Sunday, 28 February 2010

101 easy ways to dress better. No 7: A properly tied tie

If the best way to judge a man is by his shoes, then the second-best way is probably by the knot of his tie. I'll assume that anyone reading this knows enough to keep their tie tied and the top button on their shirt done up, and I'll not go into those points in detail. However, what is worth mentioning is choosing the best knot for your collar, and your tie, and avoiding the sort of knots that will make you look like a used-car salesman.

There are lots of different ways of tying a tie but really only two that are worth considering: the half-windsor and the four-in-hand. The full windsor is, famously, only worn by cads. Looking like a cad might not be such a bad thing, but looking like a used-car salesman is, and the massive knot created by a full-windsor suits noone.

Four-in-hand. Pint-in-hand.

The four-in-hand creates a relatively small and asymmetric knot, which may well be why people, especially if they are wearing a cut-away collar, tend to avoid it in favour of larger knots. That's really not necessary though, as the idea that a knot needs to 'fill' the collar is generally nonsense, and a slightly asymmetric tie will actually look better than a perfect, neat, triangular knot.

If your tie is made of especially thin material, or you really think a larger knot will suit you better, then a half-windsor is a reasonable alternative. Just never, never, anything bigger.


  1. The kid at forgot the dimple. NEVER forget the dimple! As you tighten the knot, you kind of reach in with your finger and squeeze the material together, creating that gathered in "pucker" or dimple directly under the knot. It's a small but absolutely crucial detail: people don't notice exactly WHAT is different or why they like your tie, but you'll notice you get more compliments when you finish with a dimple.

  2. A very good point, and well explained. The dimple is one of those things that makes a huge difference without, as you say, people necessarily realising why. I was intending to cover this in another post (and still will), as I have committed to getting 101 points, so I have to split them up a bit!

  3. Good advice.

    As mentioned somewhere...pinch don't plump.


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