Fashion

Don't freak out, but ties are getting wider again

The era of skinny neckwear is on its way out.
IMAGE Getty
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Cary Grant once described his style as "the middle of fashion." He never veered too far into the latest trends, but he wasn't overly conservative, either. And it helped make him one of the true great style icons.

If you're the sort who isn't exactly adventurous with your clothes, you should consider following that philosophy, especially when it comes to the width of your ties. As you may have noticed, ties have gotten skinnier over the last few years. Some to the point that they almost look like shoe laces. But for a lot of guys, 2.5 inches has become common.

This month, J. Crew released a catalogue with a simple phrase that has apparently freaked a lot of people out. On page 86 of the catalogue it reads, "We widened our ties by ¼" to keep up with today's changing proportions." It was such a loaded phrase that Bloomberg posted a story called, "Sorry Hipsters, the Skinny Tie is Over."

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Unless you're very thin and wearing a skinny suit, a skinny tie (2.5 inches or less) has never been a great idea.

And to some degree, they're right. But only for people on the trendier end of the menswear spectrum. For everyone else, 2.75 to 3.15 inches is pretty standard, and has been for most of the history of the tie. That J. Crew is bumping their ties from 2.5 inches to 2.75 inches only shows that it's aiming closer to the middle of fashion. And rightly so, since that's the meaty part of its wheelhouse.

Unless you're very thin and wearing a skinny suit, a skinny tie (2.5 inches or less) has never been a great idea. If you are a skinny guy, however (especially of the Hedi Slimane variety), then a skinny tie is a perfectly acceptable move. Just as skinny jeans will always have a place in the world of those skinny rocker types.

The point here is that you don't need to freak about what the current trend is. Just do like Cary Grant did and aim for the middle of fashion.

The point here is that you don't need to freak about what the current trend is. Just do like Cary Grant did and aim for the middle of fashion. That way you'll never be out of style. Seriously, if you'd worn a 3-inch tie every day since 1945, there's no era in which you would have looked woefully out of place. Even during that lobster-bib era we call the 1970s.

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Unless you're trendy, stop freaking out about the trends. Compared to womenswear we have it easy. No need to make things overly complicated. And if you're still worried, gaze upon this photo of Chris Pine looking great in a slightly wider tie and realize that everything is going to be just fine.


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This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Scott Christian
Scott Christian is a style writer for Esquire.com
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