Shawl Collar & Ties

Shawl Collar & Tie

I get quite a few questions from guys that want to wear ties to the office, but are concerned that sporting a sport coat will draw too much attention. My go to recommendation for these scenarios is to suggest wearing a tie with a shawl collar sweater. In the recent weeks I have had several emails asking me this exact question which made me think that re-posting my “Shawl Collar Sweater with a Tie” post is a good idea. Without further ado, here it is (with a few additional images added at the end).

Shawl Collar with a Tie

I have been wearing a tie and jacket to work twice a week for over two years. When I began I was asked all the usual questions about meetings, job interviews, yada yada yada (Inspired by my trad-ish friend George Costanza). Those days are now in the distant past and my tie wearing ways now go unnoticed. During the course of the last two years I have tried quite a few different combinations and I have found that wearing a tie with a shawl collar sweater may be the easiest way to wear a tie in a business casual office.

What do I mean by easy? What I mean is that it will not elicit as many unwanted comments about why you are wearing a tie (at least it did not in my experience). This is probably because a sweater is much more informal than a blazer or sport coat, but also because the tie is mostly covered with a sweater so that it does not garner the same amount of attention that it would when worn with a jacket. Instead only a glimpse of the tie is given which is the perfect opportunity to wear an interesting emblematic ties such these: Ivy League Humor.
Shawl Collar Sweater with a tie and corduroysDuck Tie and CordsNot only does it make wearing a tie easy, but it looks good too. In general, I am not a fan of the sweater and tie look. I don’t love ties with a crewneck, because there is rarely any tie exposure and the knot usually makes the neck lay funny. A V-neck Shetland can look good, but the shawl collar’s strength is that it provides a background for the tie that is similar to the lapel of a jacket.
Shawl Collar Sweater and Tie with grey wool pantsBrooksgate neat tieIn preparation for this post I wore this look twice last week.  The first time I wore it with cords and a wool-silk emblematic tie with ducks. I was very comfortable in this look. In my second example I went for a more urbane look. I wore grey wool pants and an old silk Brooksgate neat tie. Overall I found the sweater to be versatile.

The shawl collar is a good option for when you want to wear a tie in a business-casual setting such as an office or a nicer restaurant, but not a jacket. So, If you were contemplating wearing a shawl collar sweater and a tie I say go for it. If you want to wear a tie to your office, but are put off by the fuss it will receive try sneaking one in under a shawl collar sweater. If you want some cover for your Chipp FU tie it could be for you as well!


Additional Images

Shawl Collar & Tieshawl-foximg_8291img_4697img_2758



oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

14 Comments on "Shawl Collar & Ties"

  1. Fred Johnson says:

    The look does work and stays nicely casual. Trousers should be creased to keep the tie from looking really out of place with the shawl. Another look that works is the lambs wool two button “polo” collared sweater, one of my favorite looks.

  2. John says:

    Nice look! I’ve been eyeing shawl collar sweaters much like the one you’re wearing. Can you list where you got yours?

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    John – Thanks, I appreciate it. The one I am wearing is from J.Crew. It is about 8 years old. I am going to try to round up a few options for a post.

  4. Lennart says:

    Jerrod, nice look, relaxed but yet dressed, perfect for a business casual setting. Personally I mostly wear jeans (tan or denim), chinos or gray flannels and crew neck. Navy Blazer or Sportjacket once or twice a week.

  5. Rollo says:

    Shawl collars seem harder to find this year than in past years, unless they are cardigans.

  6. Mike B says:

    RE: Fred Johnson’s comment about ‘lambswool two button polo collared sweaters’

    I was in J Crew the other day and noticed that J Crew had a polo collared sweater like what Fred Johnson was commenting on above (link below).

    I’ve been a fan of J Crew’s lambswool sweaters (crewneck and cardigans) and these polos were also very nice.

  7. MRS says:

    Great post, Jerrod – thanks much, and a reminder that J. Crew is a strong source for some basic staples.

  8. George says:

    Love these ties. You know what’s nice about crossing the 60 line — one of the few things? It’s that one can cruise thrift shops and eBay for those rare-but-worth-it finds of previously owned quality ties by name designers or sellers, and folks think that, naturally, they must be yours from years gone by. This might seem only mildly amusing to many, but one’s thrill threshold trends downward after retirement. Hell, I’m happy just to get mail anymore, even the junk stuff. Did I say “nice ties?” OK, well, over and out, then. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Patrick says:

    Perfection from the right-weight sweater to the classic ties to the absolutely perfect haircut.
    Is it mostly scissor cut?

  10. Sacksuit says:

    Christian Chensvold says showing this much tie is the mark of a middle class neat freak.

  11. oxford cloth button down says:

    Patrick – Scissor cut on top, but clippers on the side. Sorry for the late response!

  12. Patrick says:

    Thanks for the haircut comment.
    Don’t know about the comment about neat freak. I think the whole
    classic ivy look is neat defined. Keep your neat- flag flying.


  13. oxford cloth button down says:

    Patrick – Thank you. I have been called much worse 😉

  14. Hollywood Argyle says:

    Love the flying duck tie!

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