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.
Many modern ties are indeed very long. I am of average height (5-11) but almost all ties I buy are too long for me. The good news is there is a tie alterations (and cleaning) service in New York City — Tiecrafters. I highly recommend them. They can perform all kinds of alterations on ties (shortening, narrowing, changing old interlining, or even changing the shape of the blade, if that is what the customer desires).
I think that there’s so often you have your suit jacket unbuttoned, so the tie needs to be of a good length in proportion to the trousers also and not just long enough to be tucked in the suit jacket.
“The first occasion when Bond’s tie is noticeably too short is when he wears a pink tie in Diamonds Are Forever.”
Matt, I had prepared a rebuttal to this claim to suggest that Connery’s tie is first too short in Dr. No, in the scene where Bond meets Felix Leiter. You can see that the tie fails to meet the trouser waistband as Connery delivers his “Savile Row” line. Since Connery wore his trousers at his natural waist (or maybe even a little above it) in Dr. No, I thought for sure the tie was tied too short. Before proudly sending off this comment, I watched the previous scene with Bond and Quarrel at the boat, where everything lined up perfectly. I then realized that I was most probably mistaken and that the likely explanation is that Bond’s trousers slipped down during the tussle with Puss-Feller and Quarrel. At the boat, Bond’s trousers are lined up with the top suit jacket button. After the tussle, his waistband is a full inch or two below the suit jacket button. Case solved? What say you Matt?
Yes, that’s what I figured with the Dr. No tie. I think the trousers just slipped down during the excitement.
That’s what she said
I hope the too-long tie thing dies out soon. Other than Connery’s pink tie, 007 definitely seems to know how long his tie should be. A tie is neckwear, not a loincloth.
This is why I always try to get suits with a higher rise than is fashionable on the trousers. I have a long torso as it is, so even with more casual pants that traditionally have lower rise, like jeans, I find anything less than 11 inches uncomfortably low. With dress trousers, I usually prefer a rise of at least 12 inches, and even as high as 14.
Because of that I also prefer a shorter tie, though since I also have a thick neck, anything on the shorter end of standard (58″-59″) is still wearable with higher rise pants.
I agree on the trouser rise bit, I’ve all but given up on buying trousers off the peg because they all sit too low on me. When it comes to ties I have the equal opposite problem, each and every one of my ties has the short blade a good couple of inches of longer despite the fact that I’m 6’1. My reason is that I have an incredibly thin neck, so my extra height is rendered useless!
Allow me a OT.
You don’t think that the late Prince Philip, Duke of Duke of Edinburgh,was the man that in the real life had the dress style closer to that of the classic James Bond?
Both,the Prince and Bon were Officers in the British Navy.
Both loved single breasted two buttons suits in minimalistic patterns.
Both loved blazer jackets (though the Prince’s blazers were more “naval” in style of those of 007).
Philip had a single breasred dinner jacker with notched lapels as Sean Connery/Bond in Goldfinger.
Philip loved the white “TV fold handkerchief in breast pocket as the early Connery Bond.
If you see pictures of the Prince in 60s, the similarity with what wore Bond is even closer.
The only main difference is that the Prince not wear (or wear very little) grenadine or silk knot ties.
What do you think about it?
There are certainly some similarities, but that may come down to both of them wearing English bespoke clothes. Prince Philip’s clothes always looked a bit more old-fashioned than Bond’s did. He wore a lot of three-button and double-breasted suits in addition to the two-button suits.
Since the Sixties HRH Prince Philip mainly wore two-buttons, but mainly non vented and with jetted pockets without flaps and what looks like a lot of drape, more textured suitings, which give the old fashionned look. The cut also has a low buttoning.
Interesting comparison and I seem to recall somewhere in the dim and distant past hearing a comment attributed to Connery along the lines that the Bond producers had an image of Bond where they expected Connery to “dress like Prince Philip does”.
Actually I think they told Lazenby to drop his Australian swagger and walk like Prince Phillip.
There is, of course, a perfectly simple solution to all these tie-length challenges: BRING BACK THE CRAVAT! (or, you know, wear an ascot).
Please note, I said it was a simple solution, but not that it would be easy. (-;
Interesting stuff, I have been wearing all my ties a tad shorter for 5 or so years. Essentially I like my ties to stop right around my belly button. This is especially true of a knot tie with a square end. When my tie reaches my belt it now feels sloppy. Style does shift and I don’t see Craig’s ties as being too short at all.
In the example from Quantum above, is it that the tie is too long, or the flare of the jacket skirt is too much? I’m a fan of the suppressed waist, but if it is too much, it seems to contribute to the jacket opening pulling apart below the button. Matt, what do you think?
The suit and tie are traditionally designed for the trousers to sit at the natural waist, for the jacket to button at the natural waist, and for the tie to meet the trouser’s waistband. When one of these elements is off (low-rise suit trousers in this case), a problem occurs. The jacket’s open quarters aren’t necessarily bad, but closed quarters can solve this issue. However, that can make for an unflattering bottom-heavy look. The main reason why the tie shows so much here is because Daniel Craig is in motion. When standing still the quarters aren’t so open. Everything looks more perfect on a mannequin compared to real people.