Question: When I tie my necktie, I have trouble getting the front endlong enough. By the time I make the loops for a nice Windsor knot, the tie ends up too short. My wife says it's because I've gained weight and my pants hang too low. Where should the tie come to?
Answer: The Windsor knot is currently out of style. Though the pendulum of men's fashions swings slowly, it does change: Today the Windsor should not be the knot you are tying.
Certainly, it's not necessary to follow trends slavishly, but it is good judgment to show you know what is happening in the world around you. In the past decade, the broad spectrum of men's clothing has had shirt collar points getting shorter and suit lapels and neckties narrowing, (although some updated designers have begun flirting with wider ties and lapels). To keep all these in balanced proportion, the necktie knot is also smaller. (And you thought there was no logic behind changes in fashion - only whim and the desire to sell more!) The full Windsor knot is too large for today's ties. Because of the additional loops, the tie may not extend down as far as it should - to the bottom of the belt. A too-short tie looks as if you outgrew it or went shopping in the boy's department.
Now that most men have learned to tie the Windsor, it is time to return to the old-fashioned four-in-hand knot that your father wore.
It makes a smaller - though somewhat askew - knot.
If you dearly love the symmetrical Windsor and won't give it up, try switching to the half-Windsor. It makes the same neat, triangular knot, but is far less bulky.
Lois Fenton welcomes questions but regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Send your questions or comments to Lois Fenton, Floridian, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33731.