Common wisdom for necktie length is that the tip of the wider front blade should meet the centre of the belt, or it should meet the centre of the trousers’ waistband for those who dress outside of mainstream belted trousers as James Bond often does. This rule of thumb provides a visual anchor for the tie whilst ensuring that the tie is is not so long that it looks sloppy.
A man can still be well-dressed if his tie is slightly longer or shorter than this. Dressing is an art, not a science.
A few variables determine how long a tie should ideally be for a person, including the person’s height, the person’s neck size and the kind of knot they use. Some say that the tie’s narrow blade should be the same length as the wide blade, but this should be secondary to getting the wide blade the correct length and using one’s preferred knot.
Coming Up Short
A tie that is too short can make it look like one is wearing a child-size tie. Men used to wear their ties shorter than they do today. So long as the tie is long enough to stay neatly tucked into a jacket, it is not too short.
The first occasion when Bond’s tie is noticeably too short is when he wears a pink tie in Diamonds Are Forever. This is the most criticised tie of the Bond series. Maybe it’s because the tie is pink or too wide, but it’s mostly because it’s too short. Because it’s a wide tie, the shortness makes it look like a bib. It struggles to stay tucked inside the ecru linen suit jacket’s opening.
This problem could have been avoided if Connery used a Bondian four-in-hand knot rather than his own preferred Windsor knot. Windsor knots take up a lot more length of the tie than four-in-hand knots do. This would have provided the tie with a few more inches in length.
The tie may have been worn short on purpose. It follows the ‘kipper tie’ fashion of the late 1960s and 1970s started by Michael Fish, who was involved with the Turnbull & Asser shirts for Sean Connery’s earlier Bond films before he opened his own shop Mr Fish. Kipper ties were mainly wide ties of over four inches wide, but the most extreme kipper ties were also intended to be shorter. On larger man like Sean Connery, a tie of ordinary length could easily be too short when made in a Windsor knot.
Since the 1970s, the short tie fashion has fallen out of favour, but the problem still afflicts Bond.
In Spectre, Bond wears a somewhat short Tom Ford silk knitted tie with a Brunello Cucinelli jacket and trousers. The tie looks short because it does not meet the waistband of the trousers, but it does meet Daniel Craig’s waist. The trousers have a low rise, and if the tie was to meet the belt, it may show beneath the fastened button of the jacket and look sloppy. The puzzle pieces of menswear do not fit together as traditionally intended with low-rise trousers.
Daniel Craig wears his navy tie the same way with his grey Glen Urquhart check suit in No Time to Die. The tie is long enough to reach the natural waist but does not meet the top of his low-rise suit trousers. This may be the result of his trousers slipping down below their intended resting place. The tie does not stick out below the jacket’s fastened button at the waist, which is a benefit of the tie length.
In both of Daniel Craig’s examples shown here, it’s ultimately not so much that the tie is too short but rather that the trousers are too low. It is all a matter of perspective; the tie is the correct length per tradition. However, it is easy to tie the necktie longer whilst it is impossible to lengthen the rise of the trousers.
Bond’s tie at the start of The World Is Not Enough is just slightly off from meeting his belt buckle. Based on how the belt looks uneven, it’s safe to assume the trousers slipped down, from a combination of being too loose and being dragged down by a heavy belt. When he got dressed, most likely the point of the tie met the centre of his belt buckle.
Some people like to wear their ties longer, which comes from Italian trends—or from Donald Trump—when done purposefully. The longer may be associated with sprezzatura, whether it comes across as a contrived carelessness or a natural care-free look. Others may being wearing their ties longer as a means of overcompensation. Generally, a long tie is more acceptable than short tie these days.
For the shorter man, wearing a tie longer may be unavoidable when wearing ready-to-wear ties, which are often as long as 59 inches these days. They may have to tie a larger knot to take up some of the extra length. They can wear the narrow blade longer and either tuck it in or leave it untucked. Or they may have to resort to getting bespoke ties.
Bond’s ties rarely look too long. There are a few moments in Quantum of Solace where Bond’s ties appear to be too long because the end of the blade is visible below the fastened button of his suit jacket. This presents the issues that arise when wearing a tie with low-rise trousers. The tip of the tie, however, hits approximately in the centre of the trouser waistband on all of these occasions, so by that standard the tie is the correct length. The suit jackets have open quarters and the trousers have a fairly low rise, which makes the tie look too long by exposing it where it would not traditionally be exposed.
If the tie sticks out below the jacket’s button, is it too long? Does it need to meet the low-rise trousers’ waistband? This is the problem that current fashions present. It can be difficult to come to the right solution when solving one issue creates another.