Nov 08

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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Sandy Dumont, your image consultant about men's ties and belts.

This man has a lot going for him. He is handsome as well as slim and toned, so he looks great in his dark navy blue suit and slim-fit shirt in French Blue. However, there are a few things that need tweaking.

First of all, the belt buckle is too large and sporty looking. A classic belt that is worn with a business suit (see photo above) should be more discrete than the one our executive wears, and it catches the eye because it’s so shiny and large. On the positive side, his tie falls at just the right distance. However, he’s committed a classic faux pas with his tie.

Our executive’s tie would be more effective if it had a pattern, because a gentleman never wears a solid color tie when his suit and shirt are also in solids. It comes across as unimaginative and smacks of a uniform of some kind rather than the look of an executive. Of course, he could wear a blue and white striped shirt and solve the “blandness” problem.

The best solution, however, is a tie in a contrasting color; yellow with blue stripes or small repeating patterns. Another good choice would be a tie in the red family, including, magenta, burgundy, plum or raspberry (see raspberry tie in photo above).

Lastly, in terms of body language, this “gunslinger” pose can be construed as confrontational; but it can also have an element of suggestiveness. It depends upon whether you are a man or a woman who is encountering this man.

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  1. Jacques

    Sandy, your color suggestions for the best tie for this man is wrong. The tie color must (I said MUST) blend the color of the suit with the color of the shirt. A 3rd color is acceptable as long as we can still see the blending effect between the blue shirt and the blaack suit or the navy blue suit.

    Too strong contrasting colors, like your suggested magenta, burgundy, plum, or yellow would just make this man look like a broken color TV set. Unless the guy is advertising for a barber shop, he must stay away from highly, no taste, contrasting colors.

    Today, we see a lot of men on TV with a totally lack of taste on color matching ties. It is awfull and only propagating lack of taste.

    I agree with you that the belt buckle is too flashy. So why do you want his tie to be flashy? It does not make sense. And the pose is kind of a bullet proof vest againt your arguments, Mister!

    There is a big job to do in teaching those TV guys on how to dress properly, and you, Sandy, are pushing in the wrong direction with your color mistmatches.

  2. Sandy Dumont

    Jacques, I’m afraid we will have to agree to disagree, and President Clinton and Prince Harry along with me. Both have ties in that classy Magenta/Raspberry color. In the business of image, results rule, and the clients who have bought that magenta/raspberry tie from me report that they get more compliments from fellow businessmen than from any tie they’ve ever owned. Incidentally, it took me three years to get that tie made, because it was difficult to get the precise color I wanted. And now, Brooks Brothers has a tie that is almost identical in their new Autumn/Winter collection.

    I mastered the gentleman’s apparel market when I lived in London and scoured the streets of Savile Row, where royalty, heads of state and titans of industry shop. There, red ties, yellow ties and magenta ties are de rigeur. Here are the actual rules: the primary color of a gentleman’s tie must be in a contrasting color so it stands out and makes a statement about its wearer. The secondary color is the one that picks up the color of the shirt or suit, and this color is the small repeating pattern or the thin stripe on the tie (not the broad stripe).

    Blending the color of the shirt and tie or the suit and tie is common, but not wise. It will cause everything to blend and look bland. Even though most men think it is great to have a blue suit with a matching blue tie, it is actually a very bland and boring look.

  3. Francine

    Have to disagree with you Jacques. It can’t only be here in Europe that Sandy’s opinion about red ties, yellow ties and magenta ties are, as she says, ‘de rigueur’ for anyone wanting to make a positive impression.

    In countries as diverse in temperament and personality as for example Germany, France and the UK successful men, on TV or otherwise, will not be seen wearing a nondescript tie. It is almost a uniform and an attractive and effective one.

    Apart from in France it is more women in the public eye here, from politicians to those in business, who seem unsure of what to wear and when, but then their choices in making a successful statement are not as simple as a change of necktie.

  4. Sandy Dumont

    I’ve been in Europe three times in the past 18 months, and in the UK, the most popular color for a tie is fuchsia or magenta. I was also in Belgium, Holland and France, and what I’ve seen is that well-dressed men the world over all have similarities. The ones that look high status, powerful and successful have ties that make a statement.

  5. Anthony

    Thank you Sandy, for your and advice on Ties and suit colors. I have purchased various ties from you and I feel I am well dressed for the board room and meetings I attend. Women take notice of my attire, I feel very confident. And Yes I agree the contrast of the tie should make a statement. All my country club ties have been donated. Cheers! Anthony

  6. Sandy Dumont

    Anthony, chapeau to you! And thank you for your feedback. As you’ve discovered, ties talk!

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