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Opinion: Some people ask why; he asks, why knot?

Originally published March 15, 2007.

The big thing in fashion news these days is necktie knots. I’m no slave to fashion (not even a hired hand, my friends and associates will tell you) but I do wear a tie once in a while, so it caught my attention when it was reported that many of the elegantly dressed male actors who attended the Academy Awards were wearing thicker ties with fatter knots.

This has created a stir among tie wearers, yours truly included. The thicker ties have been an issue since tie makers started turning them out a couple of years ago. It used to be ties were made of a single piece of colorful, patterned material, usually silk, with a plain lining, also usually of silk. These creations were no trouble to tie, once you got the hang of the once-over-and-through knot, first popularized by President Kennedy, who usually dressed like a window mannequin at Abercrombie and Fitch.

But now come thicker ties and Windsor knots.

The Windsor knot was popularized by the Duke of Windsor, who was known for abandoning the British throne to marry American divorcee Wallace Simpson, and for wearing great clothes. According to The Wall Street Journal, many of whose readers wear ties, the duke didn’t name the knot after himself, but simply tied it to best display the ties he had hand-made for himself. Others followed suit.

The Windsor takes some trying, and if you try it with the new, thicker ties, which are of heavier construction than older ties, you are in for a tussle. I know. I’ve tried it and don’t always get it right.

If you see me wearing a tie with a knot bigger than my heart, that’s why.



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