Gent Hints

# 21 – The Dimple

I completely understand that all gentlemen may not favor a sharply creased dimple residing in the middle of their necktie. Every gentleman has his own unique signature style. And of course a beautiful necktie will remain a beautiful necktie-regardless of whether or not a gentleman decides to embrace the finishing touch of a dimple. Nevertheless, I remain a staunch proponent of utilizing this perfectly placed cleft because I believe in the nuanced details that make a man well-dressed. Now, I know I have probably tackled this subject before, but at the behest of my father-in-law, I have decided to cover the topic once again. So, just how does a gent execute a distinctive dimple cascading down from a taut knot? Well, there are a few key factors that a gentleman should take into careful consideration.

First, your necktie’s fabric must be resilient and robust-nothing lightweight or flimsy. I am not suggesting that your necktie be excessively heavy. What I am suggesting is the material be sturdy enough to hold a crease. If your necktie cannot hold a secure knot; chances are it won’t hold a deep dimple. Second, you simply cannot expedite the knotting process. You just cannot hurry style. Allow yourself enough time to properly knot your necktie. Third, your technique has to be excellent. After you have formed your knot and you are beginning to pull the long end through the loop…stop there! Most men just pull the tie through haphazardly and tighten the knot. This is what you should be doing: As you pull down on the necktie to tighten; do so with your pointer fingers and thumbs. As you are pulling, you want to secure the sides of your necktie (with both pointers & thumbs) and fold the fabric slightly forward, thus making a small crevice in the material.

Wait, you are not done. Your necktie should be relatively loose around your collar. The key is to form your knot and dimple before you fully tighten your necktie around your neck. Carefully begin to shape your knot and dimple. The best way to achieve this is through the process of tightening & loosening your necktie until it is formed to your satisfaction. Give your knot a slight pinch to accentuate the dimple and you are good to go. The whole process sounds a bit meticulous, but it really does not take long once you have done it a few times. And once you have done it, it is like learning to ride a bicycle-you will never forget. Maybe in the future, I can take it to another level and actually shoot a demonstration video. Until then, I am available for house calls if you require further instructions. Just kidding.

#22 – The Slim Necktie

The slim necktie. The skinny necktie. The narrow necktie. No matter what title is selected, the trend toward the narrow width necktie has landed a permanent home in the the stylish gentleman’s wardrobe. When executed properly and correctly, a slim necktie can deliver poise and finesse to any fine ensemble. Now, being a brother of my size; a skinny necktie may not be in my best interest. However, numerous magazines are pushing the skinny necktie agenda. I have noticed a few things and would like to share with my slender brethren.

  • Stature– This is the crucial first step. It determines whether or not you are a candidate for a slim necktie. Now, it is certainly up to the gentleman’s discretion to decide if he looks great in a slim necktie. Word to the wise, if you are of the big & tall variety- steer clear.
  • Proportion– Your necktie should complement other stylish elements in your ensemble. Suit lapels should be slim. Your dress shirt should be a point collar or button-down. Wide lapels accompanied by generous spread collars clash not only with the gent’s svelte silhouette, but also his slender necktie. Keep it proportional.
  • Knot Technique– A simple Four-In-Hand will suffice. The brutal regimen of a Half Windsor or Windsor would be far too much for the diminutive necktie. There just is not enough material present to justify utilizing these knots. Keep it simple and leave the more pronounced knots for neckties with more heft.
  • Accessorize– Another trend that I have been noticing in fashion magazines is the return of classic accessories such as tie clips. Your tie clip should not burden your necktie. Due to its size (your necktie), it can be easily overwhelmed. Select a tie clip that is subtle. Modest. Discreet. No need for showy embellishments; your understated sophistication says it all.

#23 – The Half- Windsor

There is something truly remarkable about the meticulous magnificence of a properly executed Half-Windsor knot. Now, the knotting process can be easily discovered by doing a simple search of the Internet; so I won’t bore the audience with any detailed knotting instructions from start to finish. There exists a myriad of videos and in-depth information that will assist the gentleman in his necktie knotting endeavors. Nevertheless, the gentleman may acutely notice that all knots are certainly not created equal.

Some Half-Windsor knots are utterly immaculate, while others could benefit from some much needed practice. I must humbly admit, my knot game is pretty wicked. However, I must state that I did not arrive at this point without painstaking repetition and composed patience. So, I will offer a few hints that the gentleman may not find in an instructional video online. Seriously guys, take your time. The key to the triangular symmetry of the Half-Windsor is taking your time to form the knot. Slow down. Through trial and error, I have perfected my Half-Windsor knot using these tactics:

  • Once your necktie is knotted and you are ready to draw it up to tighten…STOP!! Don’t tighten your knot just yet. At this point, your knot is probably looking a smidgen deformed. It does not look like a triangle does it? Nope. You need adjustments. Slowly draw your necktie up to your upper chest or clavicle region. Before you tighten the finished product, take the opposite ends of the necktie loop around your neck and give it a gentle tug. You will see a triangle start to form.
  • The gentleman should gently tug at the two points (corners) of the upside down triangle. Now, give a gentle tug at the singular point of your upside down triangle. This tug will slightly distort the triangular shape, but another tug of the upper two points will restore your triangle. Alternate these tugs at the given points until you are satisfied with the triangular shape.
  • Now it is time for the finishing touches. You now have your upside down triangular knot. With your thumb and index fingers, take the fabric at the apex and begin to make a crease or indentation; this is going to be your dimple. Remember, take your time.
  • Ensure that your dimple has some credible depth. Smoothly run your fingers along the sides of your knot to even out the fabric. Your necktie dimple should be flowing out of your upside down triangular knot. And for good measure, give that little area (where the dimple flows out of the apex) a nice pinch. Boom! Hopefully, your knot will resemble the picture above that was tied by yours truly.

Odds are you won’t get it the first time. Don’t sweat it. As I stated before, it is all trial and error. Sometimes I would be so dissatisfied with my knots, I would take them apart and start all over again. Now, maybe you won’t choose to be as anal as me. However, I do believe I have a little sartorial obsessive compulsive disorder going on. I have been known to set my alarm clock multiple times for absolutely no reason at all, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. A little obsessive with my knotting practice? Maybe. However, I might as well look great doing it.

#24 – Lapel And Necktie Width

If the average gentleman strives to earn the distinction of being reasonably well-dressed, he must assign studious attention to proportion and balance. The smallest consideration to detail could very well distinguish one from being effortlessly polished to requiring a little more effort. That being said, an area that is sometimes subject to neglect is the chest area on a gentleman’s suit jacket-particularly the proportional relationship between the lapel and necktie. Conventional, sartorial wisdom dictates that the two roughly share the same width. As this is not an exact science, a gentleman must afford special attention to this matter; popular men’s clothiers have taken liberty and slightly augmented both lapel and necktie-often unbeknown to the regular guy.

As contemporary silhouettes have undoubtedly slimmed down, so too has the width of the lapel on the suit jacket. Purchasing such a suit could result in a curious dilemma. If a gentleman has rejected the possibility of wearing a slim necktie, he may be stuck wearing a necktie bearing modest girth-thus resulting in an uneven visual balance. It would be wise for a gentleman to bring a necktie that represents the average width of his collection as he shops for a new suit. It would be unfortunate to purchase a killer suit; only to realize that the lapel is decidedly slimmer than your neck wear. However, no one is suggesting you venture into a men’s department armed with a ruler. With practice, a gentleman should be able to eyeball what is slim and what is not.

So, what is slim and what is regular? Well, a slim necktie would fall approximately between 2 and 2.25 inches in width. Your moderate, a contemporary favorite, width usually checks in between 2.5 and 3 inches. More traditional neckties are 3 inches and up, but no more than 3.5 inches across. Any bigger and we are swimming in lobster bib territory. Any smaller than than 2 inches across and you will encounter the challenge of being taken seriously. So, take a look into your closet, if you have not purchased a suit in the last five years, you will really want to inspect any new neckties you are ready to purchase. Conversely, you will want to take a quick look at your neckties if you are shopping for a new suit. Take note and shop accordingly.

9 responses

  1. Great information Glenn. I have read your blog for quite awhile. I live in Austin, Texas and everytime I see your site it makes me feel cool and daper.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Mr. Palmer, I feel privileged to have visited your website. This is an amazing collection of articles and tips for the urban gentleman. I particularly like the section entitled, ‘The Standard”, for it is not only necessary to dress the part, but act the part as well.

  3. Glen…like the tip about the vinegar….I did not know that. I live in Philly and typically won’t wear my leather bottom shoes in the bad weather for the very reason you mentioned. It’s cold here but dry and yesterday I did sport my Allen Edmonds distressed leather McTavish’s.

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