Shape and resilience.
Hold the tie from the smaller tip and suspend it. Make sure it falls straight and doesn't twist. Then, pull both ends and twist it to make sure the tie returns to its original shape. When in doubt, this is the best way to be sure of the quality of the workmanship and the silk fabric.
A rich "hand".
Ties made of 100 percent silk are the best that money can buy. But, not all silk is created equal. Glide your hand over the fabric to feel if it gives the rich "hand," the smooth sensation that only pure and high quality silk can provide.
A handmade, hand-stitched, or hand-finished necktie will keep its shape and last longer than one manufactured entirely by a machine. Check the product description or ask the sales staff to be sure.
Reverse the tie and see if the blade is tipped with pure silk and not just a blend or synthetic fabric. Using only the same quality of silk as the rest of the tie will give it superior comfort, resilience, and proper shape.
This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 2 2011.