If you were to ask them, The Dark Knot is not a tie company. They’re in business to bring you the best tie experience possible. And as of early 2017, they’ve expanded their selection to include an array of accessories like pocket squares, lapel flowers, bracelets, money clips, cufflinks and tie bars.
In this review, I’m going to touch on the elements of a quality tie and give my initial impression of The Dark Knot’s standard skinny neckties. Additionally, I will showcase a couple other TDK accessories and lend my thoughts.
If you’d rather watch this review, go on and hit that play button below. If you like it be sure to hit that thumbs up!
THE DARK KNOT BACKGROUND
First I want to give a little background on The Dark Knot and how they came to be. Rishi Chullani is the founder of TDK. And before his company existed he was a men’s style blogger like me. In fact, on top of his responsibilities running the day-to-day at TDK, he’s still putting out great editorial content over on his blog—talk about hustle.
I met Rishi well over a year ago at an event called StyleCon (now Menfluential). I remember talking about his company, but what impressed me the most was how friendly and easy to talk he was. He was genuinely interested in getting to know me and what I’m all about. And he wasn’t just being cordial because we were drinking by the bar. He still keeps in touch and checks in on me every now and again, and I can honestly say that he’s a good friend, always offering invaluable advice. Who knew that we’d be working together a few short years later.
I digress…Okay, back to TDK. Rishi worked in finance for years before finally leaving the corporate world and starting his business. He threw his hat into the menswear ring because he wanted to help gentlemen dress better, something he needed when he first moved to New York in his younger years. And I think with TDK and his style blog, he’s succeeding in his mission to equip men with the knowledge to dress better while providing a tie and accessories experience that will stay with you long after your initial purchase.
If you ask me, they really knocked it out of the park with the branding. Everything from the name to the white on black aesthetic is on point. It’s clean, modern and elegant. Throw in the black panther, and that signifies masculinity and strength, traits all men should embody.
Now, am I just blowing smoke? Let’s see as we go in-depth on the construction of a necktie, and other TDK accessories.
Not too long ago I thought that there wasn’t much to a necktie. After all, it’s just a piece of cloth that wraps around your neck and drapes down your chest. Little did I know that there’s much more to a necktie than meets the eye. A few hours of research later and here are the elements of a quality necktie and my thoughts on how The Dark Knot’s standard line of ties hold up.
1. TIE SHELL
The tie shell is also known as the envelope. It’s the outer shell of the tie that can be made of fabrics ranging from common silks to wool, and tweed or cashmere. Common summer tie fabrics are linen and cotton. Neckties also come in polyester, but you’d typically want to avoid these because many are cheap and poorly made.
The Dark Knot ties are made of premium silk from Chinese factories. China has a rich history with silk, being the first to develop the fabric dating as early as 3500 BC. Today, China remains the world’s largest silk producer. According to The Dark Knot, their neckties are constructed of the highest yarn count to ensure fine silk fabrics soft to the touch and precise drape.
My initial impression of the tie’s fabric is that it is indeed soft to the touch with a nice sheen that’s not too shiny, but a subtle kind of elegance. It definitely feels like a high-quality fabric.
2. SLIP STITCH
The slip stitch is thread that you can find running through the back of the tie and should run all the way up the length of the tie. A quality manufacturer uses a slip stitch as a standard. A proper slip stitch allows for flexibility of the material shifting as you are tying and untying the tie as well as keeping the tie together.
All The Dark Knot ties are slip stitched by hand. This allows for a precise and secure enclosing of the tie shell, with affordance so that the fabric can twist and move as you tie and adjust your tie. I have cheaper ties with a slip stitch that seems like it could fall apart over time with wear and tear.
3. BAR TACK
The bar tack is the small piece of thread that holds the backside of the tie blade together. You can find near the bottom of the tie. A high-quality bar tack is reinforced, meaning the thread used is thicker and tightly secured.
The thicker the bar tack the more durable it will be. Cheaper neckties are often constructed with a thin piece of thread holding the back of the blade together. The Dark Knot ties have a noticeably thicker than most bar tack that feels secure.
The tipping is the fabric along the bottom backside of the tie. Lower quality ties skimp on fabric and opt for polyester instead of silk for the tipping. High quality ties will have silk tipping or consist of the exact same fabric as the tie shell itself.
The Dark Knot doesn’t skimp on quality. All of their ties are constructed with silk tipping. The logo is also stitched on the back of the tipping as a nice detail that most tie companies overlook or simply don’t bother.
The keeper can be found on the back of the tie. It’s the loop that the skinny end of the tie is meant to go through to keep it from showing. You will usually find a keeper with an additional loop with the brand’s logotype just below it on most ties. Many stylish guys like to forgo the loops completely and let the smaller blade hang beside the larger one in a nonchalant manner.
The Dark Knot’s keeper and loop is folded through the seam, reinforcing the material. This ensures that the keeper and loop will not fall apart after extended use like many cheaper ties with keepers simply sewed on with thin fabric.
Interlining is the material that the tie shell wraps around that ultimately gives the tie its shape. Many brands use polyester which is not entirely bad, but doesn’t give the tie the memory it needs to find its shape again. A strong, high quality interlining will give the tie the memory it needs to retain its shape. High quality ties have a pure wool interlining and because wool has more “memory” than other fabrics, it can regain its original shape after enduring wear and tear overtime.
The Dark Knot ties are lined with two fabrics. Wool interlining serves as the base and a thin layer of cotton adds an extra layer of smoothness to the tie along with the thickness of the wool.
7. MADE FROM 3 PIECES
A quality made tie is typically made from 3 separate pieces of fabric. This allows for the tie to retain its shape and contort better.
The Dark Knot ties are made from 3 pieces of silk fabric, ensuring flexibility when tying the tie.
8. CUT ON THE BIAS
Any quality made tie should be cut on the bias, meaning it is cut at a 45 degree angle. This allows for the tie to maintain the proper drape from when it was manufactured To test whether or not a tie was cut on the bias, you can drape it over your arm. The tie should drape straight down and shouldn’t twirl or twist.
The Dark Knot ties are cut on the bias and have a clean drape from when you first put it on to when you take it off at the end of the day.
OVERALL TIE GRADE
There are three tiers of The Dark Knot ties. The Ridgefield Navy Skinny Silk Tie above is from their lowest price point and gets high marks in my book, compared with other cheaper ties that I own. It has all the hallmarks of a high quality tie. I can only imagine the quality of their luxury and premium line are even better. The Dark Knot standard / luxury / premium line are priced at USD $55 / $69 /$85 respectively.
The Dark Knot pocket squares come in silk or linen. The pocket square I got from TDK is the Baldwin Abstract Linen Pocket Square.
The linen fabric has a soft, supple feel and the contrasting white edges are hand rolled for a personal touch. I can honestly say that The Dark Knot’s is the finest pocket square that I own to date. Upon opening the box, I could immediately tell that it was hand crafted with quality material. It felt luxurious to the touch. And look at that design, it’s like a work of art.
On top of that, the pocket square is 15″x15″ which is how all pocket squares should be constructed. Unfortunately many cheaper pocket squares are a mere 12″x12″ or smaller. You’d think it’s not a big difference, but it makes all the difference. The problem with smaller pocket squares is that there’s not enough material and oftentimes your pocket square will fall back into your breast pocket. With The Dark Knot, there’s ample fabric to keep the pocket square where it should be, in the spotlight.
A lapel flower is a nice way to add some panache to your look. The lapel flower I got from TDK is the Washington Grey/Burgundy in a wool, viscose, felt blend.
The Dark Knot comes in single, two or three tone lapel flowers. What’s great about the multi-tonal flowers is that you can mix and match colors. Say for example you’re wearing a navy suit with a light blue, Bengal striped shirt, then you simply take the blue or any other dominant color from your outfit and pair it with a lapel flower with a bit of blue or any neutral color.
The Dark Knot’s lapel flowers are well made, look and feel great. They’re a great addition to any dapper look.
I really love this Manteca Agate Beaded Bracelet. I’ve been wearing it non-stop ever since it arrived. My first impression was that the beads were the perfect size for my wrist. I’ve seen some beaded bracelets with huge beads that look horrible on my wrist (about 6 inches around.) This bracelet is suitable for my wrist, it’s got an elastic rope that stretches so that it’s wearable across many wrist sizes. My favorite thing about it is the detailing of each individual bead. They’re all unique. Overall it’s well crafted with beads from agate stone. Also notice the lion’s head, perfect for any Leo out there.
This The Dark Knot bracelet is appropriate to wear casually with shorts and a t-shirt, but you can also wear it with a blazer and chinos for a dressy, casual vibe.
IN THE END
It’s careful attention to detail that sets The Dark Knot apart. From construction, fabric quality and quality control to impeccable branding, TDK really does offer a necktie experience, one that you’ll remember long after your purchase. I give TDK my highest recommendation for a tie and accessories company. Definitely check them out if you’re in the market to upgrade your tie collection and want to pick up some accessories in the process.
A Note: Products were sent to me for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE DARK KNOT, DON’T HESITATE TO HIT ME UP.
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Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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