Suit without a tie...

Discussion in 'Suits' started by avedwards, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. avedwards

    avedwards Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,425
    Location:
    London and Midlands, UK
    I'm interested in hearing people's views on wearing a suit without a tie, both the correctness and the aesthetics of it.

    At the risk of losing friends or standing on here, I will state that I consider it a perfectly acceptable look (when done right) for many situations where smart clothing is called for but a full suit and tie isn't required. I'll also admit that it's a look I'm very comfortable with and frequently go for, often for the simple reason that I find it uncomfortable wearing a tie for over ten hours.

    Of course it's important that it doesn't look like the tie was simply taken off. I find this works best with relatively plain or subtly patterned suits and shirts in muted colours like blue or grey (but not plain white).

    I'm aware that some people find a suit without a tie distasteful and I welcome them to join this discussion and voice their opinions.
     
  2. HanauMan

    HanauMan Practically Family

    Messages:
    809
    Location:
    Inverness, Scotland
    I only have one suit (blue, Italian linen) which I wear for all occasions. For really formal occasions, such as a wedding or funeral, I do wear a tie. When I wear a tie I tend to wear my shirts with cufflinks. I never wear a white shirt, so usually team up my tie with a pastel or cornflower colored shirt.

    However, the majority of times that I wear a suit I tend to go tie-less. For example, semi formal occasions such as going to a church event or the theater or some social event. Here I tend to wear shirts with a button down collar and no cufflinks. Usually the shirt I wear tie-less will have a slight pattern, and again, never white.

    Whether tie or tie-less, I always wear black shoes with black or navy socks.
     
  3. Hal

    Hal Practically Family

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    UK
    I am sorry, but I strongly dislike this look - there is a massive incongruity between the casualness of the open-necked shirt and the formality of the suit. Mixed modes, mixed messages. But I also dislike the open-necked shirt with sports jacket or blazer - the aesthetic effect of the combination is the same as that of suit without tie (I know that this goes against the opinion of many today). If I wear a jacket I wear a tie, the only exception being that I like a roll-necked pullover under a tweed jacket (or even with a tweed suit) in autumn and winter.
    I suspect that many will come down on me like a ton of bricks when I say that to me a tie without a jacket is perfectly fine. It's the tieless but jacketed look that I find distasteful.
     
    The Necktie Guy and MondoFW like this.
  4. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,807
    Location:
    Cobourg
    I agree with Hal. When I see someone in a suit or blazer with no tie I think he doesn't know how to dress himself or doesn't care. In any case gave up before he was finished dressing.

    To those who don't know what I am talking about do you wear sandals with a tuxedo?
     
    Hal likes this.
  5. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,098
    C55A99BA-E1ED-4C13-B6C2-4CA3511D69C6.jpeg Greetings avedwards et al:
    You tell me.
    Be well. Bowen
     
  6. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    852
    I've pretty much always been against this look, since the cravat does so much to the outfit. The suit without a tie look just ends up looking sloppy and very vanilla. It's not like a tie takes that much extra time to incorporate into the fit anyway, anyone could do the four-in-hand knot in their sleep (and this knot, in my opinion, looks the best). The only exception to where not wearing a tie may look cool is that look that was popular in the late 40's and early 50's that involved those Hollywood suits and the wide collar sports shirts. Something like this:[​IMG]
    This, on the other hand, is just kinda lame:
    [​IMG]
     
    The Necktie Guy, Edward and Hal like this.
  7. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

    Messages:
    541
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I think it can work, provided you use the right sort of suit, and the right sort of shirt. I'd avoid dark city suits in smooth worsteds. But I think it can be pulled off with more casual suits, with defined textures, bold checks, or lighter colors, with a softer more casual shoulder line, and patch pockets. Peak lapels and double breasted coats are out for something like this - just too dressy. I think the look works BEST with summer suiting, for obvious practical reasons - no tie with a patch pocketed seersucker/poplin/linen suit can look great. But even a chunky tweed suit could work during the fall/winter, where the shirt is a fuzzy flannel or something. If attempted during the winter, I might add an intermediate layer of knitwear to improve the look - a cardigan or a jumper.

    Attention would have to paid to the collar of the shirt - picking the right collar will be crucial to avoid the feeling that something is missing. I'd go with a soft, rolling button down, or a one piece camp collar like in the b&w photo above, and during the summer, you could use a long-sleeved polo shirt, if the collar were cut to stand properly under a coat.

    Finally, I think shoes are very important to getting this look right - I'd favor a pair of loafers. Certainly, I'd avoid oxfords, but maybe a chunky blucher/derby might work during the winter. During the summer a pair of bucks in tan or white would be perfect for a look like this. Generally, I'd opt for suede, cordovan, or pebble-grain rather than standard calf-skin, and I'd avoid black shoes for being too dressy.

    Basically, in order to do this well, every aspect of the kit has to be VERY casual to accommodate the lack of a tie. This isn't a look that works for a standard navy/gray business suit.
     
    Claudio likes this.
  8. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

    Messages:
    541
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I've found a photo of a sport coat/odd trouser combo, but I think it'd look just as good if the trousers matched the coat. The coat has all the right details to make a tie-less look work - a soft, sloped shoulder and patch pockets, a casual 3-2 button stance, and it is cut from a textured, rumply, fabric.

    The collar is a soft-rolled button down, and the chambray of the shirt is another nice, casual touch. This is NOT your standard dress shirt worn sans tie.

    18723399_1930606843889276_3551594266214006784_n.jpg
     
    Claudio likes this.
  9. Hal

    Hal Practically Family

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    UK
    I accept that an intermediate layer could improve the "look" to a certain extent.
    This is what the OP is asking, I think.

    The "over-the-collar" look shown by Mondo was, as he says, often seen at the time he quotes. In the UK the tieless-but-jacketed look fell out of favour in the mid-to-late 1950s; it briefly appeared in the early 1970s but only became frequent in the 1990s when incongruities of dress became more frequent. I wonder if this "look" is partly due to hotter summers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    Patrick Hall likes this.
  10. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,807
    Location:
    Cobourg
    Might be ok with bib overalls and a straw hat. We had a thread on that a while ago.
     
  11. avedwards

    avedwards Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,425
    Location:
    London and Midlands, UK
    Thank you for all the interesting comments. There is no right or wrong answer, as it's simply a matter of personal taste, which is why I find discussions like this so interesting.

    I personally wear dark grey and navy two piece suits without a tie, which I know falls into the category of suit that some of you feel shouldn't be worn without a tie. My view is that the absence of a tie does not automatically make the shirt so casual as to be inappropriate for a smart suit, providing that the whole thing looks coordinated. I do agree that suits or jackets in casual fabrics would be much easier to wear tieless.

    Things I avoid when going suited but tieless are DB suits, waistcoats, plain white and double cuffed shirts, as to me all of those require a tie.

    I wear black Chelsea boots most of the time, which I find strike the right balance between being smart enough to wear with a suit but not so formal that the absence of a tie feels wrong. Occasionally I also wear oxblood or brown suede brogues, which again I find smart enough but not too formal. Loafers would also work nicely but I haven't found any that I like with a rubber sole (I find leather soles impractical as they wear out too fast and aren't suited to rainy weather).

    I agree with you on this, with the caveat that the absence of a jacket means it is extra important that the shirt and trousers fit perfectly and are well ironed and the shoes well polished (unless they're suede). A plain tie is best avoided to avoid looking like a uniform.
     
  12. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

    Messages:
    377
    Location:
    Italian living in Spain
    What Patrick said. All depends on which styles you are dealing with (coat, shirt, collar, shoes, texture, colour etc etc). Can be easily done and easily ruined.

    I'd add that you can wear a cravat or a neckerchief instead of a tie and also if you are no wearing a tie you can/should be wearing a pocket square.

    Finally, terminology is so important (and important we use the right one). A suit is a matching jacket and trousers and thus this usually does call for some sort of neck wear; an odd jacket would be the jacket (or coat) part of the suit with different trousers (never do this for pin stripes), and finally sports jacket (or sports coat) are the more casual ones, in checks, flannels, tweets or even linen or cottons. These are thus not suits (as they do not have matching trousers) and thus much easier to go tie-less.
    Hope this helps
     
    scottyrocks likes this.
  13. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    21,196
    Location:
    London, UK
    This is pretty much where I'm at with it. I like that late 40s / early 50s casual look with either separates or a two-piece (let's not forget the idea of a lounge suit being "formal" is a very modern concept). It's put together, the collar of the shirt is cut and/or worn in a way that sits without a tie - as opposed to the latter, more modern look, where the outfit is simply one in which the tie has been removed. It looks messy and lazy to me.

    To my eye, it looks wrong with a DB jacket, and even moreso with a three-piece suit.

    I think what we're seeing is a mindset in fashion over the last twenty five years or so that dictates that the extraneous, the purely decorative, is to be shunned. Thus the disappearance of the pocket square from much of the mainstream, and the shunning of the tie. Maybe it's all part of the same fetishisation of uber-casual dressing which we see in the business environment - proper shoes and ties are "square" and to be avoided, it's a sign of success if you don't have to dress how "the man" dictates, and such..... even though the idea of the square suit is now so dated it's laughable....
     
    Patrick Hall likes this.
  14. Hal

    Hal Practically Family

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    UK
    While the rest of your posting makes excellent sense and truly helps, I disagree with what I have quoted from it. To me the pocket square belongs to a MORE formal "mode" than does a tie, and magnifies the incongruity of the tieless-but-jacketed look. I would only wear a pocket square (and then, probably, only a plain white one) at formal occasions such as weddings and funerals with the type of suit appopriate for those functions. Despite what Edward says, pocket squares have always been rather rare in the UK, and my views on their appropriateness could have come from that.
     
    Edward and Claudio like this.
  15. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

    Messages:
    377
    Location:
    Italian living in Spain
    I'd agree with you if we are speaking about a plain white one in a presidential fold (classic rectangular) ... however there are plenty of PS out there in all kinds of patterns and these are fine with a sports jacket without a tie. of course this is very informal
     
  16. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    852
    Any jacket with lapels can impress anyone these days. It isn't informal to them;)
     
  17. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,970
    Location:
    Isle of Langerhan, NY
    With a proper suit - never tieless. A matching two or three piece suit is never worn sans tie. But with, as stated above, the right combination of items, I do this often, and I think it looks good.

    First, everything has to be casual. I tend to stay in the earth-tones pallet, and hunt down sport jackets, waistcoats, and collared shirts that work in this category.

    I have often found that work-type shirts, such as carhartts, in solid colors, make these ensembles really gel, mainly because my sport jackets are not solid. Too many patterns can be dizzying, or just plain gross.

    So my pants and shirts are solid colors, while the jackets and waistcoats are patterned. The jackets are usually bolder patterns than the waistcoats. The pants are usually jeans or chinos. I don't wear dress slacks with this type of ensemble. I find that I get lots of compliments on the contrast of 'fancier' tops and more plain bottoms (jacket, vest, jeans), but the they are all on the casual end of the fanciness spread.

    As for shoes, anything in between sneakers and patent leather works well.

    Oh, and one more thing about the shirts - I always button it right up to the top. I do not wear a collared shirt unbuttoned if it is tucked into my pants. For me, this ties the whole look together.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  18. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,955
    Location:
    New Forest
    You are right, it's a topic that has provoked strong thoughts and opinions, it makes for a great debate and argument, well done for starting the thread.
    There are so many neck ties in my draw, along with bow ties and cravats, that I couldn't hazard a guess as to how many. What I most definitely do not have in that draw is an air tie. It's a take that I heard recently on the tie-less appearance, probably a take on the air guitar.

    Scotty comments about buttoning a shirt right up, I agree, but I don't like to see a buttoned shirt without a tie. The shirt is structured to be presentable when buttoned, when the top button(s) are left undone, the shirt looks limp and sad.
    Mondo comments about the wide collared sports shirts worn with the shirt collar over the jacket collar. That does look a lot better because the shirt has been made to be worn open neck, It has a strong structure making it much more presentable.
    Bowen said: "You tell me." That fabulous jacket and beautiful shirt are crying out for maroon neck tie, featuring a strong motif down the front, tied in a Windsor knot and supported by a gold tie clip. If I was clever enough to know how to photoshop, I would show you exactly what I mean.

    Edward said: "I think what we're seeing is a mindset in fashion over the last twenty five years or so that dictates that the extraneous, the purely decorative, is to be shunned. Thus the disappearance of the pocket square from much of the mainstream, and the shunning of the tie. Maybe it's all part of the same fetishisation of uber-casual dressing which we see in the business environment - proper shoes and ties are "square" and to be avoided, it's a sign of success if you don't have to dress how "the man" dictates, and such..... even though the idea of the square suit is now so dated it's laughable...."
    You are, as ever, right on the button. Think Richard Branson, he's the pack leader of the dressing down brigade, he makes rough and ready look like a badge of honour.
    These days politicians, journalists, TV presenters and many others in the public eye, have lost the gravitas that the suit and tie appearance once gave them.

    Having said all that, I am breaking the habit of a lifetime on March 24th. You will find me at The Hilton Hotel in the popular resort of Bournemouth, where I shall be attending a Peaky Blinders inspired event. Two of my golden rules will be broken on that night. I shall wear, for the first time ever, a newsboy cloth cap, the flatcap really isn't me, and I shall forgo the neck tie, but that's because I will wear the 1920's three button, collarless Granddad shirt, I shall probably do the neck up with a collar stud. (Oh the shame of it!)
     
    AbbaDatDeHat and Edward like this.
  19. redlinerobert

    redlinerobert One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    288
    Location:
    Central coast, CA
    Suit without a tie is hard to pull off. If you're not going to wear a tie then wear a blazer. I often wear cowboy boots/dark jeans/ fitted shirt/blazer.

    **And please, for the love of God, tuck in your shirt.
     
  20. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,634
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    I pretty much wear suits and ties Monday through Friday. It was once what everyone in my environment wore. Now a lot of younger managers are skipping the tie. Although I’m generally against it, I’m willing to admit that maybe it is me who is out of step. That said, a proper suit needs a tie. It looks incomplete otherwise. I’m willing to concede that more casual blazers and non-matching slacks and an open collar can be okay in the right social setting. But I am all about dressing appropriately for the setting.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.