Suspenders 101: A Complete Guide to Men’s Suspenders

Just like bow ties, suspenders have seen quite the comeback in mens fashion. What was once a necessary clothing item one-hundred years ago, a time when pants had no belt loops, is nowadays a fashion accessory that blends both function with style.

Suspender Materials, Colors, & Patterns:
Just like there are different tie fabrics, suspenders are commonly made from leather silk, synthetics, linen, cotton, and elastics. In addition, they come in any pattern and color. Just like when picking out a tie, you need to keep your outfit and the occasion in mind when choosing a pair of suspenders. Solid and darker colors are most formal, while wild patterns and out-of-the-ordinary materials (leather, linen, and cotton) are better suited for casual wear.

Tips for Buying Suspenders:
Suspenders can range from as little as $10 to several hundreds. While it may not be necessary to spend $200, it does make sense to invest in some higher quality items that will last the test of time. For first time buyers, look for the following 5 criteria:

  1. Connectors: Look for the button attachment style.
  2. Style: For dress, choose Y or X but never H
  3. Material: Choose Jacquard silk, cotton, or elastic fabric. If you opt for silk or cotton, make sure that a section of elastic is added on the back for more comfort.
  4. Color: Choose darker colors that are more versatile such as gray, charcoal, or navy.
  5. Pattern: Keep patterns minimal. Besides solids, monochromatic ribbed texture, tiny pin dots, or monochromatic micro checks are good options.
  6. Size: Make sure you pick your right size (see chart above)

General Dress Rules for Suspenders:
For the most part, suspenders are either attached using metal clips or buttons (see graphic above). Just like a bow tie aficionado will insist that the “self tie bow tie” is the only sartorial acceptable choice, suspender proponents will argue that buttoned suspenders vs clip-ons will differentiate the man from the boy.

If you are unsure that you will like the “suspender look”, I would suggest you try a pair of less expensive suspenders, that are attached using clips first, before investing in a high end piece that requires that not only costs more, but also will require a trip to a tailor to get suspender buttons added to your trousers.

Got any tips, thoughts, and/or suggestions regarding suspenders? Then leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!


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Bow Tie 101 – All You Need to Know about Wearing Bow Ties


Tying a Bow Tie

If you are one of my regular readers, then chances are you already know how to tie a bow tie. If you don’t, then stop procrastinating, and learn to master this gentlemanly skill. If you prefer classic illustrations then check out my bow tie tying guide. For those of you who don’t like to read, HERE are some awesome GIFs on tying different types of ties – including a bow tie.

Some Notes on Proper Bow Tie Fit

Dressing well is all about mastering proportions correctly. Just like your tie width and collar depth should be in proportion to your lapel size, the width of the bow tie should be in proportion to the width of your face. Ideally the end of the bow tie is in line with the width of your face. It should not extend past your ears, and should not be narrower than the outer point of your eyes.

Finding a Pattern that Suits the Occasion

Bow ties are no longer solely worn at formal, aka “Black Tie“, functions. In fact, bow ties have become hugely popular in the past few year. Bow tie sales in the US have grown 4x faster than the sale of neckties – making up 7% of the total neckwear sales in the US in 2013 (source: Bloomberg)

Because bow ties are now common for everyday wear, they are easy to find in any pattern, shape, fabric, and color combination. When it comes to finding the right pattern, use the general rule that “less is more” as a guidance. The less embellished the pattern, the more formal it will look. For example: If you want a casual bow tie to wear with your seersucker suit and boat shoes, then by all means have fun and sport a bold madras plaid. For more information on neckwear formality, check out this visual guide here>

What Days are the Most Bow Ties Worn?

It always surprises me what type of date is available when looking at keyword search traffic on major search engines. When looking at the popular keyword “how to tie a bow tie” it is instantly clear that there are some days that have huge search traffic spikes. The #1 day that has most men dressed in bow ties is New Years Eve, followed by Christmas and Halloween (apparently Pee Wee Herman remains a popular Halloween Costume). National Bow Tie Day, which falls on August 28th, comes in at #5 on the list.

I hope you enjoyed this “bow tie 101″ post. As always, your input, comments, and feedback is appreciated. Simply write a comment below and I will do my best to respond within a day or two.

Thanks for reading!


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Guide to Striped Neckties


In all seriousness, who really cares about the name of the stripe on your tie? It is true, while the name may not matter a whole lot, and knowing such probably won’t make for a good pick up line either, knowing how to wear a particular stripe does indeed matter. It matters a whole lot in fact simply because certain stripes are better suited for certain occasions and look better with a certain type of dress shirt. To understand when and when not to wear a certain striped tie, here is all you need to know:

Regimental Striped Ties

Key: Ribbed Texture, “Regimental” Colors, Stripe runs bottom left to top right
Best for: Navy Blazers, Tweed Sport Coats, Button Down Collar Shirts
Avoid: When too skinny (under 2.5″), avoid non traditional colors

Repp Striped Ties

Key: Ribbed Texture, Matte Sheen, Stripe runs top left to bottom right
Best for: narrow ties (2.5″ – 3.1″ in width), worn with a tie bar/clip
Avoid: More than 3 colors are present in design

Horizontal Stripes

Key: Stripe runs vertically
Best for: Knitted Ties, Ties with Square Tip
Avoid: Ties wider than 3″

Pencil Stripes

Key: Narrow diagonal stripes, stripes narrower than 1/8″
Best for: Always a great pick
Avoid: When worn with pin striped shirt, more than 2 colors present on the tie

Bar Code Stripe

Key: Lots of narrow stripes in various sizes and colors
Best for: Colorful combinations in Summer and Spring
Avoid: When wearing a striped shirt

Awning Stripes

Key: Stripes spaced evenly apart 1/2 – 1 inch wide
Best for: Summer colors, Pair with narrow striped or tattersall check shirts
Avoid: For formal evening dress

Candy Cane Stripes

Key: 2 colors, stripes 1/8″ – 1/4″ wide and spaced evenly apart
Best for: Strong contrasting color combination on the tie (light and dark)
Avoid: When wearing a striped shirt

Club Striped Ties

Key: Repp stripes with woven crests in between
Best for: Skinny ties and preppy outfits
Avoid: When too bright in color

Monochromatic Striped Ties

Key: Stripe design all in one single color
Best for: Formal events, easy to match to any shirt pattern
Avoid: When not wearing a suit

Other Suggested Articles:
Guide to Check Patterns
Learn the History of the Necktie

Thanks for reading!

Tie Aficionado
Owner of

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TOP 10 Tips for a Successful Job Interview

  • Top 10 Interview Dos and Donts
    #1 Make Eye Contact
    Making eye contact during a job interview shows not only that you are confident, but also interested in what the interviewer has to say. But keep things normal and don't be creepy. Have a friendly demeanor and smile occasionally. People like to be around happy people.
  • Good impression job interview
    #2 - A Good Handshake
    Wait for the interviewer to offer up the hand shake. If s/he does, then reach out and shake hands. Again be normal. Unless you are applying for a position as a blacksmith, don't try to crush someone's hand. Apply the same amount of pressure as you would when holding a beer.
  • Dress for Success Job Interview
    #3 Dress to Impress
    Even if the job does not require you to dress in suit and tie, it is better to overdress in for a job interview than showing up too casual. A dark suit, white shirt, and classic tie will always be a good bet. For more tips check out my job interview dress guide
  • How to Dress for a Job Interview
    #4 - Polish Your Shoes
    Give your black dress shoes some shine before heading to your job interview. Clean and polished shoes gives the impression that you got your life in order! Even if someone may not notice it right away, what they would certainly notice are dirty shoes. Don't take that risk. Polish your shoes!
  • Job Interview Attire Tips
    #5 - Iron Your Shirt
    Just like dirty dress shoes will make a bad impression, so will a wrinkled shirt. If you don't have much time then just iron the collar and the front of the shirt. The rest will be hidden underneath your jacket anyways.
  • Job Interview Tips
    #6 Read up on the Company
    If you have followed my first 5 tips then you already made a great first impression which will set a positive tone for the rest of the interview. Now follow things up by showing that you have done your research when answering questions that the interviewer may throw at you.
  • What not to do in a job interview
    #7 - Bring an Extra Resume
    Don't expect that the interviewer has one printed out. Instead pull out two resumes: one for yourself and one for the interviewer.
  • Job Interview Tips
    #8 - Take Notes
    Take some notes if there are things that you may have questions about or may want to look into further after the interview. Taking notes shows that you are interested. But again, don't overdo it. After all, you are the one being interviewed.
  • Successful Job Interview Cheat Sheet
    #9 - Have Questions Prepared
    Asking questions about the job and the company is a great way to show that you have done your research, and are interested in the position. Personally, it is one of the things I value most when interviewing a new candidate.
  • #10 - Write a Thank You E-mail
    This should go without saying, but surprisingly only 10% of the people I interview take a few minutes to follow up with a thank you note. Something as simply as: "Thank you again for taking the time to with me. I really appreciate the opportunity. After learning more about the position and the your company's culture, I feel confident that my skills and personality are a good fit. Thank you again for the opportunity and I look forward hearing from you."
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