Boys' Neckties: Knots

Figure 1.--Here we see an unidentified American teenager from Harriburg, Pennsylvania. He wears a necktie with a Windsor knot, although we are not sure what it was called at the time. Note the wing collar, often worn with the Windsor knot. The boy's suit jacket has high-set rather large lapels. The cabinent card is undated, but looks like it was taken in the 1890s to us.

There are several standard ways to knot a tie. These include 1) the half-Windsor (sometimes called the double Widsor) knot, 2) the Windsor kot, the four-in-hand knot, and the Pratt knot. The four-in-hand knot (which dates back to the days of the coach and four in England, when the men on top of the coach would knot their ties in this manner to prevent them from flying in the wind while they were driving). It is the most common necktie knot. We note an unidentified American boy wearing one about 1850. The Windsor knot, purportedly invented by the Duke of Windsor (Edward VIII), though he later disclaimed the invention. It was surely popularized by him in the 1930s. In fact it was widely worn in the 19th century. We note the Duke's grandfather (Edward VII) wearing it. This was most common with adults, but we do see boys wearing it. A good example is an American boy, Joe Meyer, we think in the 1870s. We are not yet sure what it was called at the time. A simpler version is called the half-Windsor. The Pratt knot is a very recent creation. It was invented in 1989. Though many men considered good dressers use the Windsor or half-Winsdor knot, it has always struck many as giving too bulbous an appearance--simply too large. It was never adopted at British schools or by most American boys. The great majority of men and boys simply do not think they look good wearing this knot. There are a few notable exceptions, particularly Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. In any case, the Windsor knot only looks good when worn with a spread collar, which is how the Duke of Windsor originally wore it. The preference of most people wearing neckties is the standard four-in-hand knot. It is the smallest and most precise of the various necktie knots, and it has been the staple of the natural-shouldered, British-American style of dress since World War I. Fashion experts caution that whether one chooses the four-in-hand, the Windsor, the half-Winsdor, or the Pratt knot, it should be tied so that there is a dimple or crease in the center of the tie just below the knot. This forces the tie to billow and create a fullness that is the secret to its proper draping and a smart look.


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Created: 2:27 AM 2/2/2009
Last updated: 2:27 AM 2/2/2009