Q&A #1 - Mark Cho

Mr T:

I wear shirts, jackets and ties to work all the time.

Please let me know if there's any rule or something that you always pay attention to when you style these 3 things.


Dear Mr. T,

Thanks for the question! There are some basic things to pay attention to:

  1. How well does your shirt collar fit? When your collar is buttoned, you should be able to fit 1 - 2 fingers between your neck and collar. The right collar size will make it much easier to wear a good tie knot.

  2. How is your collar shape? I prefer slightly larger size buttondowns, or spread collars that are medium sized. It’s important to find shapes that flatter your head and face. In general, the buttondown elongates the face slightly. The spread collar frames the head well and has a more neat appearance.

  3. What knot are you wearing? In general, I prefer a simple four-in-hand. I like small knots and I think the asymmetry prevents the tie from looking too stuffy.

As for an overall look for the items together: seek balance by paying attention to colour, pattern and texture, not letting any one item become overwhelming to the others.

Try to keep textures similar across all three pieces. If you have a jacket and shirt with very simple texture and a smooth finish, stick to a tie without too much texture but add visual interest using interesting colour or pattern.

With striped items, keep the sizing of the stripes very different, so that they do not “melt” into each other. Alternatively, mix in a patterned tie, again keeping the scale of the pattern different from the stripes.

If you have a patterned jacket, either keep it very simple, with plain coloured shirt and tie, to simplify the overall appearance, or match it with a patterned shirt and a plain coloured tie, to reduce the contrast between each piece. Like with stripes, use very different sized patterns so each piece is still distinct.

Try to mix warm and cool colours together, but in unequal proportions. For instance, brown suit, white shirt with navy tie. Or navy suit, blue shirt with brown tie. Keeping this in mind also helps to restrict colour palettes from being too wild.

If ever in doubt over a combination, you can always rely on a plain navy tie to “anchor” and restore balance.

I took a few photos of my own personal garments, combined together to show some of my thinking. Hope that helps and thanks for writing in!

Top row 1, 2
Bottom row 3. 4

1 - Items - The Armoury knit tie, Drake’s shirt, Ciccio jacket

I used complex mixed patterns but to reduce contrast, I used similar colours for everything except the tie. The tie is a simple navy knit tie with a little bit of texture. I used a cool navy colour to offset the warm yellow tones everywhere else. There is a little bit of blue in the pattern of the shirt which helps the tie blend with everything better.

2 - Items - Drake’s tie, Ascot Chang shirt, Liverano suit

A checked suit is quite a strong item so I paired it with very simple items to tone it down. I used a plain white shirt and a yellow tie which picks up the pattern from the suit. The scale of the patterns in the tie and suit are very different so they do not clash.

3 - Items - Drake’s tie, Ascot Chang shirt, Tailor CAID suit

The suit is simple but with good details, such as “swelled edge” stitching on the lapel, and a heavy twill cloth, to keep it from being too basic. I used a striped shirt and a striped tie in very different scales. I like how the stripes are “contained” by the dark, solid navy.

4 - Items - Drake’s tie, Drake’s shirt, Ring Jacket suit

I aimed to keep consistent, busy texture across all the items but kept the colours and patterns smiple. The flannel has a soft, warm feeling to it so I used a rough, blue oxford with a large, polka dot tie. For the tie, I did not choose a printed silk but a woven silk, which has more texture.