How do I get that cool dimple in my tie?
October 27, 2005 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Help me tie my tie correctly.

How do I get that great dimple that goes in the center of one's necktie, just below the knot? With some of my ties, it sort of forms itself as I pull the long end of the tie through the knot and tighten it all up; other times, I just get a big honkin' mess.
posted by shallowcenter to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, the dimple either happens, or it doesn't. You might have to get used to the fact that some days will be dimple days, and other days won't. (Personally, I have to wonder why you would want the dimple at all, from a dress-for-success standpoint. You rarely see the dimple at the CEO level, where they favor the forward thrust of the lower part of the knot. My guess is that when they see the dimple in their mirror in the morning, they stick their thumb up under the back of the knot and push it out. Nice and assertive.)
posted by Faze at 12:25 PM on October 27, 2005

Tie the knot like you normally do but leave the tie hanging off your neck a little, like the cool kids from those eighties movies. The trick to the dimple is in the last few centimeters of the knot tightening.

Press the tip of your index finger in the middle of the tie, just below the knot. Guide your fingertip up the tie as you tighten the knot, squeezing the sides of the tie with your thumb and middle finger on either side of your index finger.

Adjust as needed.
posted by viewofdelft at 12:27 PM on October 27, 2005

Ties frequently have to "trained" such that they fold and create such a dimple (i.e. adjusted and carefully tied to create this dimple over a period of time such that the tie naturally forms the shape). I've read on this in a number of sartorial guides but of the top of my head I don't recall any specific tips for this other than make an effort everyday to get the tie they way you want it and over time it will naturally shape itself.
posted by Heminator at 12:27 PM on October 27, 2005

viewofdelft is exactly right about the technique. I find that sometimes even that doesn't work for some ties depending on their width and thicknes. Sometimes using different knots can help. I like the Mens Wearhouse tie-tying tutorials on four of the most popular knots, although I'm sure there are better ones out there somewhere.
posted by brain_drain at 12:31 PM on October 27, 2005

Experience, experience, experience. If you have a favorite television program -- drama, sitcom, football, whatever -- practice tying knots while you watch. There isn't a "trick." The only way to get it right is through experience.

There are lots of factors you'll learn if you wear ties frequently -- a favorite knot, which types of fabric work best, what length you want, etc. You just have to keep doing it.
posted by cribcage at 12:32 PM on October 27, 2005

to piggyback from the question (and the men's wearhouse link) what is the "best looking" know? I usually tie the half-windsor as I find it quick and easy. I'm eager to go home and try the four in hand et al. IANWATC
posted by AllesKlar at 12:41 PM on October 27, 2005

A short book of selections: 85 Ways To Tie a Tie.
posted by Gyan at 12:42 PM on October 27, 2005

The above advice is mostly on the right track. The dimple is preferred, and looks much better when properly done. As for which knot to use - some ties will look good with one type of knot instead of another. I use a half-windsor on most of my ties, but I have a few that need a full windsor to look right.

As for technique, practice and go slowly. If you take your time, you can back up the process a little if you see the knot isn't coming out right. Ease the tie into each position.
posted by MrZero at 12:51 PM on October 27, 2005

Not easy to describe but here is how to acheive the dimple. First proceed as normal:

1. The wide end of the tie should extend about 12" below the narrow end when slung over your neck. Cross the wide end over the narrow.

2. Turn the wide end back underneath the narrow end.

3. Continue by bringing the wide end back over in front of the narrow end again. (It should be twisted around the narrow end now.)

4. Pull the wide end up and through the loop around the neck.

5. Hold the front of the knot loosely with your index finger and bring the wide end down through the front loop.

6. Remove your finger and tighten knot to collar by holding the narrow end and sliding the knot up.

Slide it slowly. It's during the tightening that the dimple should appear. Use both hands and pull with equal pressure so that an even dimple appears. When it does appear stop and slide the knot gently up until tight minding not to "dislodge" the dimple. The dimple will start to appear naturally after you have worn it for a while.
posted by fire&wings at 1:05 PM on October 27, 2005

In my experience, the dimple either happens, or it doesn't

yes and no: it really depends on the tie's fabric -- how thick the silk really is. the thicker/richer the silk, the easier it is to achieve the dimple
posted by matteo at 1:20 PM on October 27, 2005

AllesKlar, there's really no "best" knot. In general, the four-in-hand works better with a shirt with a straight collar, while the half and full Windsor knots work better with a spread or English spread collar. Windsor knots are also more appropriate with somewhat wider lapels.

You also have to consider your own size. For example, since I am neither tall nor wide, I can't pull off a full Windsor. It would look ridiculous. But for the right frame, it could be ideal.

Personally, the half Windsor is my personal favorite, though I still find the four-in-hand easiest to tie (if not the easiest to keep in place).
posted by lackutrol at 1:45 PM on October 27, 2005

First of all: four-in-hand.

Secondly: After you have formed the complete knot, but before you begin cinching it, reach down the top of the knot with one finger and thumb and grab the descending part of the tie that you just put down there. Pull it up a bit; make it left-right symmetric (I find it's usually slid over to the left.) THEN form the dimple with one finger, just below the knot. Then cinch up. If during the cinching process the dimple disappears or doubles, uncinch and repeat.

This is very important during the first couple of times you tie your tie; after that, it has 'learned' to have a dimple in it at the right spot.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:49 PM on October 27, 2005

The best tie tutorial ever can be found here. (With pictures!)
posted by rentalkarma at 2:18 PM on October 27, 2005

Try this Lots of good information and videos.

I found this dimpler tool while perusing the tie-a-tie site.
posted by plokent at 6:29 PM on October 27, 2005

Lots of good advice here. I find the dimple much easier to achieve with a half windsor knot - because the knot comes down into more a point, there is more "pinch" to hold the dimple in place. That's how it seems, anyway. I also think this tends to make the knot look better than a four in hand - and a half windsor isn't so huge that it will dwarf the rest of you and make you look like a dressed-up Premiership footballer. But it often does come down to the style of collar you are wearing.

Now you can move on to tying your own bow tie...

On a sidenote does anyone else notice school children wearing ties which they've managed to turn into quasi-cravats - huge great knot, very little length of tie dangling down other than the widest bit at the end? This is obviously in vogue in south London schools at the moment (I expect teachers aren't particularly amused) but does it happen elsewhere?
posted by greycap at 12:27 AM on October 28, 2005

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