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Q. I read your column and feel it offers many helpful suggestions and proves that a person with creativity can still dress nice with a little work. I'm writing to ask what do you feel is the right occasion to wear wild-print ties with a serious suit? Speaking of wild ties, I was hoping to find a Beatles-related tie for a gift. Any ideas?

A.With the approach of the holiday season and its accompanying small and large festivities, men surely do have a chance to indulge their not-so-serious side and choose ties that are more offbeat than the typically-accepted businesslike attire. This is not to say there aren't other occasions and a full spectrum of levels of "wild," but holidays are a great time to indulge your more creative side.

I spoke with Josh Bach, the long-established designer and creator of some of the most interesting men's ties on the market. His ties are known for looking at first glance as if they are standard, conservative ties, but then -- upon close observation -- they turn out to be something quite different ... whimsical and often playful. As examples, one design looks like a blue tie with gray stripes. But when looked at more closely, it turns out that the gray stripes are actually bicycle chains. And, perhaps one of his most loved designs looks like a blue tie with a small green overall foulard pattern. The green designs are actually miniature baseball diamonds.

In response to your question, Josh said, "It's one thing to wear something garish and 'noveltyish.' I love the fact that with a conservative suit, you can get a blast of color. It doesn't look cartoonish or like the proverbial ugly Christmas sweater. It just seems like fun. I've seen smart, conservative dressers wearing elegant clothes made of beautiful fabrics, but with a splash of a bright color; it looks good. If it's the only item that is quirky, it looks great, as opposed to bad taste. A traditional dresser looks comfortable wearing a punch of color as long as it is not one of too many oddball touches. It says: 'This is someone who is not afraid to be a bit unique.' But if he wears colorful socks, a quirky tie-bar, and a loud pocket square, he comes across as trying awful hard."

I'm not sure I can help you find a Beatles tie, but if you're not internet savvy, you might enlist the aid of a 12-year-old, who can probably find you several on eBay. While the Josh Bach collection mostly emphasizes men's interests and professions, it does include a print with old 45 adapters (for those who even know what they were). His seasonal offerings this year have candy-cane striped ties, reindeer prancing across a tie, and a pattern of mod cocktail glasses. They all look rather conservative from afar, but then comes the fun twist. Other pluses: the ties are all silk, USA made, and, by today's prices, quite reasonable, in the $55 to $60 range.

If you like plaid ties, this is the perfect time of year for them. A bright red plaid, or a dark blue and green black watch tartan spells holiday dressing. The same idea can also work just by wearing a fine quality solid-color tie in a really bold or unexpected shade, such as a bright pink, lavender or orange tie with a quiet gray or navy suit. These are also perfect with a blue blazer.

When I asked Josh about bow ties as part of holiday dressing, he said, "The bow tie is still quite strong for us, but I'm not sure that as many new bow tie wearers are coming into the fold as they did in previous years. But regardless it's still a great look. It works for everyone: black/white, young/old, straight/gay, serious/playful. And, it has really brought back the fun of wearing ties."

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High Profile on 12/03/2017

Print Headline: Holidays time to explore your not-so-serious side

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