Block stripes can also have more than two colors: The simplest ribbon stripe is one with a repeating pattern of single stripes of one color, with navy and red (this time, since there's a background color, either red stripes on navy or vice-versa) again being probably the most classic: Ribbon stripes can also be in different colors: Ribbon stripes also come in many other variations, including -- but not limited to -- double stripes of the same color; different-colored stripes of varying widths; or widely-spaced stripes, where the background color is more prominent: In my opinion, the only rep tie that's inappropriate (for anything, other than looking like an idiot) is what I'd call the Amjack Stripe (we'll discuss the Amjack look another day). This stripe is unfortunately popular today, and is typical of the kind of ugly ties usually seen in department stores now. The Dr. Wilson character on House is fond of this style: I guess it's hard to articulate exactly what's wrong with a tie like this. But it's not a traditional tie style (which go back more than 100 years); the colors are usually "off" somehow, as with this one, or in combinations that don't go well together; and the number and size of the stripes are almost dizzying and make the tie look too "busy." Avoid ties like this at all costs.
Moving on, stripes don't always have to be diagonal, of course. Other than rep ties, one may find ties with either horizontal or vertical stripes. Horizontals are fine, although they're unusual enough that they may attract attention to you. I've rarely seen a vertically-striped tie. I don't know that I'd wear one, and anyone who does better be a man who's really into clothes because such a tie would require some very sophisticated pattern mixing.
Rep ties are the foundation of a classic tie wardrobe, and any man would do well to add as many of them as possible to his collection.
All photos courtesy of The Tie Bar.