My First Double Windsor Knot · 6 June 2008

I wear my tie to work on senior project presentation day and other special occasions. Before one of those recent occasions, I thought about the honor of showing people how to tie their neckties as I was tying my tie in a Double Windsor knot. The process also brought back the memory of the first time I had to tie a necktie.

Students who have never worn ties, often do so when they make their senior project presentations. Like many of my colleagues, I get to show some of my students how to tie those pesky neckties. When it is the first time for the students to ever have worn a tie, I feel honored that I get to show them how to make the Double Windsor knot that my dad showed me how to tie. Like all of the teaching I do, I like them to do the work as I describe and guide them through the process. Sometimes, I show them on myself first, and before they get the chance to say that I should just slip it over my head so that they do not need to do the tying, I untie the tie with one pull on the knot. And then I guide them through the process.

I know that it would be much easier to just tie people’s ties for them. But it gives me great satisfaction watching them learn to tie those Double Windsors. My oldest son is a sophomore and he had to wear a tie for a couple presentations he did at school. I showed him how to tie his tie. It gave me an even greater satisfaction showing him than when I have showed my students. I guess that is the fatherly pride knowing that he will probably only need me to show him a couple times before he can do it on his own.

I remember my own first time tying a tie. My dad showed me how to tie that Double Windsor knot. He showed me how to line up the tie so that the tip did not hang down too far below my belt buckle, the ideal length. While the occasion was Grandpa’s funeral, I still remember my dad taking the time to tie his own tie a couple times as I mirrored him to tie mine. I still needed a refresher the next time I tied one but eventually, I got the hang of it.

I am not sure that my dad felt like it at the time, but I look at his teaching me to tie the Double Windsor as a part of my rite of passage into manhood. Maybe it was just the circumstances surrounding my learning but I think that I grew up a little when I learned to tie my own tie. That is why I do not take it lightly that I have had not only my son but other fine young men ask me to teach them how it is done. Learning to tie a Double Windsor knot in a necktie may not be the most important event in a young man’s life, but teaching the skill to him is certainly an honor for me.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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