As much as wearing a suit and tie together is considered the norm, sometimes wearing a tie can prove to be a bit of a pain for a lot of gentlemen which results in them asking themselves “do I really need to wear one?”
It is common knowledge that a suit and tie is a typical pairing and are most often worn together, with the tie acting as a nice finish to your look adding colour, a point of interest and authoritativeness to your outfit.
However, wearing a tie can also be a little annoying and can make a lot of gentlemen feel hot and uncomfortable and wondering whether it is just a pointless accessory for the event you’re wearing it to.
But the question is, can you really wear a suit without a tie? Is it acceptable? Can you still pull off the formal look and still look stylish and sophisticated without people thinking you’ve just forgotten to put one on?
Generally, the answer should be no as the suit itself is designed with the tie in mind as the lapels, along with the collars of the dress shirt, serve as frames to the neckwear which runs down the centre of your chest.
Despite the traditional way of thinking, wearing a suit without a tie can actually be done if it’s done in the right way.
To make sure you get it right, Hemingway have put together a few tips on how to nail the ‘suit without a tie’ look without people thinking you’ve lost it on the way there…
Tip 1 - Consider the occasion
It is vitally important to consider the occasion or event you are wearing your suit to and think about whether or not you can wear a tie. Certain occasions may specifically ask that you wear a tie or maybe it is mandatory in your workplace, in which case you must wear one, whereas other places may just state that the dress code is ‘formal’. Events such as outdoor weddings and garden parties etc in summer are a good opportunity to ditch the tie, so bear this in mind.
Do your research and find out as much information as you can about the event. It is important that you choose the right occasion to not wear a tie to, and attending an event where you’re the only person not wearing one will make you stick out and may not be viewed favourably by others.
Tip 2 - Get the fit right
This tip is key to getting your look without a tie spot on as there is the risk of your suit looking sloppy and unneat. Make sure that your suit is tailored to fit you so choosing a good tailor, like ourselves at Hemingway, is important.
To ensure your suit fits right, the jacket should be a proper fit in the side, sleeve length, width and shoulder placement, and the waistband should fit comfortably and be the correct size. The pant leg should also not have too much of a break and bunch up over the shoe excessively, but this can be corrected by a tailor. Getting your pant leg properly hemmed can also keep the legs looking long and sleek.
Tip 3 - Wear a less formal shirt and suit
Sticking with the same suit and shirt you would normally wear with a tie says to people that you made an effort but either couldn’t be bothered with a tie or you didn’t have one. Going for a less formal look should be reflected in everything else you wear if you’ve decided to go tieless. Choose a suit that has lighter colours and fabrics, and is less structured and has slimmer notch lapels.
The same goes for the shirt - a more casual shirt suggests that you’ve decided to go without a tie and less formal on purpose rather than it coming across as a mistake. A classic Oxford shirt is a good choice, or try mixing it up with different colours and fabrics such as a denim shirt or a patterned fabric.
Tip 4 - Choose a shirt with the right collar
The collar of your shirt has a big impact on framing your face. Without a tie holding it together, the collar of your shirt can flatten and flop underneath the structure of your jacket which isn’t a good look at all.
The collar should stand up fairly straight and have a good vertical orientation, so make sure that your shirt has been well ironed. A shirt that has buttons down the front is also a good choice as the shape of the collar will be better maintained. Also, try undoing either one or two buttons on your shirt as this also adds to the relaxed, less formal look. If you do this, make sure that your undershirt isn’t showing and if you do wear one, it is best to go for a v-neck style over a crewneck.
Tip 5 - Add other accessories for more interest
A tie can add real interest to your outfit so if you’ve opted to go without, go for some accessories that will take its place. A nice watch, a lapel pin or a pocket square will really mix up your look and add a nice visual that will complement the rest of your look nicely.
However, if you’re going for a pocket square as your chosen accessory, go for a coloured or patterned pocket square. If you’re feeling adventurous, try arranging your pocket square into a fold that’s eye catching and a bit different to what you’re used to.