The Balthus is an absolute monster of a tie knot.
It takes nine moves or “passes” to complete, and has four “centers” (loops around the central body of the knot).
The Balthus was named for its inventor, an eccentric Polish-French painter. He claimed to have developed it out of boredom, but did not wear the knot with any regularity.
Sometimes known as “The Cousin of the Full Windsor,” it requires a very long tie. In addition, the creator’s intent was for the tie immediately below the knot to be quite wide, more than most men wear their ties.
Men who want the full Balthus effect should position their knot so that the tie beneath it is already near its full width. Needless to say, this is striking — and requires a very long tie that widens quickly.
Formality: Fine social dress; too extravagant for business dress
Recommended Collars: Spread collars, cutaway collars
Balthus Knot Step 1
Flip the shirt collar up and drape the necktie around the neck with the seam upward (smooth side against the collar). The thick end should be on your left-hand side.
The thick end of the tie will need quite a bit of slack — it should hang at least to the mid-thigh. The thin end should fall to about the center of the chest.
Balthus Knot Step 2
Cross the thin end over the thick. The thin end should now be on your left, and the thick on your right.
Balthus Knot Step 3
Bring the thick end up in front, pointing the tip toward the ceiling. Tuck it down behind the thin end and cross behind it.
The thick end should now be hanging behind the thin end and to its left, both with the seams pointed outward.
Balthus Knot Step 4
Bring the thick end back up in front, pointed toward the ceiling. Loop over the thin end, this time on the left side of the forming knot.
Balthus Knot Step 5
Tuck the thick end down and across, finishing with it behind the thin end and to its right. Both ends should be pointed downward and hanging seam-out.
Balthus Knot Step 6
Flip the thick end upward so that the tip points toward the ceiling. Loop it over the center of the knot.
Balthus Knot Step 7
Bring the thick end down behidn the knot, crossing from right to left.
You should finish exactly where you were at the end of Step 3: with the thick end hanging behind and to the left of the thin end. Both sides should hang point-down with the seams facing outward.
Balthus Knot Step 8
Here the pattern changes: bring the thick end horizontally across the front of the knot, crossing from left to right. The tip should point straight across to your right, and the smooth side should face outward.
The skinny end of the tie still hangs straight down with the seam pointed outward at this point.
Balthus Knot Step 9
Bring the thick end behind the knot and upward, with its tip pointing toward the ceiling. Leave a little looseness in the horizontal pass you just made.
Balthus Knot Step 10
Tuck the broad end of the tie through the horizontal pass it just made. At this point the thick end should lie directly on top of the thin end, with its smooth side out. The thin end is still facing seam-out.
Balthus Knot Step 11
Adjust the knot to your satisfaction by tugging gently down on the thin end while snugging the knot in place with your other hand.
Ideally, the tie beneath the knot should be quite wide, creating an almost scarf-like look beneath your neck. You still want the tip of the tie to fall to your beltline, as with all modern necktie knots.
The finished Balthus should be extremely thick and striking-looking. It’s a guaranteed attention-getter and should be saved for classy social settings — evening dinners, theater and art events, and well-to-do salons.
Pair it with a wide collar spread, and avoid it if you have a very narrow face and torso.
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