Graphic tie

lord willys ties

Rather than express yourself in color, you can express yourself in graphics, Wilcox says.

If you keep to the same color tones, you can get away with mixing a pinstripe suit with a checked shirt and a polka-dot tie. "When you put those three together as a sentence, it shouldn't work, it should be very messy," he says. But somehow it does.

What about little airplanes or monkeys or bananas on a tie?

"Not crazy about that kind of thing," Wilcox says. "I've often felt the little pigs and the little ducks, it's kind of cute, but it looks like someone bought them for you for Christmas. They look like gifts."

First published December 18, 2015: 11:35 AM ET