I recently took a job where the dress code is casual professional. What is that? It means that you can come in shirtsleeves (this means no jacket, but dress pants, and tie). So my very fashion conscious wife took me shopping. I found that nice clothing is expensive. I also found that my particular build, the shop guy called it trim athletic, is also very difficult to shop for. My waist to shoulder ratio combined with my chest diameter puts me in a unique category of man. I am strictly speaking of off the rack clothing. The last time a bought a suit it was tailor made, and, believe me, there is NOTHING in this world that fits or looks better than tayor made clothing.
I can not wear the suits and shirts that are typically sold for men that have my particular waist size. They don't fit me in the shoulders, and my chest pops buttons. I can not wear the suits and shirts that are typically sold for men with my shoulder and chest size. They are too large in the waist and I look like I am swimming in a lake of fabric.
What to do? The store we went to had custom altering at no charge. The solution was to buy the shirts that fit my shoulders and chest, then have the tailor remove excess fabric in the waist area. The result was pure magic. The wife really hit it out of the park.
With all of this nice new clothing I started to notice changes in behavior around me. A man with nice clothes and tie is treated very differently at all kinds of places that a man who walks in looking... well, looking like I typically like to look.
The clothes carry with them an ingrained reputation. Sales people pay much more attention to you, your opinion in conversation carries much more weight.
On top of all this I began to notice subtle differences in the way that others look at men dressed all basically the same. You have two men standing side by side one wearing high quality clothing that is tailored to fit well, the other wearing a shirt and slacks that he got from a discount store. The attention and credibility is immediately given to the man in the better clothing. Even if the man is of a lower work rank than the other poorly dressed man. The better dressed man is given the respect, and thought of as the "go getter."
I also noticed that if you stand two men together, wearing identical clothing, the only difference being the tie knot that they are using, the man with the tie knot that fits his shirt will be the one that gets the respect and thought of as the superior.
Tie knots have kind of fascinated me over the last few months. I knew how to tie what is known as the Half Windsor knot. It is a smaller asymmetrical tie knot.
Unbenounced to me, this knot is one of the four classic tie knots, the other three being the Four in Hand
The full Windsor
and the bow tie (you know what a bow tie looks like).
These three (the bow tie is almost comical in a business setting) are the knots that are recognized as being the best knots for a business setting. One that is making a big run is the Pratt knot. This knot is asymmetrical knot that is smaller than the full Windsor, yet larger than the half windsor or the Four in hand.
The tie knot should be large enough to cover the gap in between the two "wings" of the collar. A small gap (narrow collar)means a small knot, half Windsor, or the Four in hand. A large gap (spread collar) means a larger knot, full Windsor or the Pratt. The worst thing that can happen when wearing a tie is that the knot is too small for the collar. If you can see the part of the tie that goes around your neck, your knot is too small.
In my research I found that there are a ton of different knots. Right now the medium size knots are in vogue, with the larger knots, the full Windsor in particular, being associated with the super wide collars of the 80s and 70s.
According to some web sites, the classic tie knots are for everyday or business wear. In a social setting, you are supposed to want to make a bigger impression, so you use a more elaborate knot. If you want a good look at the elaborate tie knots, check out The Matrix movies. They have all kinds of funky knots in those movies. My personal favorite out of the Matrix and the super fancy world is the Atlantic knot. It is like a full Windsor knot turned inside out.
This knot is full of awesome.
There are many web sites out there for making tie knots. The problems I have run in to were that finding how to tie knots, depends mainly on you finding out what the name of the knot is. That is the hard part...
There is only one site that has virtually all the tie knots you could ever want... the problem is that the diagrams on how to tie the ties are awful.
Encyclopedia of Tie Knots
Brooks Brothers has some of the best animations on how to tie several knots:
Brooks Brothers Tie Knots