upon a democratic approach to smell. “We’re trying to develop a ton of smells enforcing the idea that everyone has a different relationship to it, and nothing is right or wrong,” explains Gorham in the release.

With Byredo’s fragrances marking in at $150 USD for perfume and $80 USD for a candle, chances are when the fragrance drops, smelling like IKEA will be more expensive than shopping ther

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Power-Generating Clothes Are In Our Future

Materials scientists are bringing about the latest and greatest in power generating technology, by creating clothes that have the potential to transport electricity and power small electronics.

No longer a futuristic fantasy, power-generating clothes have become a present reality thanks to materials scientist Trisha Andrew at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. By applying PEDOT-coated yarn to any type of clothing material, your favorite clothes could become conductors.

Working under the umbrella of textile electronics, materials scientists and electrical engineers hope to turn conducting textiles into advanced electronics that can convert simple body motion into electricity fit for generating power. Andrew claims that utilizing fabric to power electronics and monitor health data are gaining relevance in the health care industry as well as in the military.

The science behind the fabric is equally as fascinating as it’s purpose. As a person moves about in clothes outfitted with the power conducting electrodes, friction from any particular piece of clothing against the electrodes electrically charges the materials, and a few microwatts of power are generated.

After testing conductivity and stability of the PEDOT yarn on 14 fabrics, Andrew says, “We show them to be stable to washing, rubbing, human sweat and a lot of wear and tear.” In addition, the PEDOT layer did not affect the feel of fabric on any of the materials. Perhaps this is because the layer increased total fabric weight by less than 2%, making this technology light and powerful.

On the horizon for textile electronics are plans to use already-made garments as solar cells, meaning a casual morning run could store enough energy to power your phone for the day.

But, until these pliable, breathable electrodes make their way onto our favorite sweaters and running shirts, we will have to settle for plugging our iPhones up to the charger before we fall asleep each night.

Skinny Jeans Are Not Only Bad To Look At, Turns Out They’re Bad For Your Health

Bad news for skaters, hipsters, and emo teens: New data shows that wearing skinny jeans is linked to back pain. But the good news is that you’ve now got a legitimate excuse to break out the sweats.

According to consumer research collected by the British Chiropractic Association, 73 percent of women have suffered from back pain because of wearing certain items of clothing, and the number one culprit is skinny jeans. That’s because outfits that are too tight or stiff limit a person’s range of motion. Not being able to move freely adds more pressure and strain to the back, neck, and shoulder, potentially increasing the risk of pain and injury.

“Whilst we are certainly not saying stop wearing your favorite clothes altogether like most things in life, moderation is best and there are easy ways you can reduce the impact on your posture and overall health,” BCA chiropractor Tim Hutchful said in a statement.

According to the study, other clothing items that affect back pain include oversized bags and those worn on one side of the body, coats with large hoods, high heels, and backless shoes.

While the conclusions from the BCA study may make intuitive sense, keep in mind that it isn’t clear how many people were surveyed. It bears reminding that chiropractic practice is a focus on holistic health, and the strongest evidence supporting it involves treating back pain. Some people have questioned the legitimacy of chiropractic medicine — it’s considered a form of “alternative” medicine — but there is some research supporting its usefulness in treating certain ailments.

Conclusive or not, the study is a good reminder that clothing choices can affect physical well-being. Fortunately, not all is lost if you want to keep wearing skinny jeans — there are other ways to improve your posture and reduce back pain. First, try limiting the number of times you wear tight pants per week to give your back a break. By changing up your style, it shifts the stress on your body (and boosts your fashion cred, to boot). Wearing loose clothes will also let your body move around more freely. And if you must carry around a heavy handbag, take unnecessary items out, alternate the shoulder you wear it on, or wear a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across both shoulders.

“While overloaded and heavy handbags are a common culprit, some more unexpected items like skinny jeans can also wreak havoc – they restrict free movement in areas such as the hips and knees, affecting the way we hold our bodies,” Hutchful said.

You know what doesn’t restrict free movement in your hips and knees? Sweats. So next time people try to sartorially shame you for wearing sweats in public, tell them it’s because of science.

Google & Levi’s Will Sell A $350 “Smart” Jean Jacket

There are devices you wear on your wrist or maybe strapped around your arm, but Levi’s and Google have gone a step further in the realm of so-called “wearables” with a jacket that wirelessly connects with the user’s smart phone.

The Levi Commuter Trucker Jacket is designed to let cyclists change the song or get directions with a swipe or a pat on the cuff, using special material developed by Google’s Project Jacquard division.

The jacket is made from conductive yarns that are woven into the clothing, and can register touch inputs like a screen. A tag clipped on the cuff wirelessly connects the yarns in the jacket to the user’s mobile device.

When it comes time to wash it, wearers remove the tag and throw the jacket in the laundry like other denim clothing (though there will inevitably be those folks who accidentally toss the tag in the wash as well).

Right now the jacket can only control music and give the wearer map updates, but the two companies hope to add more features eventually, reports The Verge from Austin, where the two companies showed off the jacket this week at SXSW.

It’s unclear when the garment will be available to the masses — though it was originally slated for spring — it will cost $350.

The delay is likely due to the fact that it seem there’s still some work to be completed on the app, The Verge reports.

“We’ve been going through continuous consumer wear testing to refine the jacket and its abilities,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge. “We want to be sure we take the time to get it right and provide a great experience for people.

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This Crazy Color-Changing Hair Dye Is Ready To Turn Heads

Back when we rounded up some ’90s fashion mistakes, one item markedly left off the list was Hypercolor, because fashion that changes color based on temperature is still cool. (Well, at least when it’s not near your crotch. Jennifer from seventh grade will never live that one down.)

Now the same principle of “reactive fashion” has been applied to hair dye with FIRE, a new chemical creation unveiled by The Unseen at London Fashion Week, which is currently under way. Inventor Lauren Bowker formulated the dye to be safe for the scalp, no worse for hair fibers than other dyes, and supposedly less toxic than conventional hair dye, although testing is still ongoing and the product isn’t available in stores yet.

The FIRE dye comes in at least two versions (bright red and light pastel), as seen in the video below.

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Ray-Ban Just Dropped Another Cop-Worthy Pair of Sunglasses

Ray-Ban has done it again. Just when you think the cool dad of the sunglasses world can’t possibly release something new and interesting that captures the attention of just about anybody who wishes to keep the sun out of their eyes, it nails it — for like the millionth time.

The new frame is called the Double Bridge, and it’s called that because, well, it has two bridges. There’s nothing loud or shouty about them. They’re classic yet contemporary — distinct yet modest. They come with intricate metal wire detailing and acetate inserts that add a nice bit of contrast against the metal frame, and that’s about it.

Expect these to stay in the Ray-Ban rotation for some time.

Gucci Debuts Neo-Vintage Luggage Collection

Gucci just dropped its latest range of luggages and oversized bags, the perfect carry-alls for travel. Accompanying its 2017 spring/summer menswear collection, the two bags include the GG Supreme Duffel and tote bag. Both are constructed in the signature GG Supreme canvas, and feature a leather patch with gold-embossed logo and skill motif. The Neo-Vintage collection is available now online and in-stores.

Oakley’s Crossrange Covers All The Bases For Your Sunglass Needs

Oakley’s new Crossrange sunglasses were designed for those on the move. Whether it’s for active use or simply exploring the city, the sunglasses were designed from the ground up to transform into a frame that is perfect for things like running or cycling and then can be changed up for everything else. What they’ve done is created a modular design that has easy to swap grippy earstems and nose pieces for sport and and an opposite of lower profile pieces for everyday use.

Style Girlfriend Sends Style Advice to Your Phone

For the last four years, Style Girlfriend has been a destination for guys looking for style advice from a woman’s POV. Hell, we’ve turned to them numerous times. Now, with the launch of their on-demand messaging service, they’re delivering personalized, real-time style advice right to your phone. Simply sign up here to receive a number you can text with your style-related queries. Need help finding quality jeans that won’t break the bank? Want some assistance pairing pieces? Want the thumbs up on the outfit you’re wearing? All of the help you need will be a text message away.