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85 Knots: Day 2 – The Four in Hand

by Paul Creech on Monday, October 3, 2011

The four in hand knot is the most common of all tie knots.  Having never worn it before it was rather surprising  for me to find out how common it is–or claims to be.  I guess I was taught a variation on the Windsor as a child and later in the Marines, and anything easier than 6 steps didn’t sound like a tie knot I could get behind.  After all, the harder something is to accomplish, the more difficult the challenge, the more it sucks, the more worthwhile the result must be, right?  But, since we don’t chisel on stone tablets we carve out of mountainsides, blacken our hands typing up a half dozen carbon copies on the old IBM electric, or carry around seat cushion sized CD books any more, I guess a slimmer and smaller knot could be alright (the ipod of knots if you will, right Tony?).  After I checked it out in the mirror for half an hour this morning I realized that Ryan Gosling and Prince William (two men that my wife seems to pay an extra bit of attention to) rock this knot.  I like that the knot uses very little fabric and so my small end of the tie (which I call the tail) comes out to be a good length and it can actually be fed into the piece of ribbon on the back of the big end (which I call Big Lucky Pancake Killer Duck Biscuit Boy).  I started the day without the dimple a la Prince William, but later saw Gosling in GQ and switched it up.

Adding a dimple is a simple task.  Using your right hand, pinch the tie where it comes out of the knot with your thumb and middle finger and push in on the middle of the tie just below the knot with your forefinger. Your thumb will act as an anchor, your forefinger will create the dimple, and you use your middle finger to keep the edges rounded by rolling it off the edge repeatedly and twisting your wrist to keep it all straight.  Some people find the dimple either bush-league untidy or ivy-league pretentious and prefer an unwrinkled flat roll.  If you tie the knot and it naturally has a dimple, just push it out from behind with the thumb of your right hand while flattening it with your forefinger and holding the knot secure with your left hand.  If you are left-handed, but lack talent to go with the artistic nature that your right-brained wiring is supposed to possess, I would just fake it and become a hipster or another hack critic.

Instructions for this knot are available from the Encyclopedia of Tie Knots and on the How to tie a tie (free) iphone/ipad app.  Knot difficulty is a 1.398/5.0, this maybe the easiest non-clip on tie knot to produce.  The four in hand produces a narrow, asymmetrical, but deep knot.  It looks smart, sharp, and I would highly recommend this tie knot for any shirt.  This knot is stylish enough to rock with even the widest collars, the widest ties, and can go from causal to formal faster than you can say tuxedo t-shirt.  There is a sophistication in this knot that it’s boxy Oriental (Day 1) cousin lacks.  If any knot can save the world from the fist sized big knot trend, then it is this elegant gem.

Tie by Express.  Shirt by Banana Republic.


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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