How to give a six-fold bodyBy Simon Crompton
A six-fold tie is a beautiful thing. The way the hand-finished edges curl up inside each other in the body of the tie, the layers of silk creating that volume that a tie requires through their own support, in absence of the normal wool or hair lining.
(For those that aren’t familiar with how to spot a six-fold tie, it’s literally a case of counting the number of times it has been folded. The two outside edges count as one each – hence a normal tie is a three-fold, as a little lip has usually been folded inside the body, totalling three over all.)
You could even argue that a seven-fold tie is more beautiful, given that it has the added complexity of overlapping layers that together need to create the same, uniform surface on the blade.
Overall, I tend to prefer a lined six-fold, both aesthetically and for how it hangs. The problem with unlined six-folds is that if the silk isn’t thick enough, the knot can be very insubstantial. Tighten it a little and the knot will shrink up, becoming little more than a narrow tube of silk. Wool ties can be made as unlined six-folds without this problem.
However, there is a solution if you already own an unlined six-fold and still like wearing it. This is to knot your tie as usual, but wind the front blade around once more than you would normally. Once that is done, tie as per normal (assuming you are tying a four-in-hand, which for elegance sake you should). This technique adds two more layers of silk and therefore roughly 40% to the body of the knot.
One thing this technique does not achieve, however, is making the knot longer. Several people have told me that it does, but that is simply not the case if you keep the front blade the same length as you would do for a normal four-in-hand. You use more of the tie, so the back blade gets shorter, but the front blade is still wrapping around the front of the knot in the same place on the tie. So the place in the bottleneck shape will be the same, and the knot the same length.
The only way the knot will become longer is if you prioritise keeping the blades the same length over having the front one the right length. Then you can use this method and share out the reduction in silk between both blades, making both a little shorter. The knot will be longer, but only because you have shortened the front blade and wrapped around the knot lower down the bottleneck. If that was all you wanted – a shorter tie – you needn’t go through all this rigmarole.
So this tying method is useful for unlined ties, where you want to create a thicker knot, and for short people. And it is called either the Albert or the Victoria, depending on whether you push the front blade through the inner or the outer layer of silk respectively to form the knot. (A fact for which I am indebted to Will at A Suitable Wardrobe – things are so much nice when they have a name, don’t you think?)