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FASHION: What's Smart for Spring? : Match Game : A Foolproof Method of Clash Control?

February 26, 1992|WILLIAM KISSEL

You're going through your closet looking for a tie that matches a striped sport shirt and suddenly you're baffled.

Should you choose the paisley, or will it clash? What about the polka-dots? Or maybe a geometric floral?

This spring, men's shirt-makers are offering matching necktie collections as a possible solution.

It may seem like something from Garanimals--the company that put color labels on its garments to help children match their clothes--but a handful of designers think the concept will help men sort through their coordination problems. The shirts and ties, sold separately, are also a fairly affordable way to punch up a spring wardrobe.

Surfeline Hawaii's version is $59 for the shirt and $24 for a tie. Rick Dunnington has a $200 shirt and a $60 matching tie. A duo by Giorgio Armani or Isaac Mizrahi runs, of course, even more.

What about creating your own matches? "Some men can do it," Dunnington says, "but nine times out of ten the proportions are off and it looks like they're forcing it."

The look works best, he says, when collar points are 2 1/2 inches long and neckties are 4 inches or more wide. (Most men have 2 3/4-inch neckties.) Those dimensions, Dunnington says, allow the tie to be properly seen.

Matching also works better with certain fabrics.

"If we're talking about a vertically striped shirt, the stripe on the tie should be angled, to distinguish between the two items," Dunnington suggests. Plaids are more difficult, he adds, because they should match exactly.

Other designers suggest wearing a printed shirt in one color and a matching printed necktie in another.

"It makes the look seem less extreme," says Ben Narasin of Boston Prepatory. "It's a kicky, tongue-in-cheek sort of thing that the average consumer won't wear. But most designers like to show the customer the outer extreme of a look and let him take away the piece that works for him. "

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