I have been holding this secret in for a while now. From time to time I have thought about writing about it, but feared that it was beyond forgiveness. Two things made me change my mind. First, commenter Hollywood Argyle asked me how I make a four-in-hand knot work being 5’8″. The second was a comment made by Paul Winston of Winston Tailors and Chipp Neckwear fame.
Hollywood Argyle is correct in that when I tie a four-in-hand knot at the correct length (example of the correct length above) that it will often result in the tail hanging far beyond the blade. My shameful secret is that I have addressed this issue on countless occasions by simply taking a pair of scissors, cutting the tail to a length that works, and crudely sewing it back together. I wanted to share this technique as I am sure that others have had the same problem, but I held my tongue.
Last week there was a thread about shortening ties in which Mr. Winston said that he offered to shorten his customers ties for free with a blunt cut. As soon as I read that phrase I had a feeling that he was referring to the same technique that I described above. A message from him confirmed this to be true.
Blunt cut is exactly what you are doing. I cut it straight across and then bind the end. If one wants me to re-cut the end to a point, there is a $15 charge – it takes about 1/2 hour to re-cut and fold the edges and tipping under and finish the “point”. Almost all my customers who request shortening choose the “free blunt” – when you feed the narrow end through the label and pin it to your shirt no one can see how it is finished. You can tell your followers they need not worry about the “clothing police” if they do what you do.”
There you have it. The blunt cut is a quick and easy way to shorten a tie. It is also free when done at home (or if you are a lucky enough to be a customer of Paul Winston’s!). You can also re-cut the end to a point as Mr. Winston noted. It feels good to get this one off my chest.
I couldn’t do a post on ties with help from Paul Winston without highlighting his wonderful selection of ties that won’t break the bank (everything’s under $60) over at Chipp Neckwear. He makes a great product at fantastic price point. They are also my preferred width of 3.25″. I have been thinking about this Teal & French Blue Shantung tie one for the summer.
I have often been described as consistent, dependable, and reliable. I am proud of these traits as they are a big part of who I am, but…yes, there is a but. Often these characteristics translate as predictable. While I myself am a big fan of predictable I also aim to please. Cue the tie.
I purchased the tie above over a year ago and it has hung on my tie rack ever since waiting for the day it gets to see some action. When I first saw the tie I was enamored with the playful pattern presented in a deep rich red made of wool challis. I knew that it was a little outside of my comfort zone, but I was drawn to it and it cost me around $10 on the second hand market if I remember correctly.
Last month I woke up with the intent of wearing it. I just wasn’t sure how. I tried a solid blue OCBD first. Something didn’t look quite right. I thought that a white OCBD would work, but I have an aversion to white shirts outside of formal settings where they are required. My trusty blue university striped OCBD was just right. It provided the right mix of pattern and color to serve as a backdrop for this bold tie.
I learned a few things about this tie during its first outing. The first is that it is a beautiful tie. I admired it all day long. I also learned that it would look best with my navy blazer and grey flannels. There is something about it that is a little too something for chinos. I also thought that if I had that camel hair sport coat (or any tan colored sport coat) that I have been lusting after that they would look terrific together.
The moral of this story is to not be afraid to wear something that you would not normally wear. You could surprise yourself and find a new look to add to your repertoire. At the same time, remember that you are creating your look so look the way that you want to look. I am often known for wearing the same thing day in and day out. I am more than okay with that. I know that it is one of my strengths.
I have had quite a few requests for me to demonstrate how I knot my tie. Well this week I relented. I took a video as I got ready for work last week. There are two things that I want to note about this video. The first is that I exaggerated the way in which I ensure a dimple in my tie during the recording, I do this by pinching the tie between my thumb and middle finger while using my index finger to shape the dimple. This second is something that I only learned after watching the video myself which is my four-in-hand knot form could use some work.