please advise

Ask Chris Black: How Can I Wear a Tie Without Looking Like a Dweeb?

Wearing a non-dweeby Charvet tie. Photo: Chris Chang

Chris Black has returned to the Strategist with a monthly column to answer all of your burning questions — from super-specific style predicaments and workout and tennis recs to foolproof host-gift ideas that’ll get you invited back to the beach house.

How can I wear a tie without looking like an absolute dweeb?

(Remember when grown men wore ties with cartoon characters on them to the office? Talk about dweeb.) Strangely, I have been wearing a lot of ties lately and have gained some confidence in picking out the right neckwear for most occasions. I like to focus on versatility: Think black suit with a blue oxford or navy blazer with a white oxford and jeans. Keep it traditional — but with some spice!

I bought a version of this tie recently at Bergdorf Goodman for a friend’s wedding and have never received more compliments. The price tag is hefty, but you can feel the quality, and the fun version of traditional paisley is eye-catching without being obnoxious.

An orange tie can work with a white or blue shirt, and this square pattern is fun but not too crazy. Drake’s hand-rolls its ties in London, and this one is pure silk.

Green is the perfect versatile color. The knit provides a lot of texture, which can be fun in the right setting. Not superwide but not Strokes-era skinny, this would look great with almost anything in your closet.

Favorite running gear for cold weather?

For all of you who choose to run outside in the dead of winter, I salute you. It is a daunting task that takes a willpower and drive that most do not possess. That being said, the right gear is needed so you can stay warm — but not too warm — and look cool.

Running tights have been bastardized by finance bros rocking white three-quarter-length versions under their nine-inch Gymshark shorts to Equinox. Before that unfortunate trend, they were mostly worn by runners braving cold temperatures (with no shorts worn over). This version can handle cold temps and has no unnecessary bells and whistles.

You gotta protect your paws, and these Nike gloves do the trick in a very simple way. The silicone grip allows you to check your Strava mid-run with ease. A must.

Leave it to the Canadians to keep the dome covered. Unfortunately, this beanie (or toque) was worn by Frank Ocean a few years ago, but it is affordable, super-warm, and comes in a handful of colors. The classic Arc logo cannot be beat.

I wear sunglasses when I run no matter the temperature. A good pair not only shields your eyes from the sun but also protects against wind and rain. This style from DV is slick and simple and will look good on most face shapes.

This is going to be controversial, but the running turtleneck is the future. Tracksmith (a brand I work with) makes a merino version specifically for chilly-weather running that inexplicably works. It’s warm but breathable and provides additional neck coverage that you aren’t getting from a hooded sweatshirt. Take the leap. Trust me.

What’s your cologne rotation looking like these days?

I personally do not rotate. I am a die-hard loyalist to the Comme des Garçons Wonderwood fragrance. I have worn it every day for years and years and still get compliments. Steal my swag if you wish. But as a scent aficionado, I do have some others to recommend.

This scent from L.A. brand Mister Green is so good. The company did an expert job of combining a scent with which we’re all too familiar — palo santo — with soft wood, neroli, musk, smoke, and leather to make something deeply satisfying and original. The hand soap is great as well.

I have never contemplated the meaning of life while soaking in a tub deep in the Japanese wilderness, but I think I get the vibe, and this is it. This scent works year-round and combines cypress, turpentine, camphor, cedar, thyme, pine, Georgian wood, frankincense, moss, and vetiver. Cheaper than Delta One to Narita.

I keep a bottle of this on the shelf just in case. It’s a departure from the previous recommendations, which lean “woodsy.” Sunday Cologne goes citrusy and crisp, a unisex scent that feels almost like a classic high-school cologne — in the best way.

This is my go-to hand-soap fragrance, so I am quite familiar with its appeal. It combines Tuscan tobacco leaves with woody Oriental notes and smoky vanilla. Think bergamot, leather, and musk. Sexy, TBH.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Ask Chris Black: What Tie Won’t Make Me Look Like a Dweeb?