A few weeks ago, I walked into Moggs on Bleibtreustraße and, as we often do, Max, Tobin, Paul and I were talking about films, music, and the usual nerdy menswear topics. The conversation turned to tie knots.
Max, Tobin and I all wear a four-in-hand knot, and do so all the time. I love the simplicity and lack of fussiness of the knot, and am also a big fan of its asymmetry. It was early days for Paul chez Mogg, and this was the first time I had met him, and I noticed that he was (gasp) wearing a Windsor knot. Some people (my dad included) swear by the Windsor knot. I can’t tell you why — maybe the rebellious nature that many sons have against their father’s preferences — but I just don’t like the Windsor knot. Neither do Max or Tobin. So, we set out to try and convince Paul of the error of his ways, and he’s now trying out the four-in-hand.
Being a fan of the asymmetry of the four-in-hand, I tie it in a particular way, so that it sits slightly “crooked”. The way it is tied means that a few centimetres of tie that pokes out of the bottom of the knot swerves a bit before coming back in to the centre. Mogg himself has christened this the “banana knot,” given the shape of the tie when you wear it this way.
In the interests of full disclosure, this tie knot and banana shape is not an original idea. I’ve seen it around over the years, but not very often. Perhaps the best practitioner of it is Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent.
The prince has a very individual style, including huge, bulky shirt collars, well-cut double-breasted suits, and very wide, thick neckties. I know elegant people who really don’t like his style, and other who absolutely adore it (I count myself in the latter group). And, the thing I like best, is how he wears his tie. A nice big four-in-hand knot with the tie serving and curving back to the centre, taking on the shape of a banana. Absolutely smashing!
It’s not a look for everybody — it’s a bit marmite, you either love it or you hate it. If you do like it, though, it is not very common, and it will almost always be something that sets you apart wherever you are. Well, except if you visit us Chez Mogg on Bleibtreustraße. There’ll almost surely be more than one of us there sporting the banana knot. We’ll make you feel welcome, though, and encourage you to carry on fighting the good fight! And you might even help us convince Paul of its merits …