Dear Simon,

Ties and their lengths are causing me some problems.
I have bought several ties recently, all from Drake’s, but realise that they are slightly too long. Being 5’6’’ I know I am not the tallest of peopl but then, many I see on the streets are also my size. So why are ties made to a length that it seems is too long for the majority of people?

I then decided to have a shorter tie made at Drake’s to their ‘shorter’ length and, believe it or not, this seems too short. Needless to say this also costs extra.
I then came across the great videos posted by The Armoury about men tying their ties. I was amazed how everyone used a different way of doing their tie up, but what was not shown was the length against the trouser waist or indeed jacket. As some of them only did a ‘once around’ their ties surely must be too long too!

Then I came across the little book ‘85 ways to tie a tie‘ which whilst great, does not help with length. I also noticed that some of the knots, although creating a lovely knot, must surely be based on the fabric used. Too thick a fabric will lead to a giant knot. What I want to achieve is the look of a small, tight knot that then flares out to create the front blade. Furthermore, everyone advocates the four in hand, which I use, but should one also use other knots to create interest in the knot itself?

Some advice would be appreciated.

Regards, Bradley

Hi Bradley,

You’ve certainly been thinking about this in great depth. Good man.

The length of ties can be frustrating. Everyone is a different height and most ties only come in one. Unless you take the bespoke route and get the perfect length, you have two options.

One is to keep the front and back blade the same length when you tie it (as many like to do) and live with the fact that the whole thing will look a little long. The other is to keep the front blade the right length (tip somewhere on the waistband of the trousers) and have the back blade even longer. That can either hang outside the trousers or be tucked in. As I’m sure you’ve noticed from The Armoury and other sites, many men make either style look good. (You may even be tall for Italy…)

You can also adjust the knot of course, going once more round with the four in hand, or opting or a half or full Windsor, both of which use more silk. But if you are as fanatical about the knot being right as you suggest, you might find that just as frustrating.

These knots do indeed depend on the material of the tie, particularly the more complex ones. Most things work with a four in hand though. And I don’t see any need to vary the knot.

The way the tie sits is mostly to do with the collar, not the tie. It helps if the tie is tight, of a material with some texture and so friction, is tied to have at least one dimple, is set as high as possible in the collar and is tightened horizontally. But in the end the collar is the most important thing.

This is a whole post in itself, and can take a long time to get right with a shirtmaker, but many of us spend a lot of time trying. It’s one reason men tend to have only one shirtmaker, but several tailors.



Photo: Luke Carby