Thursday, May 8, 2008

How Very “To Catch A Thief”

I saw this display in Paul Stuart on Tuesday and thought it was one of the best tied bandannas I had ever seen.

It instantly reminded me of Cary Grant in “To Catch A Thief” when he is wearing that navy striped knit.

I love how neatly the ends are finished so that they are barely visible.

Whenever i have tried to tie a bandanna like this I end up looking like a euro tourist or Roy Rogers.

I asked them to show me how they did this knot. It is actually a simple double knot but it is all about execution of the knot.

I was practicing it on my flight to Indy yesterday and found that it is easier if you leave one side a little longer when you do the first knot.

For me personally I would not wear the bandanna quite so close to my neck. Instead, this summer I see myself tying it a little looser, wearing it with a casual linen shirt and (in heat of Milan) dipping it in some water to keep me chillin’ (for older Sartorialist – “chillin’” being the modern vernacular for maintaining a reasonable cool body temperature)


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  1. Princess Poochie

    May 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

    It’s a great knot but I’d like to see more on a lady instead. Very Kate Hepburn.


  2. Easy and Elegant Life

    May 8, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I like to use a four-in-hand knot. It keeps the scarf secure and lets me adjust the fit around my neck. Particularly useful for wearing a neckerchief a little loose in warmer weather.

  3. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Paul Stuart has the nicest windows in NYC.

  4. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    This is one of my very favorite little touches, and I find it works well for us ladies also…

    ~ Miss Mary

  5. Tyler

    May 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I thought it was an ascot in that film. But, similar design cues nonetheless.

  6. amelia-eve

    May 8, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Another good way to achieve a smooth knot on a scarf is to tie a simple slip knot on one end and then thread the other end through and pull the knot as tight as you wish, as though it were a necktie. It makes it much easier to manage the ends of the scarf and keep everything facing the right way.

  7. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    good eye for catching this. i too have been struggling to knot a bandana. now that i have a picture (thanks to you) i think i will finally manage to tie one the right way. if not it would be nice to do a diagram.

  8. aviewaskew

    May 8, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    very cool…thanks for sharing

  9. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Sart, you really are a design influencer. I was so inspired yesterday by the photo of the girl in white with the beautiful scarf. I happened to go by Nordstrom Rack on my way home from work and I found myself purchasing two colorful Missoni scarves. One is similar to hers: long, multi-color stripes, with a fringe at the edges. The other a silk square, more similar to the scarf in this post. Now i’m going to go home today and practice tying this double knot with the silk scarf.

  10. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Sart, if you’re ever in a really hot, DRY place where it doesn’t matter too much lookin’ a tad “safari” (or geeky!) there are these things called “collar cooler” (or similar name) filled with gel capsules that absorb water and keep you cool all day.

    The red or blue bandana patterns are the least geeky of the selection out there.

    – desertwind

  11. chester copperpot

    May 8, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    way to throw in the word “vernacular,” sart. i’ve been reading for a while. i’m much better at english than fashion. :) thanks for the inspiration.

  12. metscan

    May 8, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Yes, this does leave a feminine impression. `Real´men don´t dress like this.

  13. Emily

    May 8, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    To Catch A Thief is one of my Top 5 fashion movies EVER. This is a lovely shot.

  14. Stacy

    May 8, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    best bandanna tie EVER!

  15. Kym

    May 8, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    i love that you threw in the definition of ‘chillin’ for the older sarts. thoughtful man !


  16. Danielle

    May 8, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    very nice. the print reminds me, a little, of the ones sushi chefs wear.

  17. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Great ideas from everyone. When I saw the pic I tried to figure it out before reading on. I tried (and tied) it as a bow tie. Actually, kind of interesting. However, I’ll probably follow some previous advice. Good stuff.

  18. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Ack! I love this. Mmmmm if I saw a dashing older man wearing this, I’d be reduced to a little panting Lolita.

    The comment above stating that ‘real’ men wouldn’t wear this is absurd !

  19. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    it’s interesting to see how some details are seen as feminine, like this handsome scarf worn around the neck, while others are “satorial.”

    anyway, i love this look and have long striven to find the right way to tie bandanas for everday urban wear, not just ’round the ranch.

    would someone be so kind as to post a link as to what “double knot” achieve this, and how i might do the same?


  20. Rollergirl

    May 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Oh I love this.

  21. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    That this kind of scarf, or neckerchief really, is feminine is a common perception in recent years, esp. in the US. I think that’s not quite fair though, as it was originally a working man’s style, and ought to be just as manly as blue jeans and flannel shirts. Observe the painter on Sart’s Favorites page-is he not a Real Man?. Besides, they serve a purpose, keeping the sun off the neck and absorbing sweat.

  22. Radio Catro

    May 8, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Mmmm, I almost see Cary Grant´s face in this shot

  23. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    It would be great if you posted a step by step process, I’m interested in sporting this out on a casual but splurgy dinner out on the town.

    Great work as always btw.

  24. Chip Ahoy

    May 8, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Instructions please. The internets are useless on this.

    A double knot. It’s all about the knot. That’s all we get?

    Can you do a photographic step by step? I, for one, would appreciate it muchly. Cheers.

  25. Jordan Stout

    May 8, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    I’m still not sure as to how this knot was executed – anyone have a link to an online tutorial or a step-by-step? is it just a double knot?

  26. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Metscan– ” ‘real’ men don’t dress like this” ? I suppose you wear oversize t-shirts advertising booze and big shorts and sneakers. And a backwards baseball cap.

    Anyhoo, thanks for this Sart! My husband often sports this look, something he learned from a older dandy friend. It also keeps your collars clean in hot weather!

  27. Anonymous

    May 8, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Grant wore a red scarf, not an ascot, in the film. He showed up on set in his own gray flannels, button down shirt and rubber soled loafers but the shirt was deemed too modern for the period of the film. Grant went shopping himself and found the striped Italian sweater and red foulard scarf in a boutique. That’s how he created his iconic Riviera look. The entire look was of his own design and consisted of his own purchases.

    Like all of the best dressed men, he never let anyone else select or purchase his wardrobe, although suggestions were entertained.

  28. Sterling-haired Lady

    May 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    It’s a basic square knot (think back to scouts)—right over left and under and through, then left over right and under and through.

    For a good description of how to do this knot in a bandana or scarf (as well as other knots), see:

  29. Chip Ahoy

    May 8, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    I must now resort to the YouTubes. Aparently it’s much like tying a shoe. Except different.

  30. amelia-eve

    May 9, 2008 at 9:23 am

    That Brooks Brothers page is helpful, but it leaves out one of my favorite tips. When folding a scarf into a triangle, make the fold off-center by half an inch or so, so that the underneath layer stays hidden and the “tails” of the scarf are fluffier.

  31. Scott

    May 9, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Cary Grant wore it because he thought his neck was too thick and was always looking for ways to hide it.

  32. Jecca

    May 9, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I so very much enjoy hearing your thoughts on the looks. While I appreciate the simple asthetic that is presented, your take is just like getting the corner piece of cake; extra frosting!

  33. Anonymous

    May 9, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I’m a girl, but that knot looks really good to me. I’d like to try that with a “no age” scarf I saw earlier on some LA store website.

    (btw, No Age is a very good band. I bet there’s someone else here who likes Weirdo Rippers!:) )

  34. India

    May 10, 2008 at 1:38 am

    I love that you explained “chillin”- The elementary school students that I teach reprimanded me when I once said “I don’t wear fur because I don’t dig it” in class. They were vehement to inform me that “dig it” was only something a rapper would say…the times they are a changin.

  35. Anonymous

    May 10, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I adore it !

    i’m trying to this with my bandana but really can’t achieve it, i think it is too short. What lenght do you need to make it look good ?


  36. Anonymous

    May 11, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Indianapolis welcomes you home! It’s race month you know.

  37. On Your Left

    May 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Amazing! Men of the world, please take this as your cue to dress smarter! This is sooo lovely, I can picture a man (of any age, really) in this outfit, sitting on his yacht or by the sea.
    So beautiful!
    But I also agree that a woman would look amazing in something like this.

  38. Alice Olive

    May 12, 2008 at 9:36 am

    I love this post! I like to tie a scarf like this – and yes, it’s very Cary Grant in that scene from To Catch A Thief.

    The tip about leaving one side longer than the other is key. It doesn’t work otherwise.

    I also tie it a little looser – otherwise one tends to choke – not what I’m into and not so stylish! (But if it’s too loose, then it looks silly.)

  39. sandman_gr

    May 12, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Perfect! I want to do this with a black scarf and a white shirt or polo t-shirt!

  40. Anonymous

    May 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Square knot:

    Right over left, and left over right, makes a knot that’s sure and tight.

    thank you Brownies!

  41. Anonymous

    May 14, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Absolutely fabulous. All men should be required to wear one of these at least once a week.

  42. Anonymous

    May 15, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I saw this in PS and liked it immediately. The problem was the pants, not shown, which were in white linen. Looked fantastic on the display but you’d be able to see through them in real life.


    March 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Well interesting reading… I in fact wear this type of neck scarf / large handkerchief, in the summer and warm fall days all the time.
    Now being 6’9″ 227 lb’s I have never been mistake as a women… The idea that a man would not wear this type of scarf around his neck, is saying more about how insecure some men may be in their manhood than about the scarf as a dress detail itself.
    I suggest you stop following what others may think of you and be yourself. That after all, is what Cary Grant always suggested men work to achieve in their dress and personality. As to how much this dress detail attracts women young and old… never fails!

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