Fashion rules are made to be broken, and the proof lies in the endurance of the tie-and-jeans combo. While some purists rally against this pairing of formal and casual, fashionable fellows from Andy Warhol to David Beckham have proven that it can indeed work well. The trick lies in sticking with timeless jeans styles, flattering fits and a well-matched tie.
To complement the tie's innately formal aesthetic rather than clash with it, choose well-fitted jeans. Slim styles work well, while low-to-medium rise jeans with a close -- but not leg-hugging -- cut are timelessly dependable. Steer clear of baggy jeans, those made of shiny synthetic fabrics or artificially distressed styles, which work against your tie rather than with it.
Simple and Classic
You can make a tie work with just a dress shirt and jeans, so long as the shirt is neatly tucked and not too puffy. To really set the look off, pick a shirt with a subtle pattern, such a gingham or muted plaid. Honor your neat tie with a proper shirt fit: Always fit to your neck size and arm length. Semi-spread collars, rolled sleeves and a nice leather watch all work within this middle-ground of casual and formal.
The Basic Blazer
The time-tested jeans-and-blazer duo serves as perhaps your safest bet for pairing denim bottoms with a tie. This semi-formal style works particularly well with an athletic-cut blazer in a neutral, subdued hue such as navy, taupe or charcoal. To dress this look up, add a vest and tie bar; to dress it down, cuff your jeans over a pair of leather or suede loafers or boat shoes, worn sans socks in summery seasons.
Tied Up in Texture
By nature, even the dressiest pair of denim jeans has a somewhat rugged quality. To complement this, choose a tie fabric with a similarly robust, masculine sensibility -- fabrics such as chambray or knitted wool accent denim better than silk or satin. Likewise, if you wear your tie and jeans with a blazer or vest, textiles such as herringbone and tweed feel right at home alongside denim.
The days when jeans were blue and blue alone are long gone; you have a world of colored denim at your fingertips. Whether you sport a rolled-sleeved dress shirt by itself, a twill vest or an elbow-patched blazer with your tie and jeans, matching your tie to your trousers instantly unifies your entire ensemble -- the classic burgundy and navy striped tie goes great with wine-colored denim, while a gray chambray tie and gunmetal jeans makes for a sleek pair.
Coupling your tie and jeans with a lightweight, casual jacket creates a versatile outfit especially appropriate for transitional seasons. A light-wash denim jacket paired with dark blue jeans and a navy or brown tie offers a devil-may-care alternative to the buttoned-up look, as does a trim black or brown leather jacket with a square-end tie. Lightweight, fitted windbreakers -- especially those with epaulets -- also flatter ties. Adding a cardigan to a knit tie, gingham button-up and skinny jeans captures the intellectual vibe.
The Women's Angle
Women can have just as much fun with the tie-and-jeans combination as men. Short, wide ties -- maybe even worn a little loose around the neck -- add a feminine flair to this pairing, as do bold patterns such as plaid or polka dots. Try a tie with a solid-colored blouse, lightweight sweater and skinny jeans for a business-casual look or pair one with a half-sleeve blazer, vest and cuffed boyfriend jeans for a breezy tomboy getup.