A classic men's suit without a necktie is simply unthinkable, and now the fashion accessory is gaining ground in men's casual wear with fresh designs.
However, few men are able to make a selection and stick with classic ties or leave the purchase up to their girlfriends who happily oblige.
"Ties are not a dead cult object," said Gerd Mueller-Thomkins, chairman of the German fashion institute in Cologne. Currently there's a lot going on in necktie fashion: the young generation holds the British pop style of the 1960s in high regard and are slipping into trousers and sports coats. They are pairing the styles with narrow ties.
The trend has been sported by prominent people such as jazz musician Roger Cicero, who chooses to wear the style. The German fashion institute recently awarded him "Necktie Man of the Year".
A combination of grey, black, brown or red tones are paired with classic suits. Classic designs like pinstripes, polka dots, checks or coats-of-arms never go out. Currently, according to the fashion institute, luminous neon colours or shiny fabrics are in style. With so much on offer, a bit of courage and a sense of fashion are needed.
But every other man says either he doesn't need a new tie or leaves the purchase up to his wife or girlfriend, said Heijo Gassenmeier of the German textile trade association in Cologne.
When buying a tie, there are a few things to be aware of, said style adviser Rosel Haas of Duesseldorf. The necktie must match the style and the wearer's physical size. Haas immediately pulls out neckties that were in style 10 years ago. The depressing ones must go, she said, adding, the colour of braces was a separate style issue.
"They have to match the style and personality of the man," Haas said. If it is appropriate for the occasion, a bright red tie can be worn or a knitted necktie, which are finding the path back to earlier styles.
Whether the necktie is smooth silk or knitted, whether it's striped or neon, it's always important to look closely at the quality. The textile association said about one-quarter of all tie buyers reach for a necktie costing 20 to 50 euros ($30 to $74).