If your office is similar to mine, then most people dress casually. Working in San Francisco means that hoodies and jeans are the typical uniform. In contrast, a tie can be seen as stuffy and wearing one might make you the subject of some light teasing (don't be surprised if people ask you how the interview went).
But if you like ties and feel at ease with one on, don't let what people think dissuade you from wearing one. After all, if the person sitting across from you is perfectly comfortable wearing cargo shorts and flip flops, why should you feel any different? Plus, studies show that dressing up for work can even improve success.
It's time to march to the beat of your own drum, or in this case, tie. If you're ready to dress up for work but need some inspiration, here are five ways I wear a tie to the office.
The tech uniform
You've probably seen this look take over modern offices everywhere: a button-down layered under a sweater with jeans. While this outfit makes your look more professional than your hoodie-wearing peers, it still feels uninspired. Adding a casual tie, like this striped knit, can help bring some color and liveliness to an otherwise bland outfit. It's also the easiest way to introduce a tie to your outfit without worrying if you're going to stand out.
Bonus: if you suck at tying ties, wearing a sweater can also help conceal this.
The business Casual upgrade
The other most common look you'll see in the office is a pair of dress chinos with a solid button-down shirt. You might add a navy sports coat if you have a presentation or meeting with some clients. At this point though, why not go all the way and add a tie? Wearing one with a bold pattern, such as black watch tartan, can help keep things from feeling too plain.
the coat and tie
If you really enjoy wearing tailored clothing and want to stand out from your navy blazer and chino brethren, a simple upgrade to a patterned sports coat and grey trousers will make you look sharper. This is my favorite sports coat, which features a brown gun check pattern, paired with a light blue striped shirt and patterned pocket square. While you want to wear a bolder tie when your outfit is plain, you'll want to stick with a solid colored tie when you're outfit already has a lot of patterns. But just because a tie needs to be solid, that doesn't mean it can't be visually interesting, which is why I opted for this bottle green silk knit tie.
The Dressed Down suit
When it comes to wearing a suit casually, it's instinct to ditch the tie. But how do you dress down a suit while still wearing one? For starters, you can wear a shirt made out of a more casual fabric such as chambray. I don't think I can pull of the sneakers with tie look very well, so I decided to wear an informal pair of jodhpur boots instead of traditional oxfords.
Lastly, I paired the outfit with a navy grenadine tie. The navy grenadine is the holy grail of all ties. Don't believe me? Just replace all the ties in my other outfits with this baby. Notice how it still works? If you are looking to invest in a real tie (and no, the one you bought for your friend's wedding from Men's Wearhouse doesn't count), then make this one a priority.
The Professional Look
Wearing a formal suit to a casual office is not for the shy or the modest and will certainly not go unnoticed. The trick to pulling it off is to feel comfortable and confident in it, which should not be a problem because it was your decision (hopefully). I went with a navy suit with a bold bengal striped shirt underneath. I find that ties with dotted patterns look better over striped shirts, which is why I went with this flower printed motif from Vanda Fine Clothing. And yes, someone did ask me how my interview went.