Q: I'm 35 and have been wearing a tie to work since I started working over 10 years ago. So, as you can expect, most of my ties are not the slim narrow ones I often see in men's magazines nowadays. Should I stop wearing my wider ties and trade them all in for the slim narrow ones? I don't want to throw my existing ties away because, well, I have a lot of them and they're not cheap.
-- Lester, via e-mail
A: As long as your ties are no more than 3-3.5 inches wide on the widest portion just before the pointed tip, they're still okay. It's the ultra wide (> 3 inches wide) ties that should be laid to rest. Slim ties are actually not new. They've just made a comeback. Believe it or not, our Dads used to wear slim ties in the 70's, together with their body-hugging nylon shirts.
Since you use ties very often anyway, it'd be good to have maybe 3 or 4 slim ties (not narrower than 2 inches on it's widest part) just to keep up with the trend and maybe look a little younger. They may go out of style in a couple of years or so, but you can bet that, like a Patek (assuming you buy a good quality one), you can pass them down to the next generation.
Wear your wider ties when you're meeting with older, more conservative people and use slimmer ties for dressy events or when pairing with jeans or chinos.
Oh and as for the pattern on your tie, stay away from flowers, cartoon characters and (for now) paisley.