Why the humble necktie is the accessory to invest in right now

Hikmat Mohammed
Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and Carrie Fisher in 1979

There is nothing more corporate than a tie – not even a grey suit comes close. It has long been synonymous with men in finance and politics. Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer even became a Twitter meme for wearing the same tartan tie non-stop.

The tradition of women wearing ties, though, is more intriguing: small accessory, big impact.

Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall is a reference that’s often revisited by fashion brands such as Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti and Gucci. And then there was Julia Roberts’ floral-tie moment at the 1990 Golden Globes.

blouse with a tie, pink tie and gold tie

Tie-collar blouse, £14.99, H&M; Skinny lamé jacquard tie, £170, Saint Laurent at Matches Fashion; Light brown tie, £145, Gucci

There’s an ease and nonchalance about these women in ties compared to the men who wear them. It’s a nod to tradition, yet the moment a woman wears one, it becomes much more powerful, norm-breaking, joyous and androgynous.

Riccardo Tisci at Burberry has made a more recent case for the tie in various camel hues, with some monogrammed and even illustrated, all layered under and over prim-and-proper skirt suits.

While the aesthetic is not exactly country-club appropriate, it does have a Brideshead Revisited formality to it – a look that Jodie Comer’s Killing Eve character Villanelle referenced in season two in a yellow-and-purple floral tie, teamed with a beige sweater draped across her shoulders.

velvet blazer, waistcoat, blue shirt, brown boots and pleated trousers

Velvet jacket, £270, Tommy Hilfiger; Ankle boots, £150, Cos; Striped shirt, £445, Jil Sander at Browns Fashion; Black trousers, £115, Arket; Waistcoat, £590, Burberry

There are endless prints, colourways and ways to wear a tie. In the Forties, Marlene Dietrich embraced the masculine look of the Windsor knot, while a four-in-hand knot (like the ties worn at school) was loved by Carrie Fisher, as it’s not bulky and the fabric is more lightweight.

And last month at the Bombshell premiere in California, Nicole Kidman wore a black tie with a white shirt and bedazzled blazer by Saint Laurent.

There are no strict rules dictating how a woman should or shouldn’t wear a tie, so there’s an opportunity to get creative, though those with bigger busts might want to consider a skinny version.

As for the tie-with-trouser-suit look, leave it to Julia Roberts, as there’s a high risk of looking like you got outfit inspiration from a fashion flip-book.

Tracking the trend

1985: Tie Di

Princess Diana in a Jasper Conran suit and tie in Livorno, Italy

Princess Diana in a turquoise green suit-skirt by Jasper Conran on an official visit to Italy.

2002: All ties in

Jean-Paul Gaultier spring/summer 2002 haute couture

Jean-Paul Gaultier presented his spring/summer 2002 haute couture collection at the L’Avenir du Prolétariat in Paris, which translates to “the future of the working class”, and heavily featured tops and dresses made out of ties.

2019: Role reversal

Nicole Kidman in a Saint Laurent suit and tie at the Bombshell premiere

Nicole Kidman swapped the bodycon dresses that she wears on screen in new film, Bombshell, for monochrome androgyny.

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