David Lynch is much more than an esoteric film director and an amateur meteorologist. He’s also arguably the most famous champion of the air tie. First, some clarification. “Air tie” does not simply mean the lack of a tie on a button-front shirt; said shirt must be buttoned all the way up to the top neck button. It’s a technique that’s been embraced by musicians like David Bowie, artists like Francesco Clemente, and a younger generation looking to subtly subvert the classic constructs of the suit.
A few guidelines: Don’t employ the air tie with spread or cutaway collars, ever. It leaves too much open space around the top button, overemphasizing the absence of a tie knot. Same with rigid, high-standing and button-down collars. Club collars and unstructured point collars are ideal. These more diminutive collars are often too small to fold over a tie without losing their crease, anyway. Patrik Ervell has made the air tie a staple of his runway show styling. And for good reason: He consistently offers beautiful oxford cotton club-collar shirts, season after season. Polo Ralph Lauren has featured that prep-classic breed of shirt for years, while Engineered Garments and Margaret Howell turn out an abundance of soft point collars pining to be worn tie-less.