March 2, 2011

Solid to Subliminal: Julie Rath's Word on Neckwear

Julie Rath is what one might call a groom ambassador: a diplomatic agent, offering the opposite sex a chance at fashion redemption. As a men's stylist, personal shopper, image consultant and founder of Rath & Co., Julie is no doubt the authority on what makes grooms look good. She joins us on The Groom Says today to give us some expert advice on ties that fit the occasion. Tying them properly is another post altogether.

We're all ears, Julie.

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I always say a groom should look dashing at his wedding, and choosing the right accessories is key to the result. In selecting neckwear for your nuptials, remember that you're not choosing a power tie or work tie -- you're choosing a wedding tie, and it should be celebratory. After all, that's what the whole day is about.

You should've seen his outfit when they walked in

So give yourself permission to think outside the box and go with something you might not normally wear. You'll still look like you -- only a "cool and sharp groom" version of you. Below are several different categories of ties that are just right for those that are altar-bound.

Wearing a solid tie is a nice way to let your bride (no doubt gorgeous in her wedding dress) take center stage. I recommend using a shade from the wedding color scheme and/or the bridesmaid dresses. I like the three below (left to right): from Drake's London (£95), Turnbull & Asser ($175) and, to go with a more casual look -- perhaps a khaki suit -- this linen tie from Faconnable ($115). All three are available in a range of colors for easy coordination. 

If a solid doesn't have enough flavor, but you still want to keep it simple, try one that's tone-on-tone like those below from Jil Sander ($165; also comes in tan) and Brioni ($195).

Another easy principle to follow is matching metals to metals. So if your bride's jewelry and your belt buckle, watch, cuff links, etc., are silver-toned, you might incorporate a corresponding metallic shade into your tie. This rule works particularly well if your metals are silver and you happen to have a cool skin tone; or if your metals are gold and your skin tone is warm. For silvers, I like this diamond-patterned tie from Sam Hober ($80) and this silk stripe from Giorgio Armani ($145). Keep in mind that the Sam Hober is on the dressy side because the pattern is small.

For more on dressing for formal weddings, click here

For a daytime wedding -- particularly one that's outdoors -- you can brighten up the colors with something more upbeat while keeping with the wedding's color scheme. These pearlescent ties, like (clockwise from top left) the stripe & dash from Stephano Ricci ($200), the pencil stripe from A Suitable Wardrobe ($120), the jacquard from Paul Smith ($130) and the paisley from Fine & Dandy Shop ($45) just scream "I DO!"

Ties with light-hearted patterns, like this Macclesfield (a style of tie with a small scale repeating pattern, named for an early English tie-making center) from Drake's (£95) and this floral from Thomas Pink ($105) are particularly jubilant and therefore excellent picks. 

I'm also very into this dotted twill tie from Jil Sander ($135). The color scheme is conservative, but the polka dots keep it whimsical enough that you won't look stuffy on your big day.

This is a terrific way to send a message to your guests that you might not want to spell out in so many words. For instance, you might use this stork tie from Ben Silver ($120) to let your guests know it's a boy! and that perhaps they ought to consider getting you a second gift sooner than expected.

The stork: mascot of the shotgun wedding

Okay, maybe not so much with the storks ... but as you can see, there are loads of different ways you can go in selecting neckwear for your wedding. The key is to consider what your bride is wearing, the wedding colors and theme, the time and location of the event, your personal style and (of course) what looks good on you. Nail those elements, and you'll be the best-dressed groom to grace an altar. 

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As seen on CBS's "The Early Show," Julie Rath runs Rath & Co., an image consulting and personal styling service that provides men with an extra edge. A former casting director, Julie has a sharp eye for what makes people visually appealing, and she uses this insider's perspective to help her clients. She aligns their outer image with their personal and professional goals, enabling them to present their most confident and authentic selves. Julie has a certificate in Image Consulting from the Fashion Institute of Technology and is an active member of the Association of Image Consultants International. Julie is regarded as an expert in the field of men's image and style.

To inquire about Julie's services or how she can tune-up your groom attire,  email her at You should also follow her on Twitter. Just because. 

Find men's styling tips on the Rath & Co. Tastehunter blog.

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