While cleaning out my dad’s closet months ago, I uncovered his long-forgotten tie collection. During his twenties, my dad was a furniture buyer for Dillard’s. While employed by the company, he dressed up in a suit and tie everyday to comply with the dress code. Later on, my dad became an independent tool salesman, selling various equipment to mechanics and auto dealerships.
As you can imagine, when my dad entered the tool and equipment business, he no longer needed to wear a suit and tie to work everyday. The hard truth is, many of my dad’s customers are covered in car grease and sweat when he delivers their orders to them in-person. They live paycheck to paycheck trying to support their families. Clothing and appearances are the least of their worries.
One of the most important customer service lessons my dad ever taught me revolves around this wardrobe transition. One day, I teased him about the dust collecting on his dress shirts. My dad replied simply, “Well Ashley… I dress for the customer.” For the past 20 years, my dad has worn a dark colored polo, jeans, a cap, and cowboy boots to work. By forgoing a dress shirt and tie, my dad better relates to the customers he serves. They identify with him, trust him, and are very loyal his business. His customers even nicknamed him “Cowboy,” because of his boots.
When I found my dad’s ties in his closet, I thought, these ties should see the light of day again. Suddenly, I started looking at them as more than just men’s ties, but as women’s accessories.
Since ties are fairly easy to come by (i.e. your dad, boyfriend, or a thrift store!) I decided I’d feature my dad’s ties, and share my tie-styling ideas with you. Ready to give them a try?
Keep scrolling for 5 unconventional ways to accessorize with a men’s tie:
1. The Tie Belt
To give shape to a long blazer vest, use a men’s tie to cinch the waist like a belt would. Tie the ends into a bow for a dash of femininity. Don’t worry about the ends of the tie being different widths. They make it more interesting!
You can also rotate the ends of the tie to the back. Knot them behind your back to create a simple, band-like belt in front.
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2. The Tie Choker
The easiest way to accessorize with a men’s tie is by creating a choker. With all the fun colors and patterns on ties, this is a fun way to mix up the choker trend. Try looping a tie twice around the neck, knotting it in back, and letting the ends hang loose. They’ll flutter behind you as you walk and add eye-catching movement to your look! This tie choker is especially chic worn with one-shouldered, or off-the-shoulder tops!
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3. The Tie Scarf
If you ask me, men’s ties should take the place of the ‘skinny scarf’ trend! I absolutely love how a men’s tie looks as a scarf! They’re the perfect length to loop once, and then let the ends hang in front of your top or dress. To try this look, make sure you pick a men’s tie color that will contrast against your shirt. For example, a navy tie against orange, or a brown tie against cream.
Also, to prevent the loop from rotating throughout the day, you’ll want to pin the tie behind your neck! Otherwise, you’ll be fussing with one end being way longer than the other, especially if the tie is silky!
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4. The Tie Bracelet
Ditch your go-to watch or bracelet stack in favor of a bracelet made out of a men’s tie. Simply wrap the ends around your arm, then knot them over the top of your wrist! Making a tie bracelet is similar to creating a bracelet out of a bandana, but is so much more surprising and elevated!
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5. The Tie Statement Necklace
If you have a collared button-down shirt, use a men’s tie to create an asymmetrical statement necklace! This has to be my favorite way to accessorize with a men’s tie! You may wonder exactly how I tied it, but I don’t even remember. And that’s okay! Experiment with different tying methods until you settle on something you like. It doesn’t have to look balanced or be a certain size! The goal is to create a statement necklace that’s one-of-a-kind.
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Which tie accessory if your favorite of the five? Comment below and let me know!
Photography: Steve Ellinger