The Four-in-hand, half-Windsor, and full Windsor sound like wresting moves--and to the uninitiated who struggle with them there's not much difference--but at one time every gentleman knew how to execute these with aplomb. My father taught me how to tie the half-Windsor when I was 13, and I gradually improved so that I could tie a symmetrical knot within a minute. Tying a tie, like shaving, became part of the morning routine.
Business casual has been de rigueur for over a decade, and I only get to practice my rusting skill a handful of times per year. But it's not all for knot; it appears now that ties, even the wide ones, are making a comeback. Good thing I didn't throw them away--maybe there's hope for my bellbottoms, too. © 2007 Stephen Yuen