Tying yourself in knots: a beginner's guide to ties

03 February 2014

bespoke, tailormade or made-to-measure suit is the perfect jumping-off point for any man looking to cut a dapper figure at work, at a wedding or at another formal event. It’s what you do with your suit, however, that helps to make the transition from smart to stylish, and as far as accessories are concerned the most fundamental item in your formalwear wardrobe will be the tie. It’s amazing how many men have got this far in life without learning how to wear their ties properly; what type should you choose for a specific occasion, and what knot should you employ for each item? Fortunately, your friends at Hemingway Tailors are here to help out.

Tie types

There are numerous varieties of tie one can wear with a bespoke tailored suit, but we’re only going to cover those that are the most popular and, in all honesty, the most sensible. Take a look:

 

 

  • Bow tie - The bow tie is an old favourite and has been with us since the 17th century. Today, you can either purchase ‘freestyle’ bow ties where you must tie the bow yourself, ready tied varieties that attach to your collar using   band and clip-ons that dispense with the band altogether. Bow ties are considered more formal than standard neckties, and are best employed at weddings, dinner parties and formal drinks events.
  • Necktie - The necktie is the current most popular item to be worn with suits in both formal or more informal environments, although the history of the garment dates back to the early 17th century where it was first worn by Croatian mercenaries. Neckties can be worn in a number of different styles and tied in numerous ways, making them popular for work, business and social events.
  • Skinny - The skinny tie is a variation of the standard necktie, and first became popular during the mod years of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Skinny ties have narrower bands than the standard variety and rarely taper along the length. Skinny ties are suitable for informal occasions but not for more formal environments such as a wedding.
  • Cravat - The Cravat is a form of folded handkerchief, often fashioned in silk, worn around the neck of a tailored suit. Cravats have fluctuated in and out of fashion since first rising to prominence in 1660, enjoying a renaissance in Victorian England and again during the ‘60s. Through cravats aren’t often worn today, they can prove a stylish informal addition to a well-cut tailored suit.
 
 
Knot varieties

While there is only one means of tying a bow tie, there are numerous knots one can employ to keep a necktie in place and looking sharp. Many necktie knots are unnecessarily showy and needn’t be attempted, however - we’ve listed the only knots you’ll ever need below.

  • Four-in-hand - The four-in-hand knot is the simplest of all the necktie knots to master - you may even have employed this technique during your school days! Make sure that you always centre the knot once you’re done and ensure that the knot is the right size: not too big, not too small.
  • Windsor - The Windsor is a more complex knot than many alternatives, but makes up for it by appearing elegant and sophisticated when executed correctly. A slightly more formal look than a four-in-hand knot, the Windsor knot should appear broader than its equivalent, forming a visible crease in the top of the tie itself.
  • Half Windsor - The half Windsor is known as the Windsor’s ‘little brother,’ and with good reason. Both easier to tie and producing a daintier knot than the Windsor, the half Windsor is ideal for ties of a lighter fabric.

Thanks to our brief guide you should now be an expert on all things tie - all you need is a bespoke suit to match! Take a look at our made to measure tailoring service or contact us for more information.

 

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