Tie with jeans – how to combine?

Posted by Atte Rytkönen on 25.9.2016 in General

Is it alright to wear tie with jeans? The answer depends on who you ask the question. There are people who say that it’s wrong. And guys who say that of course you can. My answer is somewhere in the middle. There is no general rule that you can’t wear a tie with jeans. But you need to combine these two in a right way.

If you are about to go to event with formal dress code, forget the jeans with tie combination. Same applies to any more serious business occasions. But if you are looking for a dressed-up casual setting, the right tie with right blazer and denim can be a good option.

How to wear tie with jeans - brown shantung tie with lightweight denim
Dressed-up but casual. Unstructured sport coat, button-down shirt, brown shantung tie and light colored denim.

Tie with jeans – keep the balance

As with any outfit, the most important thing when you combine tie and jeans in one outfit is to keep the balance in terms of materials and textures. This is especially important when you combine two pieces that in terms of formality are in principle at different levels. Therefore my recommendation is that if you wear jeans, forget the most formal ties. For example never pair you silver grenadine tie with your ripped jeans.

Another guideline to keep in mind is this, never wear a tie and jeans without a jacket. And this applies to any case. Never wear a tie without a jacket. With some knitwear you can make an exception. But don’t wear a combination where you have trousers, button-up shirt and a tie. That just does not look good.

Thirdly, if you choose to wear a tie with jeans, choose denim that is clean and plain. In general I like many times to wear jeans that torn and distressed. But I would not pair them with a jacket and tie. So take a pair of jeans that not the most casual denim pair on your closet.

Softly tailored sport coat is the best choice to wear with denim.

Keep it casual with right textures and details

Wearing a tie does not mean you need to go fully formal. Therefore I prefer ties that are plain but feature some kind of interesting texture. To wear with jeans, I would choose a tie that is made of shantung silk, wool or cashmere. All these materials are appropriate to wear for not only business purposes but also for more casual occasions.

I might be biased as I prefer more softly tailored and unstructured jackets and suit in general. But especially with denim my recommendation is to avoid jackets that are a) distinguishable suit jacket and b) feature heavier construction and strongly padded shoulders. As you can see here, I am wearing an unstructured and unlined wool sport coat. In addition to the structure the casualness of the jacket appears in details. The jacket has three patch pockets and the fabric is washed to give it even more casual feel.

To keep the ensemble in balance also make sure that you wear a shirt that is casual enough. An oxford shirt with soft collar is a good option.

For this outfit I chose the brown shantung tie. As I have said before, the rich texture of this dark brown shantung silk tie brings just the right kind of contrast to otherwise basic and simple outfits. If you are looking for a tie to wear with your jeans, this kind of a tie is a perfect option to balance the attire.

The brown tie brings together the shades of brown jacket and light blue shirt.
And if you want to have that little splash of color, you can do it with pocket square. Orange is a good seasonal choice for fall and winter.


Once again combining the shades of blue and brown.

Tie but not pocket square

Sometimes it is said that if a jacket features breast pocket, you should always wear a pocket square. In my opinion that is not true. There are occasions and combinations where the pocket square is not necessarily needed. Although in most of cases you can still have one. As a sum-up just a few more shots showcasing the same look without a pocket square. As you see it becomes even more simple and plain.

The brown double monks to finalize the outfit. Not too casual or too formal but just in between in the right way.
Checking the tie and shoes.

Finally, this kind of an outfit is also a versatile and easy to dress down pretty quickly. Just take of the jacket, remove the tie and replace with a crew neck sweater. There you got a basic attire for any casual occasion.