Working with neckties is very much a matter of personal taste, but in conservative terms there are some basic guide lines such as ties should always be darker than the wearer's shirt.
The background color of the tie should not be the same as that of the shirt, while the fore ground of the tie should contain the color of the shirt and thereby pick up on the color of the shirt. Ideally, the tie should also integrate the color of the suit in the same way. Generally, simple or subdued patterns are preferred for conservative dress, though these are terms with a wide range of interpretation.
In recent times however, it has become popular to match the necktie color with the shirt or even wearing a lighter colored tie with a darker shirt, usually during formal occasions. Some of the most common knots are the Four in hand, the Half-Windsor, the Windsor or Full Windsor, and the Shelby or Pratt.
A Four in hand, Half Windsor, or Windsor is generally the most appropriate with a suit, particularly by contemporary guidelines. Once properly knotted and arranged, the bottom of the tie can extend any where from the wearer's navel level, to slightly below the waist band. The thin end should never extend below the wide end. In the 1960s, it was fashionable for men as well as women to wear scarves with a suit in a tied knot either inside a shirt as an Ascot or under the collar as a would be worn like a tie.
This style was more common towards anyone in the art departments such as film directors or more commonly musicians. This style began to fade by the mid 1970s and came back in the 1990s mainly for women. It did however, make a small come back by 2005 and some famous stars wear them. Although, some wore scarves back in the 1960s, ties were still preferred among business workers. It has become fashionable to wear a suit without a tie and with an open necked shirt among young men.
The type of shirt worn by men with a suit is a top made of woven cloth, with long sleeves, a full length buttoned opening down the front, and a collar. This type of garment is known in American English as a dress shirt but simply as a shirt in other English dialects. This type of shirt is some times called an Oxford shirt. However, this properly refers to a shirt made from a specific kind of fabric, namely Oxford cloth, in a specific style. The dress shirt is ironed, neatly tucked into its wearer's trousers, and other wise worn according to the etiquette described in the article Dress shirt.
The classic shirt colors are light blue or white, with white considered the most conservative. However, numerous colors and shades are available, with pastels particularly popular in America, though less formal colors are not always acceptable. The most formal type of dress shirt worn with a standard suit is a shirt with linked, but not French, cuffs, which are closed using cuff links or silk knots instead of buttons. However, this type of shirt is optional, and essentially up to the preferences of the wearer and the vagaries of fashion.
The most traditional collar is a spread collar. This is frequently the default collar type for French cuff shirts, though they can some times be found with point collars. Normally, button down collars are reserved for casual use with a sports jacket or without a coat at all, though they have long been acceptable in America. The button down collar is not seeing as much wear today, particularly with the resurgence of more formal shirts with spread collars and French cuffs, even in business casual wear.