Do you know how to tie a tie like a Classic Sir?
A man ties a tie. A gentleman, a Classic Sir ties a tie. Let’s start off with the basics. You’re standing in front of your mirror, an untied tie draped around your neck; and suddenly you’re seven years old again and you might as well be deciding which wire to cut as the timer on the bomb ticks away. Your father walks in and with the deft dexterity of a magician, quickly ties your tie as he briskly explains what he’s doing. But it may as well have been a magic trick, because what hangs so perfectly from your neck now, this tie, has been magically transformed from the silk strings that you were just wearing.
There are very few things that have the power to make a grown man feel like a boy again so quickly, but standing in front of that mirror with an unraveled tie hanging off of you is definitely one of them. The skinny side goes in front first…wait…no the fat side. Over, under…through the rabbit hole…why is there a rabbit hole!? And now somehow you’ve made a noose around your neck and you are starting to lose oxygen in your brain.
So if you never really learned how to tie a tie because your dad did it and now your college roommate who majors in business and is always wearing ties for some reason does it for you, or you never wore one because you never had the occasion to, or because ties aren’t cool and you don’t want to look like some pencil necked square anyway (because apparently this is the 1950’s?) Listen up, because I, your humble valet, will guide you on how to tie a tie, then when we’ve got that down, I’m going to guide you on how to tie one like a Classic Sir.
Here’s a quick infographic on the basic Four in Hand knot:
The Four in Hand knot is a really great starting knot to tie. It’s simple, clean, easy, and not hard to accomplish in a rush on your way to an interview, or a date. Alright, good? Good. look at you all dapper, you just tied a tie!
While the Four in Hand is a good “base” knot that works well with most collars, I find it a bit vanilla, and while there’s nothing wrong with vanilla, a gentleman is prone to adding some sprinkles (jimmy’s for you weird east-coast folks) hot fudge, dare I say even a slice of some red velvet cake–is anyone else hungry, just me? ok, sorry–on top of that scoop of vanilla ice-cream to really make it stand out, and give it something to say.
What Your Knot Says About You (And What It Says To Someone Else).
This Classic Sir, your humble butler in all things gentlemanly prefers two knots that will provide you gentlemen with some versatility. We’ve got the Pratt Knot (sometimes known as the Shelby) and the Half-Windsor/Windsor. You can view and learn to tie them them, along with some others here:
As you can see both of these ties are going to give a larger knot than the Four in Hand and as a general rule should be paired with a wider spread collar–the Windsor especially. But we aren’t generals, we are gentlemen, and sometimes we have to break the rules to make a statement. I’ll still wear a Pratt with a button down collar, especially if it’s a more relaxed Oxford shirt. Depending on the width and material of the tie, I can usually get my Pratt knots even smaller than the Half-Windsor. Also notice that on the Pratt knot, you flip your tie around so the seam faces out.
Your tie, your cravat if you will, has a very important job. It speaks and it speaks before you usually get the chance to. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a man by his tie, and you should.
The Windsor knot is powerful, forceful. It speaks in a commanding, suave voice, like Don Draper after a few drinks; and it says: you are not a man to be trifled with. You’re not going to take anything lying down, and if you cross me, I may just show you my impression of De Niro in Raging Bull. Now, of course you would never really resort to violence because you, sir are indeed a gentleman (it should be noted here that fisticuffs against some drunken jerk who is being disrespectful to the fairer sex is not violence. It’s chivalry.) This knot works well with longer ties, and can even help you shorten a tie that is too long for you.
The Pratt knot is symmetrical if tied correctly–I know the infographic says otherwise, but I can get mine nicely squared away with a bit of finagling. with a medium knot size and best used on ties with light to medium fabrics. The symmetrical nature of the knot gives the air of properness. You’re neat and minimal, you like your gin with two ice cubes, and a thin slice of lime, and the gin had better be Bombay Sapphire, or Tanqueray. Sport the Pratt knot if you want to look sleek and efficient. I also like this one because you start with the tie inverted and that says some things too. Since only someone with an eye for knots is really going to know what you’re sporting, it gives you a playful secret. Like you, there’s more than just what you get at face value. You’re a machine, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have fun. Don this knot on ties that are shorter.
So now you gentlemen have three knots in your repertoires and can sport the knot that fits you, or alternate depending the occasion and the message you’re trying to send. Either way, you can now sport a tie like a true Classic Sir.
So to this I say, Cheers to you, good sirs.
About the Author: Parker Bonello