Wearing a Tie with Jeans: Can You Pull it Off?

Because we're certain you care, we're kicking off a new series here on the Cladwell blog highlighting what our employees wear on any given day. To get things started, let's take a look at what Cladwell co-founder and head of fashion, Chris Merchich, wore recently.

L: What was your thought process behind this look? C: I chose the light blue on light blue because it's one of the first nice days of the season. I wanted something that was comfortable and felt like summer. It was a casual work day; I didn't need to be particularly dressed up and, so, I decided to throw on some jeans, roll em up, and expose my pale ankles to the cool spring breeze.‬

L: I know a lot of people wonder about wearing a tie with jeans--can you share any thoughts or tips about how you make that work?

C: I'm glad you asked. I think the key to wearing jeans with a shirt and tie is to remember that jeans, fundamentally, are a casual thing. We can dress them up and they're increasingly becoming accepted in more formal and business settings, but don't forget they were really developed for cowboys and miners. So wear a dress shirt, tie, and (if you want something dressier still) a blazer that are all slightly more casual. A dress shirt with some pattern would be better than a solid or plain white. A tie with a more substantial texture (made of linen, wool, cotton, or sometimes silk) is more casual than a typical smooth and shiny silk tie. See the examples below. 

Try this

Rather than

Lastly, don't wear the jacket that belongs to one of your suits with jeans. It's probably not a casual enough suit. If you were going to buy a more casual jacket to wear with your jeans, a nice inexpensive alternative would look something like this:

L: Where do you look for inspiration?

C: I look for inspiration in a lot of different places. Of course, a big part of my job is keeping up with what's happening in the menswear world right now, but I also love seeing what men wore in the past, all the way back through the Victorian and Colonial eras. It's amazing how much we still imitate what guys wore when George Washington was in office. It's also fun to see the ebb and flow of the form vs. function debate over time in the clothes that we wear.

L: If you were to turn into a zombie today, would you be okay with wearing this outfit for the rest of eternity?

C: This is a great question. I think I'd be okay wearing this for eternity, but I'd want better shoes. I'd probably do a lot of stalking and I wouldn't want my feet to hurt. I'm thinking some tan Pro Walkers (Sport Wheat is their official color). I also think I'd be the type of zombie you'd keep chained up in your lab so that you could use me for your experiments to find a cure. You'd really want to kill me and you'd despise me for what my race is doing to human existence, but I know that deep down you'd love me because I'm sacrificing myself to save you and your family. Then, that one day you find a cure for the zombie disease, you'll look quietly into my eyes and I'll look into yours. We'll each cry a single tear. Then you'll cut my head off. But I'll re-die knowing that I did something great and you'll tell the future generations of humans that they owe their lives to one noble zombie in Sport Wheat Pro Walkers.

L: Would you wear this outfit again? What would you change, if anything?

C: Other than the Pro Walkers, I would have loved to wear a denim jacket, something like this one, but I don't have one. I also don't have a good dark leather casual belt that would better match my shoes or, even better, a casual fabric belt.

L: What s your favorite item of the look?

C: I don't have any particular favorite item in the look, but I think I'm going to start doing more generally monochromatic stuff, like the all blue here.

LeAnne’s favorite elements of this look: Cuffed jeans, sweet tie, monochromatic palette, tie with jeans.