What’s A Knit Tie, And Is There Such A Thing As A Casual Tie?

We’ve already established that there are ties for every level of formality. But are ties all there is to spicing up your attire? What about the times when you still want to look dressed up, yet remain comfortably casual? Is there even such a thing as a casual tie? Believe it or not, there really is. And this “casual” tie often comes in the form of a knit tie.

Close-up of a solid blue knitted tie around the button-down collar of a chambray shirt and light grey sport jacket.
Knit ties are inherently casual. The coarse texture is a dead giveaway of its casual nature. Match it with a chambray shirt and a light grey sport jacket, and you have the quintessential casual outfit.
Image by Trendhim

So What Exactly Is A Knit Tie?

Remember when we mentioned previously that solid colours are more formal than textures or patterns? Similarly, smooth woven fabric is more formal than knitted, or heavily textured fabric. The relationship between knit tie and a “regular” tie is essentially the same as between knitted cardigan and tailored jacket. Both function the same as their “regular” counterparts, but at the same time are characteristically more casual.

Point of view of the person hand-knitting with a pair of knitting needles.
Is this what comes to mind when we mention knit tie? Technically, it’s the same knitting process. Modern knit ties undergo machine knitting, not hand knitting. But the resulting garment/fabric shares the same characteristics.
Image by Foundry Co of Pixabay

A knitted fabric is inherently more stretchable and textured than a woven fabric. It’s the same comparison between a shirt and a t-shirt. Shirts are smooth and non-stretchable. A characteristically woven fabric composition. T-shirts are stretchable and generally textured. A characteristically knitted fabric composition. Hence, a smoothly woven shirt is always more formal than a stretchable knitted t-shirt. Likewise, a stretchable and heavily textured tie is always more casual than the regular woven ties.

How Do Knit Ties Fit In The Formality Spectrum?

The same rules apply as with the regular woven ties. The only difference is that now we’re dealing with all highly textured examples :-

(1) Solid Coloured Knit Tie

Similar to the woven ties, darker, neutral colour, and higher contrast with the shirt are always the dressiest. Thereafter, loud solid colours and low tie-shirt contrast are more casual.

Close-up of the chest, showing a solid navy knit tie on a charcoal suit jacket and solid white shirt.
A navy knit tie brings a hint of colour to an otherwise monotone greyscale outfit. This outfit is suitable for formality level #2 in a pinch. However, we don’t recommend anything above formality level #3.
Image by Author
Close-up of the chest, showing a solid red knit tie on a charcoal suit jacket and solid white shirt.
You want to be bold and make a statement, but you don’t want to appear too stuffy? Then a bright red knit tie is for you. Definitely not suitable for formality level #2. Best to leave it for formality levels between #3 and #4.
Image by Author

(2) Small Geometric Or Repeating Pattern Knit Tie

This is essentially like the woven fabric tie counterpart. You want to break away from the monotony of the solid colour, and yet maintain an air of nonchalance. Whilst not as many variations as its woven counterpart, you still get some pretty interesting repeating patterns.

Close-up of the chest, showing an orange knit with blue polka dots on a charcoal suit jacket and solid white shirt.
Orange, a “loud” colour, is already casual in nature. Then throw in some blue polka dots, and you’ll drop another notch or two in formality. A solid formality level #4, for your not-so-serious days at work.
Image by Author
Close-up of the chest, showing a black and white houndstooth knit tie on a charcoal suit jacket and solid white shirt.
Houndstooth is already a characteristically casual pattern on its own. And having it on a knit tie further solidifies the place as a casual tie. It’s a great choice for formality level #4.
Image by Author

(3) Characteristic Knit Tie Segmental Stripes

Nothing screams knit tie like horizontal segments or “segmental stripe”. You want to show the world that you didn’t accidentally pick out a knit tie by mistake. You want to announce to the world that you’re nonchalantly casual, yet well put together. Then you’ll definitely want a characteristically knitted pattern, unique only to knit ties.

Close-up of the chest, showing a three-tone, blue-on-blue segmented tie on a charcoal suit jacket and solid white shirt.
This is as casual as you can go with a knit tie. Nothing screams “casual” louder than a tone-on-tone segmented knit tie. Only the “winter colours” gives it an ever slightest hint of formality. This is strictly for formality level #4 only.
Image by Author
Close-up of the chest, showing a three-tone, brown-red-beige segmented tie on a charcoal suit jacket and solid white shirt.
The exact same pattern as the segmented knit tie example above, only in an ever slightly more casual “autumn colours“. Similar to the example above, this is strictly for formality level #4 only. This tie is available for sale at Trendhim.
Image by Author

Unique Characteristics Of The Knit Tie

As mentioned above, knit ties are uniquely casual. Even when dark and neutral, the otherwise unassuming solid navy knit tie exudes an air of casual nonchalance. The heavily textured fabric somehow attracts others to want to touch and squeeze it. So when you want to court interaction with others, nothing beats the knit tie. Just take a look at the close-up image below.

Close-up of the knitted texture on a "autumn colours" segmental stripe tie.
Notice the large knobs and knurls on the surface of the fabric? It’s a more familiar texture in socks and t-shirts, but not ties. So you’ll definitely stand out when wearing that around your neck.
Image by Trendhim

And what if you want to project that friendly mood beyond just an arm’s length? Then wear one with the unique segmental stripe like the two examples above. When people see a tie in that pattern, everybody within eyeshot will know for sure that it’s a knit tie. Regular woven ties simply don’t come in that pattern.

“But Why Should I Bother With Knit Ties When I Already Have Regular Ties?”

Unless you wear a uniform, you’d want to have a range of outfits to express your stylish personal image. And I don’t mean wearing different colours or patterns of the same outfit. You’d want outfits to transcend the whole formality spectrum. You’d want outfits for each of the formality level. As such, wearing regular ties alone won’t give you enough variety of formality levels to project. It isn’t enough to brand you as a stylish gentleman who understands the formality spectrum.

Two types of ties in a side-by-side comparison. Both the woven and knitted ties are bright red in colour.
Comparison between two equally bright red ties, both calling for attention to itself. A “regular” woven tie on the left, and a knit tie on the right. Note that woven fabric also has more sheen than the characteristically textured and muted knit fabric. Now you see why knits are less formal?
Image by Author

You might want to consider assigning a formality level for each day of the weekday. This will definitely solidify your identity as a well-dressed gentleman. And you can reserve your sports wear or golfing attire for the weekends.

Day Of The WeekFormality Level
Monday#1
Tuesday#2
Wednesday#3
Thursday#4
Friday#5

“Knit Ties Aren’t Exactly Easily Obtainable”

This is unfortunately quite true. Knit ties just aren’t as popular as regular woven ties. Hence, you’re quite unlikely to find them in your neighbourhood menswear departmental stores. And even if you can find them there, the chances are that they don’t offer too many choices. That’s a very sad fact indeed. The best places to buy them are in specialty menswear retailers and haberdashers. But even specialty menswear retailers and haberdashers aren’t exactly abundant, even in urban commercial centres. The easiest place to find them is actually in cyberspace. And Trendhim is one such haberdasher with a complete suite of menswear accessories.

Half-body image showcasing a typical casual outfit. Solid blue knit tie, blue/white narrow stripe shirt and a light grey sport jacket.
Square-cut tip and equal width throughout the length of the tie is the calling card of a typical knit tie. Though uncommon, some knit ties do come with pointed tips too.
Image by Trendhim

Trendhim is a relatively young Danish company. Founded in 2007 as an online store to sell men’s accessories and jewellery. But soon thereafter, expanded into the exotic world of haberdasheries. Today, they represent many exclusive brands, and carry over 1,600 products in their portfolio. You can read more about them here.

But Wait… There’s More To Neckwear Than Just Ties

In the next episode, we shall broaden our horizon and explore other alternative types of neckwear. We shall take a look at the presently less popular, but equally elegant bow ties and cravats. Always remember that variety is the spice of life. And a variety of attire will truly solidify your image as a well-dressed gentleman. In the meantime, whet your appetite by exploring the vast inventory available on Trendhim. Imagine being a kid in a candy store. Yup, that’s exactly what it feels like in there.

Do you wear knit ties? If so, how many do you have?
11 votes

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About CHOW Wei Ming

Brand consultant, photographer, creative director, storyteller, and a true believer of the power of visual communications. Outwardly expresses a friendly disposition, but hides a perfectionist nature deep inside him.

4 Replies to “What’s A Knit Tie, And Is There Such A Thing As A Casual Tie?”

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