Ties 101

Submitted by krisna on Saturday 11th December 2010
In this article
  • How to tie the Four-In-Hand, the Windsor, the Half-Windsor, the Bow Tie and the Ascot.
  • How to fold a Pocket Handkerchief.
  • The anatomy of a tie.
  • Useful tie terms.
  • Tie care tips.
Ties 101

The tie -- Corporate America’s one tip of the hat to a man’s right to self-expression. Alas, with the exploding popularity of casual and business-casual offices, even this last vestige has been taken from the working man. In today’s world, even if a SharpMan wanted to learn more about the tie — where would he go? As usual, fear not: This issue’s SharpGrooming brings you the information inquiring SharpMen need to know about the creative noose around men’s fashion neck:

How to Tie the Four-in-Hand Knot:

How to Tie the Windsor Knot:

How to Tie the Half-Windsor Knot:

How to Tie the Bow Tie Knot:

How to Tie an Ascot Tie:

How to Fold a Pocket Square:

The Anatomy of a Tie:

Other Useful Tie Terms:

Ancient Madder — A technique used to artificially soften and "age" the look and feel of tie fabric.

Apron — The widest end of the tie. Usually the area where pizza grease first lands.

Ascot — A wide scarf originated by the British and worn with a wing collar shirt. Today, the ascot is worn with an open collar shirt by Englishmen, yachters, and the truly affected.

Bar Tack — A wide stitch on the back bottom of a tie connecting the body and pocket. Good quality ties always have a bar tack. Ties of the very best quality will have the bar tack sewn in by hand in a heavy yarn.

Bolo — A type of tie made of a thin leather strap clasped together by a sterling

silver ornament, often with a chunk of turquoise or other decorative element in the middle. Made popular by Americans in the southwest, but, according to one Texas SharpMan, about "30 years out of style." Sorry J.R. Ewing.

Bow Tie — A thin tie knotted with two loops (see How to Tie a Bow Tie Knot above). Derived from a French tie called a jabot, and more recently associated with Bond, James Bond.

Brocade — A type of heavy tie fabric with a raised design.

Club — A common tie design featuring many small, repeating animals, figures or objects.

Cravat — Another French neck-piece historically worn as a loosely-knotted scarf arranged into a bow. Cravat is also the generic French word for a tie. For more information, see A & E’s The Scarlet Pimpernell.

Foulard — A type of lightweight silk-weave tie fabric with a small printed motif.

Grenadine — A type of loosely-woven tie fabric of very high quality. Usually used for very formal ties.

Hand — A tie term used to describe the "body" or substance of a tie. A tie with good "hand" feels substantial and somewhat weighty.

Hand-Rolled — A form of tie construction requiring the hand-folding and stitching of the edges of fabric that produce the point of the tie. Ties of the best quality will be hand-rolled.

Hand-Slip Stitching — A form of tie construction where the shell and lining of the tie are sewn together by hand. Ties of the best quality will be hand-slip stitched.

Lining — An additional layer of fabric on the backside of a tie. Lining improves the draping and knotting of ties, in addition to "hand" weightiness.

Macclesfield — A type of rough-woven silk tie fabric featuring a small pattern throughout, typical of the tie silks produced in Macclesfield, England.

Ottoman — A cord-woven silk tie fabric of Turkish origin.

Paisley — A common tie design featuring printed or woven Indian-inspired patterns throughout. Most recently brought into and promptly out of fashion by the artist formerly known as Prince.

Peau de Soie — A type of heavy satin tie fabric with a thin diagonal rib.

Regimental — A type of corded tie fabric with a ribbed weave and diagonal stripes in the colors and width of a British regiment.

Repp — A type of corded tie fabric with a ribbed weave and diagonal stripes.

Satin — A smooth and heavy tie fabric woven mostly of silk.

Tips on Caring for Your Ties:

  1. Knot your ties lightly. Tight ties tend to wear the "skeleton" of the tie more easily.
  2. When removing your tie, don’t loosen it and pull it over your head. This strains the fabric of the tie. Instead, reverse the steps you took to tie it.
  3. Don’t wear the same tie every day. For starters, you’ll look like you never change your clothes — a professional no-no. Also, alternating your ties will give them a breather and minimize wear and tear.
  4. Hang all ties on a tie rack, one per peg, thereby allowing the fabric of the tie to dry and breathe between wearings. However, you may roll knitted or crocheted ties and store them in a drawer.
This article last updated on Thursday 9th February 2012
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