The Gentleman: Suiting Up

Unraveling the Tie Knot

I apologize for the delayed blog post.  This week, the Gentleman’s computer has been on the fritz and is currently awaiting repair at the shop.  Because of that, this post will probably be a bit shorter than usual.

A few weeks ago, I first introduced how dress shirts have different collar styles and spent a hefty amount of space discussing British spread collars. In that article I mentioned how the spread collar matched well with particular types of tie knots. For this article I want to write about how different tie knots complement the collar style of a gentleman’s dress shirt.

There are three common tie knots: the “Four-in-Hand”, the “Half-Windsor” and the “Windsor” knot. The essential difference between the three knots is their size. The “Four-in-Hand” is a very small, asymmetrical knot that’s sometimes referred to as a schoolboy knot, while the “Windsor” knot is significantly larger and more aggressive looking. A basic question that every Gentleman ought to consider: How aggressive does he want his tie knot to be? After all, the tie knot sits symmetrically between your shoulders and right below your face. It’s directly where the eye automatically focuses. If you’re looking for a dapper and traditional knot, the “Four-in-Hand” is a safe option. At the other end of the spectrum, a full “Windsor” knot shows power. The “Half-Windsor” is somewhere in the middle.

There’s another consideration when choosing a tie knot: the width of the collar of the shirt that is to be worn with the tie. Take a look at the photos below.

Notice how nicely a narrower “point collar” shirt fits with a “Four-in-Hand” knot. The smaller knot matches the narrower collar.

On the other hand, a narrow point collar just does not give enough space for a large Windsor knot.

Rather, a British spread collar above balances very well with a Windsor knot.

If you need help learning how to tie any of these three knots, check out these helpful YouTube videos: Four-in-Hand, Half-Windsor, Full-Windsor.

Next week, the Gentleman wraps himself in linen…

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Gentleman: Suiting Up

  1. Tie knot choice is so crucial! A seemingly small detail, but it speaks volumes…so nice to have the difference clarified!
    Can’t wait for the linen post – it’s that time of year again!

    • The Gentleman

      So glad that you liked the article. I definitely saw a lawyer in court today with a giant knot and a very narrow collar. Wasn’t working.

  2. This was a great intro

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  4. Justin

    I am clothier and pick up what you are laying down. I consult with my clients everyday on appropriate styles per client when it comes with suits, trousers, collars & cuffs, and ties. Everyone has different features and it truly does make a difference when you compliment those features.

    • The Gentleman

      Very true. I plan on talking about how to blance collar style with facial structure at some point in the future. Thanks for reading! PS Do you work in NYC or somewhere else?

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