Elements of Classic Style and Culture in the American South
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I'm am often surprised to notice otherwise well-dressed men who display sloppily-knotted ties. It appears that they must tie a quick knot, cinch it up roughly and settle for the resulting mess.
Look at these photographs of the current and former leaders of the free world.
These photographs illustrate the sloppy knots that I despise. In fairness to President Obama, in most of the photographs I have seen of him he has an impeccably knotted tie. But you would think if you were getting your photo taken for the cover of the Rolling Stone that you could straighten your tie in the mirror.
I am a proponent of the dimple. Notice the photograph from Robert Talbott. See the symmetrical concave cavity below the knot? See how it adds shadow and dimension to the tie? This is the dimple.
To form a dimple in your tie, first tie a loose knot. Then place your index finger in the center of the tie below the knot. Using your thumb and middle finger pinch the fabric around your index finger to form the cavity. Continue to pinch the fabric firmly, but gently, while you tighten the knot with your other hand. Pay attention to the symmetry of the dimple and avoid any errant folds in the fabric. You may have to start over several times before you make it look right. You will find that ties have a memory and will dimple much easier after the first few wearings.
Alan Flusser in Dressing the Man wrote that the "triangular sector formed below the chin by the 'V' opening of a buttoned suit jacket constitutes the cynosure of a man's tailored costume." The knot of your tie falls squarely in the center of this sector. Avoid the sloppy knot. Embrace the dimple.