Thoughts on the double windsor knot, the sartorial equivalent of truck nuts

“Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot. It showed too much vanity. It was often the mark of a cad.”

– Ian Fleming, From Russia With Love

That’s a great quote. And it got me thinking about a topic I’ve had written on our white board for quite a while that I have been meaning to cover: why you should never tie your tie with a double windsor knot (a.k.a. the full windsor knot).

Why not? Let’s just lay it all out there: it is simply too big and too wide.

Let me give you a second to catch your breath. Okay.

I should start off by explaining that I understand why many guys like to wear a double windsor knot. It’s big. And bigger means more powerful and more masculine. Like, dude, if I’m going to get dressed up and wear a tie, I want the biggest, baddest tie knot! I get it. The double windsor knot is like the Texas of tie knots. It’s the sartorial equivalent of putting truck nuts on that big pickup truck you don’t really need.

Added to that is that the double windsor knot is slightly more complicated to tie than the sissy four-in-hand knot. (Though not nearly as complicated as the even more terrible Trinity or Eldredge. Never heard of those? Google ’em.) You need to do a little research. And more complicated equals better and cooler, right? Wrong.

Some people will argue that a bigger tie knot is necessary for a wider collar spread, such as a spread collar or cutaway collar. I think it’s more about proportion.

If you have an extremely wide face and facial features, the double windsor might be for you. However, I would submit that the girth of the double windsor is distracting. Whatever is below your face is meant to frame it, not draw attention away from it.

Personally, I never tie my tie with anything other than a double four-in-hand, but I tried a double windsor on while writing this post just to be certain what I was saying was truth and not just a conscious bias. The result? My thoughts confirmed. It’s just too wide. I thought I might be able to mitigate this by squeezing the knot together, but it would eventually expand out to its original girth.

Your turn. Chime in and let’s discuss the double windsor knot.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style


Chime In