A recent photograph of our future president — caught when he was facing an unusual headwind — revealed one of his fashion secrets: He uses scotch tape to keep both ends of his tie together.
Across the twitterverse, wags had fun with this, which is fine. Politicians who can’t take a joke are in the wrong business. It may have distressed Melania, however.
But it confused me. I had assumed for years that all men secured their ties by tucking the skinny end through the label. Many ties come with such a label or a designated “tie keeper,” or both, like the one below.
But scotch tape? Never heard of it.
This came up in a conversation with my friend, Kate, a smart girl who organizes costumes for stage and film actors, work that calls on her style sense as well as her art history degree.
Kate had seen the taped necktie picture. She did not approve..
“Trump’s tie length has always bothered me,” she said, “He’s always worn the tie three inches beyond the linear lines of a classic suit. There’s not enough tie left to pull it together. That’s why he’s using tape.”
Here are some snaps of a suited-up Trump. They demonstrate Kate’s point.
Those are some darn long ties.
If Trump is really devoted to protracted cravats, I believe he should do one of two things: Purchase extra-long ties, which are available in every store and appropriate for a 6’3″ guy like him; or order ties custom-made to his preferred length, which he certainly can afford.
Either alternative would allow him to take the tape dispenser out of his closet and put it back in his office, where it belongs.
But still, Kate would not recommend it.
Perhaps men reading this column are puzzled as to the correct tie length for men. As a public service, I asked Kate this very question.
“A man’s tie should lie between the middle of the belt buckle to create the illusion that his stomach isn’t as big as it is,” she said.
You know who wears his tie at this length? Our current president.
Kate and I have never talked politics, but I don’t believe she would recommend voting for the most stylish candidate. (Neither would I, which is one reason I delayed this post until after the election.)
In fact, this year’s political field did not include any candidate who approached the degree of cool cred that the Obamas carry off with such ease. You have to go back to Jacqueline Kennedy and her husband to see anything close.
A Final Point
“One more thing,” Kate said. “I do a lot of four-in-hand tie knots on young actors who can’t tie a tie. The Windsor knot (Trump’s favorite) takes more time and patience — why would he waste the time to perfect a knot and then do a half-assed job on the tip?”
This was a little too much inside baseball for me, so I looked it up. Here are how-to instructions for both tie knots.
Again, what Kate said makes sense. The four-in-hand is less complex and more commonly seen. Those young actors should pay attention to her, if only to be able to dress themselves for the occasional off-stage occasions (weddings, funerals) when proper attire requires a jacket and tie.
Talking about ties has been fun. Next Kate and I will tackle the topic of Trump’s suits, and she will share more fashion advice for confused men.