Most of the conversation around ties and shirts centers around marching color and tone, and rightfully so. Color is, and always will be, key. But just as important is matching the right kind of tie with the right kind of collar. Let’s start with that most American of collars, the button-down. There’s debate as to whether one should wear button-down collars with suits, and thus ties, but we’ll avoid that for now by stating that a button-down collar and tie can be paired with cardigans, sport coats, and blazers. That said, it is a more casual look, not sweatpants casual, but dinner party chinos and blazer casual. Thus, avoid bow ties, overly iridescent silk ties, and most importantly, ties coming in widths 2.25” or less. The button-down is great because of its rigid collar, leaving ample room for a solid, four-in-hand knot with girth. Go with a tie of a wool knit variety that’s three inches wide; it splits a great line between Congressional power tie and mod rock skinny and makes for a full, simple knot, without having to master the intricacies of the Windsor. Pierrepont Hicks, pictured to the right, makes nearly the perfect 3″ knit, here paired with a classic button-down collar oxford shirt from Fred Perry.