Some of us wear ties to work everyday. Others only don such formal accessories for special occasions like weddings, funerals, graduations, induction into the Illuminati, etc. And some men don't even own a necktie.
Regardless of which group you fall in to, you should know how to tie a tie (and how to tie a bow tie). And this requires an understanding of the basic methods. For example, the famous Windsor Knot, the Half Windsor, the Bow Tie and, the short man's secret weapon, the Four In Hand Knot.
This is a simple, tight, narrow knot that is perfect for smaller gents because its form creates an elongating effect on the neck, thus increasing perceived height.
Using this knot with a high quality tie cut from thick material will work very well for short men. I recommend going with a slim tie, especially if you are slender or have an athletic build. If you are the short and stocky type, don't wear skinny ties. They won't make you look skinny (just the opposite, in fact).
If you want to learn how to tie the Four In Hand Knot, check out this video tutorial:
I personally like Penguin ties because they're very reasonably priced, and they're slim but not skinny (the skinny tie thing has gone too far).
Now you know about the best kind of knot for short(er) men, but I guarantee you have (or will) run into the problem of the tie being too long. You can address and avoid this two ways:
1. Buy Shorter Ties
Ties come in different sizes. Just as you can find slim ties and fat ties, you can also find longer and shorter ones. Try to buy shorter ones in the future.
2. Hide the Excess
If you already have a bunch of ties and aren't sure how to deal with the excess length, pay attention. You should never wear your tie too long just to make sure the skinny end doesn't go past the fat end. Instead, tie your tie so the fat end stops right around your belt line.
This is important. Make sure it's within an inch or so above/below your belt buckle. Then, if the skinny end is too long, tuck it in using one of these methods:
The Tuck – Simply tuck the skinny end of your tie into your shirt. This works best if you tuck it inside the first button above your waist line. If you just tuck it into your pants, it will almost certainly come out. This method works great if you will be wearing a jacket all night. If you are planning on challenging someone to a dance off, consider the following method.
The Top Tuck (a.k.a. “The Ninja tuck”) – Instead of running the skinny end through the loop behind the fat end, tuck it into the top of your shirt behind the knot. It will take some adjusting to make sure it isn't bunching up behind your shirt, but this is a great way to chide the excess and clean up your look.
Plus, with this method, you can take your jacket off and dance all night long without worrying about the skinny end popping out and flailing all over the place.
Let's summarize. If you buy yourself a nice slim tie, tie a tight Four In Hand Knot, and make sure to hide the excess length, you will literally be unstoppable.
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