To me ties are a representation of the person's personality. It used to be that a striped tie told me you had none so I didn't buy it for you cos I believed you did have personality.
Some time ago I bought a yellow tie for someone. I usually stay clear of yellow but I knew it a safe enough colour as said person used another yellow tie from time to time. Although I could've picked a subtle yellow tie, I couldn't resist picking one which featured purple horses running across it. At worst the person would give away the tie to a charity shop. At best, I get to say that I've actually put down money for a yellow tie with purple horses running across it.
Lately however, I've had to buy more and more ties. No biggie you think but the ties had to be serious ties; sombre-looking ties; in my mind, boring ties. I found myself completely out of my depth.
The few serious ties I thought looked 'sufficiently serious' was given 'looks-like-carpet' status by Lay San. That, or "Only grandfathers wear that." The ties we eventually chose were much appreciated and in heeding Yin Soon's advice to look for subtle designs, I ventured again into the tie world last night and this morning and came away with 3 purchases.
Fingers crossed, however subtle it may be, I hope my beneficiaries don't find stripes boring or lacking in personality.