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Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher

Simultaneously smart, sporty, colourful and conservative, striped ties demand to be included in any well-dressed man's wardrobe. The stripes were originally the colours of British army regiments, schools and clubs (London's Marylebone Cricket Club has a famously lurid orange and yellow tie), but happily are now available to everyone. This summer striped ties have been given a new casual attitude with slim proportions, new materials and pale colours.

Of these virtues the reduced width is self-explanatory, and looks right under the slender suits that currently predominate. However, do bear in mind that the tie and the shirt need to correspond - so shirts with small collars look best with slim ties, while more classic collars call for wider ties.

Meanwhile the pale colours speak of blue skies and daytime events, with weddings being the most obvious application; these ties suggest a man's dressed to please himself, rather than to conform with a corporate dress code. If you're still choosing your outfit it's worth noting that these softly coloured ties will look as handsome with a pale suit as with a dark one.

Texture is no less important, and can make as much difference to the success of an outfit as colour. Mixing a linen and silk tie with a smooth wool suit produces a welcome contrast, while wearing a casual tie made from a mix of cotton and linen with a chambray shirt and jeans is far more harmonious in terms of texture. However, both of these combinations are at their best in the daytime, because after dark the slight reflection that comes off a smooth silk tie remains desirable.

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