From Wikipedia: “In the late 1990s, two researchers, Thomas Fink and Yong Mao of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, used mathematical modeling to discover that eighty-five knots are possible with a conventional tie.”
Although there are many ways to put on a necktie, these are the most common:
I personally prefer Four-in-Hand, which in my opinion looks best on a person. If done correctly, the center mass will be slightly conical, and there is a deep crease at the top of the broad end. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-in-hand_knot. I think President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner use Four-in-Hand as well.
I use Four-in-Hand about 90% of the time, but my father once told me that the real gentleman’s way is the Windsor knot. I am not much of a gentleman, so I tie the Windsor knot only when I feel like doing things differently that day (not that anybody will notice). I wear a necktie no more than once or twice a week, and only when I go outside to meet clients, bankers or government officers. Because necktie is a favorite birthday gift for men my age, I never had to buy a necktie myself — I already have four or five expensive neckties given to me during my birthdays.
I used to dislike wearing ties in high school because it made me feel like a dog on a leash. It was compulsory to wear a necktie on Mondays. Being rough schoolboys that we were, I could always bet on some idiot kid yanking my tie every Monday, almost choking me to death (not really). In MRSM we had to wear our neckties neatly and snugly throughout school hours, so I learn to get used to having it around my neck at all times. MRSM students are more mature, and yanking someone’s necktie until he turns blue from lack of oxygen wasn’t anyone’s idea of fun.
After I graduated from MRSM, I got into UiTM (Universiti Teknologi MARA), where it is again compulsory to wear a necktie on Mondays. I had only one necktie at the time, a Disney / Winnie the Pooh necktie, which functioned well as a conversation-starter during my first few days there. I put on the Pooh necktie every Monday until one day some UiTM administrator pulled me aside and explained to me, in a patronizing tone, about “sahsiah rupadiri” and some bullshit about how “UiTM students should dress in a serious manner”. I then called my father in KL to request for some “serious” necktie; next day, he gave me a “serious-looking” blue-black necktie from his wardrobe, which I wore every Monday since.
In college, I wore my necktie maybe once or twice a year, usually when there were important guests from the Embassy or VIPs visiting from Malaysia. Students and professors at American universities do not give a rat’s ass about wearing a necktie. A minor miracle would have to happen before you see a math or physics professor wearing a necktie to class. The only people who wear neckties on MIT campus are the MBA students, administrators, and faculty members going to a tenure meeting. It was much more common to see students going to class in their crumpled pajamas or nightgowns than to see a student wearing a necktie to class. I do hope MIT learns from UiTM in the matter of “sahsiah rupadiri” and “serious dressing”. /sarc off
In my previous job, I was expected to have my necktie on at all times, even when working late at night. One of my superiors even pointed out that it is improper to roll your sleeves while in the office, even at 8pm (because God forbid, what damage might occur to the company reputation if a guest coming to the office at night sees you pecking on your keyboard with your SLEEVES ROLLED UP). They call it professionalism. I call it stupid.
In my current job, every day is Casual Friday. I wear neckties just for the heck of it. Yesterday I went to a meeting with the Editor-in-Chief of the largest newspaper in Malaysia. I was embarassed when I realized that I am the only one wearing a necktie in that meeting room. This bigshot didn’t pass the opportunity to take a jab at me for being too “serious”. LOL.
I hope neckties go out of fashion soon, just like fedoras and suspenders.