Dimples are essential for a proper tie

Dimples are essential for a proper tie

Q. Where I work, almost no one wears a tie; but I still do. I almost never wear a jacket, but a tie is sort of my signature. Still, I have a question. Some of the guys I see wearing a tie these days  – TV newscasters and politicians – don’t seem to put a dimple in their ties when they make the knot. I thought you are supposed to. Does it depend on which type of knot you are tying. the symmetrical one, or the slightly crooked one? Who’s right?

A. Good for you! Congratulations for being an individual. I so strongly believe that wearing a tie is such an easy way to set yourself apart from (and above) the crowd, that I have trouble understanding why so few men do. 

I also agree that not only is the dimple right, but it makes all the difference between guys who are just nicely dressed and those who look great. 

For the uninitiated, the “dimples” in a tie (those little creases just below the knot) are essential to a well-knotted tie. I, too, notice their omission when I am watching TV. In fact, when I see a news man wearing a handsome tie that he has knotted without inserting the dimple, I find myself wanting to reach out through the screen and add the dimple to his tie. It is an additional touch that takes exactly two extra seconds to accomplish . . . but that adds so much to a polished appearance.

And, no, it does not depend on which of the two current knots you are tying, the half-Windsor, or the four-in-hand. Both knots look just a bit off if you forget to add the dimple at the end of the process. Which type of knot you tie is a matter of which shirt collar you prefer and the general overall effect you want your clothes to project.

HALF-WINDSOR KNOT – This symmetrical knot has a precise, triangular shape. It goes best with clothes that are a bit on the dressy and/or fashion-forward side and with shirts that either have a straight-point collar or a spread-collar. It’s called a half-Windsor because it is smaller than the now-dated full-Windsor knot. It is too bulky and too formal to work well with the more casual button-down collar shirts that are so beloved by men in academia. 

FOUR-IN-HAND KNOT – This somewhat askew, narrow knot that is smaller and less formal/dressy than the half-Windsor, is strongly associated with Ivy League, preppy dressing. Some men dislike it because it is not symmetrical; but then that air of nonchalance is a large part of its appeal for those who could not imagine wearing anything else. 

While many knowledgeable dressers vary the knot they wear depending upon what else they are wearing that day, most men are only comfortable with one or the other, and always choose it. What appears on television (and especially on the runway) is not always what’s correct . . .and your dimple in your tie is the way to go.

Please send your men’s dress and grooming questions and comments to MALE CALL: Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

Categories: Male Call