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85 Knots: Introduction and Day 1 – The Oriental

by Paul Creech on Wednesday, January 4, 2012

As a tie owning adult, I have tied my ties for years by a combination of muscle memory and frantic last-minute internet searches. Then I downloaded the iphone app How to Tie a Tie (free).  The app comes with step-by-step instructions on a dozen tie knots, with the ability to in-app purchase some more obscure knot instructions.  The St. Andrew (Day 12) has become my favorite tie knot from this app, but it’s time to branch out. For the next 85 tie-wearing days I will be wearing a different knot each day. My resource for this will be Thomas Fink’s Encyclopedia of Tie Knots, which sources 85 Ways to Tie a Tie.  I will give instructions for each tie based upon my own experiences, for actual instructions I will indicate whether the knot is included in the free iphone/ipad app or just in the encyclopedia.  I am told there are only really four ways to wear pocket squares, so I had better make this count.

Today’s knot is the Oriental or Simple knot. I give it a difficultly level of 2.75/5.0, mostly because it is difficult to get the length right on a knot that uses so little fabric and is unbelievably quick to tie–leaving you feeling like you missed a step.  I used a new tie, and it is thicker than most I own.  Because of the big tie knot styles trending on ESPN (I’m talking to you Merril Hodge), tie makers have begun making thicker ties to give the big knot look while maintaining the right length.  Big knots use a lot of fabric, leaving you looking foolish when you remove your jacket to reveal a tie that goes short of your belly button (Still talking to you Merril Hodge).  The thick tie compensates for using the smallest knot, and gives it a larger look than I expected.  This is an asymmetrical knot, but I like the look of it.  I have a few short ties, that I think were intended for use by children but were gifted to me, which I think would do well with this knot.  It is a very casual knot, so I went open button on the shirt.  A good knot for the skinny tie look, and a must for the hipsters in your life. Apparently called the Oriental because it is very common in Asia and used in uniformed schools over there.

Drawbacks: The knot can get loose, enlarge, and start to travel down your shirt.  To combat this you have to tighten it every now and then.  I was purposely wearing it a little loose and it turned into a necklace early in the afternoon.

Instructions: 1) It begins inside out with the seam visible, which can be disconcerting. 2) Slip the big one behind the little one so that if you are holding each end, the little one is front. 3) Wrap the big end over the little one, to create the face of the knot (seamless side out).  4) Tuck the big end behind the knot bring it down behind the face of the knot.  Alternate instructions available on How to Tie a Tie (free) and  Thomas Fink’s Encyclopedia of Tie Knots.

The dimple is optional. Most days I work the dimple out due to an old Marine Corps habit, but I left it in to offset the casualness of the rest of the look.  It is Monday after all.

A knot so easy it will take you a half a dozen tries to get it right.

Tie by Ralph Lauren. Shirt by Express.


Paul Creech
Paul Creech is an attorney living in Houston, Texas. Paul has baccalaureate degrees in philosophy and political science from Utah State University, and a juris doctorate degree from Houston College of Law. He is a former U.S. Marine. Besides the law, Paul's interests include sports, art, and food.

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