Top Ten Tips for Terrific Ties

I’ve always been a shorts and t-shirt kind of guy but in the world of broadcast meteorology, you can plan on living in a suit and tie most of the week. When you are starting out, you’ll find that ties (for guys at least) are the easiest way to expand your wardrobe. They don’t cost a whole lot, and can take one dress shirt and one suit and make it into something different you can wear every week. When you are strapped for cash, that’s a good thing. Here are my top ten tips for getting the most out of your ties. Special thanks to Roger Garrity, WCAX’s noon and 5pm anchor, who I consider the absolute authority on ties.

  1. Go for big, contrasting patterns. Even in the age of high definition, the bigger and cleaner the pattern, the easier it will be to see. Pick colors that either contrast your shirt or suit, or the other colors on the tie. Patterns should be simple and clean.
  2. Stay away from small, tight patterns. That tie might look great up close, but through a camera and eight feet away, a small tight pattern will looked a bit blurry. Keep in mind how viewers will see it.
  3. Never be seen in chroma-key green. This ought to be a no brainer, but I’ve seen it happen. Know what color your weather wall is and stay away from colors similar to it. It never hurts to test out a new tie before its first run on air.
  4. Go for quantity over quality. Some might not agree with me on this one but when you are starting out, I feel that its better to have three less expensive ties instead of one, great pricey tie. Its hard to see quality over television, and as long as you’re not buying your ties at the dollar store, you should be okay. Until you have a huge cache of ties, you’re going to want to stretch your budget to build on variety.
  5. Keep it conservative. Unless you are some wacky weatherman who prides himself on loud outfits (which I don’t recommend) ties should compliment and not speak too loudly. In addition, if you have one crazy tie mixed in with the rest of your collection, viewers will always take notice when you are wearing that particular tie, and it will distract them from your weathercast. Please stay away from novelty ties as well.
  6. Keep it straight. Speaking of distractions, make sure your tie is always straight. You might have the perfect tie with the perfect suit, but if its crooked, it will drive viewers crazy. No one on set will tell you that its crooked either, so you need to be the one to make sure you are set properly during each commercial break.
  7. Know your knots. Its always a good idea to have a few knots in your bag of tricks. Ties come in all shapes and sizes, and you might need a bigger knot for that skinny tie. Don’t rush your knots either. Make sure you have a tight, clean knot before every show.
  8. Have a random rotation. Keep cycling through the ties in your closet, but don’t wear the same tie every Thursday. Ties will go along with certain suits and shirts, but you need to keep mixing it up. You can’t wear your favorite tie every week. Sorry polka dots, its nothing personal.
  9. Take tips from the pros. See what the guys on cable television are wearing and get some cues from them. Guys on ESPN, Weather Channel and CNN usually have people who help them select their wardrobe. Keep an eye out for styles that are contrasting and clean, then see if you can find something like them at your local store.
  10. Take care of your ties. Finally, keep them clean. Styles will come and go, but your ties will likely survive through the years. Don’t use your tie as a napkin on your lunch break. Keep them away from the makeup, and you’ll build up a massive army of ties that will last for years.
Any other tips for terrific ties?

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