They say the key to effortless style is nonchalance, and for me, that is best captured in the tie knot, so what better way to learn how to tie a tie, then from the very best.
I find myself looking at tie knots more than anything else (watch first, then tie knot) which prompted this snapshot of how to tie a tie properly. I find the subtle differences fascinating and I’m intrigued by each individual process and the resulting knot. Being such a stickler for the ‘not so perfect’ knot I find myself leaning towards ties made from material I know deliver a great knot. Silk for me is the undisputed champion delivered in various ways. Untipped, hand-rolled silk examples are my absolute favourite, followed by 5 fold grenadine. I also enjoy tying knots with 7 fold silk, linen blends and cashmere. What I tend to steer clear of are silk knits, textured silks (Shantung), cotton and wool because I’m not a fan of bulky knots and I like to tie some variation of the double four in hand.
The point I’m getting to is, every tie is different and not every tie is suited to the type of knot you’re used to tying. I’ve been a little narrow-minded about my approach to the thicker, textured materials because I had my technique so down pat, so I started searching for a bit of inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of inspiration in the Aussie menswear scene, guys like Drew at M.J. Bale, I Am Oliver James, Christian Kimber, all tie killer knots but unlike a watch, it’s hard to ask your mate to undo his tie and show you his tie-tying technique. What I ended up coming across was Tie-Tying with The Armoury – the whole team including Antonio Liverano and Salvatore Ambrosi showing how to tie a tie with their individual techniques on video. Interestingly, each is as unique as the next.
Tying your tie is very personal and it’s evident from this series of videos that there are many ways it can be done. What I’ve found useful from the videos is how I’ve adapted my technique for different materials. Watching Alan See tie his knot led me to re-evaluate my approach to tying thicker ties. In the past, I’d pull the front blade down directly over the top of the knot and tighten, like I did with my silk ties, but there was too much friction from the material and I always hated the resulting knot. Alan introduces the front blade from the side of the knot, pulling it down gradually and then tightening it, and watching him has revolutionised my technique when tying knots with thicker ties. It doesn’t sound like much but this slight change in the knotting process has seen me wearing ties in my collection I’d pretty much written off.
These guys aren’t tying complicated knots, in fact, all of them are just variations of the standard four in hand, but they all do it differently. I’m not saying that you should start from scratch, but you might find a small change in your technique may have a huge difference on your knot and consequently how you tie it across your collection of ties. So gents get a tie out and head to The Armoury Tie-Tying page and start having a muck around with how to tie a tie because like everything, practice makes perfect.
Oh and let’s all start to talk about tying our ties more, it’s an art in itself and we should be discussing it.
Also check out Alan’s tumblr where all these images are from (these dudes are about as on point as it gets).