Formality: Business appropriate
Recommended Collars: Spread collars, cutaway collars
The Grantchester is essentially an overgrown variation on the four-in-hand knot. It rivals the full Windsor for thickness, but has the asymmetrical shape of the four-in-hand.
The history of the name is unclear. Thomas Fink and Yong Mao use it in their mathematical work on neckties, The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie. Like a number of necktie knots, the name comes from a town in England near Cambridge, where Fink and Mao studied.
It is one of a family of “inside-out” knots tied with the seam facing outward beneath the collar, rather than inward. The final stage hides the seams of the ends by facing them toward each other, while the rest of the tie is hidden beneath the collar.
The Grantchester is a hefty knot, similar to the Windsor in bulk, though a bit shorter in height. Use a relatively thin necktie to keep it from becoming too bulky.
Drape the necktie around your collar with the seam facing outward. The thick end should hang on your left side, and the thin end on the right.
The knot is tied with the thick end, so hang its tip four or five inches lower than your desired final length.
Cross the thick end under the thin end, making an X-shape beneath your chin.
Wrap the thick end across the front of the thin end, crossing horizontally from right to left. Continue wrapping around to cross back from left to right behind the thin end, making a complete loop around it.
Continue wrapping the thick end around the thin end, making a second trip across the front from right to left.
You should finish up with the thick end pointed toward your left, seam facing inward. At this point you’ve made one complete, 360-degree circle around the narrow end of the tie with the thick end.
Use a finger to hold the horizontal fold you’ve made across the front of the tie in place.
Slip the thick end of the tie underneath the loop around your collar, emerging with the tip pointed upward and the seam facing out.
Flip the thick end of the tie tip-down in front of the knot. You’re not passing it through the horizontal loop across the front at this stage — just let it hang loose in front of everything you’ve tied so far. Keep using a finger to hold the knot beneath the thick end in place.
Wrap the thick end behind the thin end and the body of the knot, crossing from right to left.
You should finish this step with the thick end pointed to your left, seam facing outward.
Continue wrapping the thick end around, this time crossing from left to right.
You should end up with the thick end pointing to your right, seam facing inward.
This time, slip a finger underneath the horizontal fold you’ve just created on the front of the knot — you’ll be passing the tie through it in a couple steps.
Bring the thick end up through the loop around your collar. The tip should be angled upward, and the seam facing outward.
Feed the tip of the thick end downward through the horizontal loop you created in Step 8.
You should end up with the thick end pointed straight down, lying directly on top of the thin end, and held in place by a single horizontal loop.
Pull the thick end all the way through the loop and snug it down. Make sure all the slack is out of the knot.
Use your fingers to tease the corners of the knot out into an even shape. You can adjust the tie by gripping the knot with one hand and pulling gently on the skinny end with the other.
The finished knot should be large, slightly slanted at the top, and snug against the collar. It looks best with a reasonably wide collar spread, and may need a large cutaway spread with thicker neckties.
A properly-tied Grantchester should be suitable for any business or social occasions. It is a comfortable and conservative knot, best suited to men who feel comfortable with the four-in-hand but need to use up extra length in their necktie.
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