How To Buy Ties - A UK Tie Shop Guide

As with any fashion item, ties vary considerably in type and design, often changing with every season. The range of ties on offer at any one time can cover anything from plain polyester to elaborately woven silk and designer ties. With literally thousands of different designs available, there's a tie to suit anyone on any occasion! Below is a brief guide to the different types of ties available at the Swagger & Swoon online tie shop to help find the perfect tie for you.

Polyester and Polyester Satin Ties:

Polyester is a strong, easily washable, man-made fibre that is popular in ties due to its hardiness. Polyester ties can sometimes be machine-washed but generally it is better to dry-clean them. Polyester ties come in a variety of finishes, including; Polyester, Woven Polyester and Polyester Satin.

Standard Polyester ties can have a smooth finish, but are sometimes finished with a rough texture.

Polyester Satin ties have a silky or satin finish, creating a soft, smooth effect. They are often chosen as cheaper alternatives to pure silk ties. Satin ties are very popular for weddings. Woven polyester ties can either be smooth or have a visible weave throughout the tie.

Silk Ties:

Silk comes from the cocoons of silkworms, the larvae of the Chinese Domesticated Silkmoth. Silk is usually more expensive than its polyester equivalent and will almost always require dry-cleaning. Silk can be printed (commonly just referred to as "silk") or woven - woven silk tends to be thicker and you will often see a fabric weave running through it. Silk ties usually have a smooth finish, though some silk ties and cravats are made using rough silk which can be very textured.

Lightweight Ties:

Lightweight ties are popular in the USA and are made of thin silk or polyester. In the UK thicker ties are generally preferred.

Plain Ties:

Plain or solid colour ties are single colour silk or polyester ties. Plain ties come in polyester satin, textured polyester, smooth silk, and woven silk and in a wide range of colours. These ties can be worn for everyday use and are very popular for weddings. In addition to the standard smooth ties, horizontal or diagonal rib silk ties have a weave to them which adds a light design to an otherwise plain coloured tie. Popular colours vary between seasons.

Fashion Ties:

Fashion ties are printed or woven silk (and occasionally polyester) with a specific pattern or design, for example spots or stripes, and vary between seasons. Fashion ties often follow similar trends to designer ties, but at half the price! Like designer ties, fashion ties are available for a limited season. Towards the end of a season you will often find fashion ties on sale, but don't assume that your favourite tie will be half price as popular ties tend to sell out well before the sales start!

Cartoon Ties:

Cartoon ties are those ties which feature popular cartoon characters, such as Homer Simpson, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse or Kyle from Southpark. Cartoon ties make great gifts for fans and are especially popular for birthdays and Christmas. Most cartoon ties are polyester, however visitors to Swagger & Swoon generally choose a cartoon tie based on its design rather than its material.

Novelty Ties:

Novelty ties have long been the most popular gift for Fathers Day, birthdays and Christmas, as well as fun gifts for those occasions when you don't know what to get someone! Novelty ties (or themed ties, as they are also known) usually potray a specific theme, for example; science, computers or music. Within each theme are a number of different styles and designs to choose from. The beauty of these ties is that they appeal directly to the recipient's interests, so you can't go wrong!

Novelty ties come in silk or polyester, but as in the case of cartoon ties, most visitors to Swagger & Swoon choose a novelty tie based on its design rather than what it is made from.

Bow Ties:

Bow ties come in a range of styles and patterns, but in general follow the same principles as regular ties.

Most bow ties are pre-tied, which means all you have to do is adjust the neckstrap to fit your neck and hook the fastening clasp at the back. Pre-tied bow ties are available in both polyester and silk, though silk bow ties are more expensive.

If you prefer to tie the bow tie yourself, then opt for a self-tie bow tie. These are not as difficult to tie as it may seem, and most self-tie bow ties come with instructions. It's always a great achievement when you manage to tie one yourself! Unfortunately the range of self-tie bow ties these days is limited compared to pre-tied bow ties.

Clip-On Ties:

Clip-on ties are pre-tied ties that occasionally come with a neckstrap but usually have a clip at the back of the knot which clips onto the top of your shirt, once the top button has been done up. Clip-on ties are mostly polyester, though many have a satin or smooth finish.

Extra Long Ties:

Extra long ties are around 10" (25cm) longer than regular ties, and designed for tall and large men. These ties are usually only found in a smooth polyester however are also available in silk.

Boys Ties:

Boys ties vary from plain satin (suitable for weddings), through to polyester fashion and cartoon ties.

Many of the plain satin boys ties and bow ties have matching men's ties which makes them ideal for weddings.

With children's ties there are different lengths or sizes of ties, which are indicated in the tie's description. An ideal way to see if a tie will be suitable is to cut a length of string to the length indicated in the tie's description and tie a mock tie on the child to see if it is the right length.

There are very few ties or bow ties to fit children under 2 years old as most children's ties cover the ages 4 - 12, though of course this varies depending on the size of the child.

Wedding Cravats:

If you're getting married, chances are you're going to wear a cravat! As with bow ties, cravats come in pre-tied and self-tie forms, and again which you choose is simply down to personal preference. Pre-tied cravats are generally more popular (probably because they are less hassle) but in reality tying a self-tie cravat is no different to tying a regular tie, so don't be afraid to give it a go!

Pre-tied scrunchie cravats (or ruche ties) have a scrunched up knot at the top and a large diamond shaped tie underneath, with an adjustable neckstrap and fastening clip to tie it on with. Pre-tied wedding (or formal) cravats have two pieces of rectangular material, one of which folds over the other and is fastened with a cravat pin. Both of these usually come in polyester satin, though are sometimes available in silk (at a higher price).

Self-tie cravats can be tied as a scrunchie or formal cravat, and come in polyester and silk. Most cravats used for formal occasions such as weddings are worn with wing collar shirts, though normal shirts can also be used.

Casual Cravats:

Cravats are becoming increasingly popular as everyday or ‘casual’ items of clothing.

Casual cravats only come as self-tie however that is because, as with the wedding cravat, they are simple to tie. Wrap one end around the other and bring it through the loop and you have tied your cravat. For extra security you can fasten the ends down with a cravat pin.

Casual cravats come in plain colours however are most popular patterned. The patterns range from polka dot to paisley and are available in most colours. Unlike the wedding cravats, a casual cravat can be worn with any type of shirt and looks great when a few of the shirt buttons have been undone.

Casual cravats are made from both silk and polyester however, like with ties, the silk is a more expensive option.

So you now you know a bit more about the different types of ties available, why not browse through the huge range of ties at Swagger & Swoon and find the right tie for you!

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