I’m not one for extras for extras’ sake. For most of our lives the few tie knots we were taught growing up sufficed. No need to learn 15 tie knots just for the hell of it. This was true with the popular style of the time: 3.5 inch silk ties, no ifs, ands, or buts. Beginning in the 80′s and carrying through the 90′s, sartorial convention for men’s neckwear was simple. No textures, no skinny ties, and nothing other than silk would be accepted.
By now you know that men these days don’t hold to such strict, arbitrary guidelines. Ties made of wool and other textured fabrics have become mainstream ways of mixing up your look, dressing down business, and providing a wider variety of options.
As far as neckwear goes, it’s a great time to live in. Unfortunately, our standard knots don’t function as well when introducing thick textured fabrics into the mix.
The Nicky knot is a brother of the Pratt, creating a symmetrical, moderate sized knot. Textured wool ties look fantastic, but you’re stuck using a Four in Hand because of the tie’s thickness.
If you wanted to pair a wool tie with a semi-spread collar you’d be stuck with an asymmetrical Four in Hand knot hanging far between the collar. Some may try to make use of a Windsor, but a 2.5 inch tie isn’t wide enough to cover all the crossovers in the knot, as shown above.
A better option is The Nicky, a symmetrical knot that will fill the semi-spread collar, without causing a lot of bulk with the wool’s thickness. The Nicky is achieved in only six moves, compared to the Windsor’s nine.
Thomas Fink describes the origin of the Nicky in his book, The Man’s Book, “The earliest-known description of the Nicky is by Italian tie-shop owner Ernesto Curami. It was rediscovered by David Kelsall as an improvement on the Pratt knot and reported in the Sunday telegraph in 1991.”