When shopping for the first time for a necktie, or when shopping for the first time for a quality necktie, there are a few things to take in account. Neckwear is, generally speaking, made pretty similar with wool lining, silk fabrics and 58"/ 148cm long. However there are more details to take in account. The quality of the tie, style and size (width).
Regular Length Tie: When nothing specific is mentioned, a silk tie runs 58"/ 148cm, which would fit most men. Depending on the knot of choice (some knots will use more length) the regular length tie would fit most men up to 6.3" / 193cm in height.
Extra Long Tie: The xl sized tie, sometimes hard to find quality and good designs as most Italian brands do not produce extra long ties, is 62" - 64" long (runs 5" longer than regular length neckwear).
Slim Or Regular Cut Tie: The regular cut tie has a width of 8cm/ 3.15", which has become slightly slimmer over the last decade (early 2000's the regular cut tie was 9.5cm / 3.75" width).
The slim cut (skinny and narrow ties) run 5.5cm / 2.2" - 6.5cm / 2.7".
The conservative width tie runs 9cm / 3.5" - 9.5cm / 3.75" width (wide). The wider tie is a good choice when a more conservative look is appreciated, or for an extra long tie (relatively the width of a tie could be wider to make it look right).
The Italians have been producing, mostly all hand made, high quality ties for decades. With only a very few exceptions, all neckwear made outside Italy generally speaking does not stand up to the Italian quality. Hermes and Charvet ties are hand made in France, excellent quality. Duchamp, Turnbull & Asser and a few more English brands are produced in England, very good quality. The Italian quality can be defined in two areas.
The Hand Made Italian Tie: Como Many smaller and less than hand full neckwear factories in Como area, produce for many designer brands like Valentino, Givenchy, Ermenegildo Zegna and Tome Ford. Most quality silks are hand cut, and hand sewn.
The Hand Made Sartorial Italian Tie: Napoli In the south of Italy (Napoli area) there is rich tradition in high end hand made neckwear for many decades. Many brands do not compromise quality in anyway, which result in a sartorial masterpiece, with several hand stitched details, pure craftsmanship. The sartorial brands from Napoli, like Kiton, Borrelli, Attolini, Marinella, Barba produce ties, several different ways (Kiton only makes a sevenfold tie): The regular cut tie, can be self tipped. The unlined tie, which show huge craftsmanship, often lighter (no lining near bottom tip of tie) and hand a fine stitch also on the front of the blade, which is not for everyone. The sevenfold tie is folded 6 times (7 folds) which creates a thicker luxury tie.
The sevenfold tie and unlined tie, takes more skill to make. The quality of all ties is often based on the quality of the silk and how well it was stitched (how well will keep the tie its' shape over the years?)
Generally speaking: I barely see any bad quality coming out of Italy. As only a few large factories produce for 25+ of the most popular designer brands, many brands have pretty similar cut, quality silk and hand stitched finish.
Sartorial: To experience the best available, the sartorial brands which focus on heritage and sewing techniques from decades back, will provide a very special necktie. (appreciated by the necktie aficionado).
When interested in a quality necktie and/ or a famous designer tie from Italy (when looking from something cheap, please look elsewhere):
Define the person you buy for. 1. For 98% of all men, the regular tie length works fine! 2. Young professional prefer the regular and narrow with ties, older men often prefer regular and conservative ties. 3. The classic Italian designs, often many geometric prints, in mostly classic colors, keep drawing interest from mostly slightly older men, for a (slightly) conservative and timeless look. Striped designs, and bolder colors, draw more interest from the slightly younger crowd. Note: The nordic countries generally like more color in their choices, the southern countries prefer more conservative / classic designs. 4. All, made in Italy ties are good quality, only for men whom really like to talk about the their tie, the quality and the story will appreciate the sartorial brands from Napoli, like Borrelli, Kiton, Attolini, Finamore and more. Most men appreciate a famous brand tie (still hand made, mostly in Como area) the best, quality brands like Zegna, Canali and Armani, as popular and new collections might strike their interest, including some brands which have many signature designs like Versace, Givenchy, Missoni and Gucci.