Todd Snyder on casual ties
Credit: Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

"To me, the tie has become the accessory of choice these days," says Todd Snyder, a menswear designer who learned a thing or two about neckwear while working at Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, and J.Crew. A once strictly formal accessory, ties are being treated as an opportunity for self expression. For his part, Snyder, who recently launched his first collaboration with iconic sportswear brand Champion, likes pairing a tie with a leather jacket for a James Dean-cum-Preppy Handbook aesthetic.

"Mixing up worlds à la a biker or aviator jacket, a denim jacket or great military field jacket with a tie is cool," he says. "It's become a go-to item for the season – and for the last couple of seasons, but how you mix it today is what makes it interesting."

Today's ties are a bit narrower, and Snyder likes mixing the tailored – think wool flannel and solid ties and simple Repp ties – with outerwear and cardigans. "That's the trick, it's almost like 'Mad Men' without the sport coat," he says. "Loosen up the knot. The whole idea is the casualness of it; [this] is what you're trying to capture."

Since we're living in looser times, jackets don't necessarily dictate the types of ties worn with them anymore. But simplicity is still key. "You can do a knit tie across the board," says Snyder. "It's the most universally adaptable and updates any look."