True Confessions of a Trad: The Blunt Cut

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.
Khaki SurcingleHollywood 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.

“Hello Jerrod,
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.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

13 Comments on "True Confessions of a Trad: The Blunt Cut"

  1. Fading Fast says:

    Jerrod, normally, comments here are responsive to your sartorial posts – not this one. Instead, this highlights your impressive writing skills. Your opening paragraph is a masterful build of suspense. It exemplifies how introductions should, IMHO, jump right in. None of this, “today we are talking about,” or “I just wanted to write about…” nonsense like a tenth-grade English paper; instead, the first sentence pulls you in – who doesn’t want to hear about a long held secret?

    You increase the tension by acknowledging your concerns about fear and forgiveness, but then, throttle back a bit by referencing what changed your mind. By the end the first paragraph, the reader is hooked and he has to read the next paragraph to know what the secret is / what you are fearful of / why Hollywood Argyle and Paul Winston have forced out this secret.

    If I taught a writing course, I would use your first paragraph as a masterful example of how to draw your reader in, keep him interesting and build anticipation. Well done Sir.

  2. CAY says:

    Teal? Don’t let Muffy hear you say that!

    I like that tie, too. If I had more occasions to wear ties, I would definitely be interested in buying it. I don’t wear ties too often, though have a slew of great ties from J Press, Brooks Bros, and PRL. I also like the Chip dog ties. We have fox terriers and I would love a tie with their image on it. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to justify buying more ties.

  3. gamma68 says:

    Interesting post. I wonder if tying a double four-in-hand would solve the problem? It seems this would take care of excess tie length without resorting to snipping the tie with scissors. Just a thought, and I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried this tying method.

  4. oxford cloth button down says:

    Gamma – I have tried the double four-in-hand. I didn’t like it. I lost a lot of control over the knot size. This is a much better solution for me.

    Fading Fast – Thank you very much. I often cringe at my own posts so I appreciated the comment immensely.

  5. Steve L. says:

    Oh, my: even if I needed a shorter tie I just know I could never bring myself to do this. Too OCD, I suppose

  6. Hollywood Argyle says:

    A-ha! I knew there was something going on! Thanks for sharing your secret.

  7. Francophone says:

    A word of warning to others who may attempt this method:
    Don’t cut all of your ties to the same length; take the thickness of the material into account.

  8. HerrDavid says:

    Interesting post, OCBD! Being of a shorter stature myself, I had often wondered about your perfect tie lengths. I figured it was because most of your ties are vintage, which can often be found at shorter lengths than the standard lengths of today. I would never have thought of a “blunt cut”!

    For what it’s worth, my “solution” is simply to tuck the tail into my trousers. With a jacket, it’s hardly noticeable.

  9. Hollywood Argyle says:

    So—how long are most of your shortened ties?

  10. oxford cloth button down says:

    Hollywood – Good question. I am not sure. I usually cut 2-3 inches of material off. To Francophone’s point, I do know they all vary based on material/construction.

    Also there are ties that I do not have to cut at all. With these ties the tail hangs even with the blade.

  11. Woofboxer says:

    Highly recommend Chipp neckties, especially the ancient madder range, I have found that they deliver the ideal quotient of ‘tieability’ i.e. not too flimsy and insubstantial but not too thick and bulky. The cloth and construction are second to none and the prices compare very favourably with BB and J Press. I just wish he would do some repp stripes.

  12. Richard says:

    Jerrod, did you ever try just tucking the tail into your trousers? I’m 5’9″ and it works.

  13. oxford cloth button down says:

    Richard – I have not. I have thought about it though. One reason is that I am often in wearing a tie in only shirt sleeves in my office due to temp issues. What advantage do you think that it offers over my solution?

I would like to hear from you