It should come as no surprise that David Hart has a definite opinion about what kinds of knots a man should know how to tie. The New York-based designer launched a line of neckwear in 2009 that sold so well at luxury retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and United Arrows, it evolved into a full ready-to-wear collection just last year.
Hart, who designed for Anna Sui, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren before he started making wares for his eponymous label, talked with us after he presented his Twilight Zone-inspired fall 2014 collection. The topics? Tying ties, the evolution of neckwear, and why every man should own a vintage piece of clothing.
1. "Prints and patterns are great ways for guys to break the mold of conservative dressing. This doesn't mean wearing head-to-toe patterns, but focus on a single bold accessory or suits in unexpected colors. Socks, ties, and pocket squares are traditional ways to be adventurous, but today's man can't feel confident in just a jacket, shirt, or sweater. The days of the drab gray, navy, and black suits and solid-black tuxedos are over."
2. "The tie has evolved over the past few years. It's not for the banker anymore, but for the guy who wants to be noticed and stand out. Tie widths have slimmed down significantly, and ties that were once boring striped silk in drab colors are now wool, cotton, linen, and raw silk in great patterns like irregular stripes, foulards, and unexpected scales of polka dots. My favorites are all in raw silk."
3. "Tie knots depend on the collar as well a your lapel width. A narrower tie should go with a smaller-scale collar and slimmer lapel, while a wider tie should go with an extreme spread collar and a wide lapel. Recently, I've been a fan of the tab collar paired with a four-in-hand knot."
4. "The two knots that every man should know by heart are the four-in-hand and the half-Windsor."
5. "When traveling, always bring something formal. Nothing sparks up conversation better than being the best-dressed person in the room. A watch is always helpful—especially when trying to avoid jet lag."
6. "Be a well-groomed man: Shower every day, shave, and keep your nails trimmed. Oribe makes the best shampoo and conditioner for men; it also has great packaging."
7. "Mohair suits are a must for spring—they're crisp and lightweight. It breathes so well in the summer months and helps you stay cool."
8. "Brown brogues are essential, but make sure they're polished. Walk-Over makes great dress shoes, if you're unsure where to start."
9. "Vintage clothing is a great way to update an existing wardrobe with something unique and personal. The great thing about vintage is that you most likely have the only garment in existence, so you don't have to worry about having the same clothing as everyone else."
10. "Confidence is key when it comes to style. Don't force yourself into trying something just because it's a trend, but try new things that you are comfortable with. Maybe you've never worn a bright tie or a fun pair of socks—these are easy and safe things to start with. The rule is simple: If you feel great in something, you're probably doing it right and look great."