Friday, December 27, 2019

An Engineering Eye for the Tie Buying Guy

At the Mayo Clinic, patients always come first.  In my few days of volunteering, I picked up on some subtle ways that the culture supports patient-centric values.   Office areas are very utilitarian while patient care areas are well furnished and decorated.   Everyone is professionally dressed, regardless of their role.   For me, that means wearing a tie every day (and retiring my Dr. Martens).   Over the past 20 years, I've worn engineered black clothing in my travels around the world.   I've not worn a tie and long ago donated all the ties from my youth.   Admittedly, I do have a Harvard bowtie that I wore once for a meeting in a members only club that required a tie.   

So how does a person buy an appropriate tie in 2020?  Thick or thin, solid or textured, bright or subtle colors?   It turns out there is an engineering answer.   Here's a great overview  that helped me.

The width of a tie to buy in 2020 is a function of body size, lapel width and shirt collars. 

I'm 6'2" with a body mass index of 22.    I'm approaching 60 years old with measurements of 42" chest, 33" waist, 34" inseam.    That places me in the slim/tall category but not the athletic build category.

In 2008, I wrote this post about designing clothing based on the human three dimensional shape and the basics of materials science.   The lapels of all my current suits are 2 inches wide. 

My collars are thin and I don't want the tie fabric to protrude.

So for me, the acceptable tie width range based on my body type, my lapels, and my collars is 2.25-2.75 inches wide.

So what did I buy for my professional wardrobe?  A selection of 2.5 inch wide ties in charcoal, grey, and navy blue.

Each of them has some texture to stand out against my black and peat colored shirts.    It's likely that I will need a few white shirts as I transition to a full Mayo look.

Who knew that buying a tie needed a decision support system?

No comments: