The Nicky is something of an underrated knot.
It’s not commonly referenced outside of websites or books dedicated to necktie knots, and you’re unlikely to ever hear of a father teaching it to his son.
But despite its relative obscurity, the Nicky is actually a versatile tie knot that can fill a number of roles.
It might not be the only tie knot a man needs to know, but it’s certainly on the short list of good ones to have practiced.
A Nicky uses a relatively small amount of length, which makes it a good option for tall men or men with ties that are a touch on the short side.
It makes a thicker knot than the four-in-hand, and one with a symmetrical appearance (although in mathematical terms it is not, technically, a symmetrical knot, as it has more “moves” on one side than the other).
In bulk, the Nicky falls between the four-in-hand and the half Windsor. It can be particularly useful for men wearing skinny knit ties — a four-in-hand tied in a skinny tie is so small it looks absurd, but the narrow width also can’t hide the internal structure of a half Windsor completely.
The Nicky’s smaller structure can be hidden under even a skinny band of cloth, while still providing a nice hefty knot in a knit tie.
The name “Nicky” supposedly comes from Nikita Kruschev’s visit to Milan, where quick-tying “inside-out” knots like the Nicky and the Pratt knot are commonly used in shop displays and tailors’ windows. The Nicky is a self-releasing version, which makes it especially convenient — to untie it, simply lift the narrow end up out of the knot. The rest will fall apart without it.
Symmetry: Visibly symmetrical (mathematically asymmetrical)
Formality: Business or social
Recommended Collars: Point collars, button-down collars
Nicky Knot Step 1
Drape the necktie around your collar with the seam facing outward. The thick end should hand on your left, and the narrow end on your right.
The Nicky is tied with the thick end, so start it about two inches lower than you want the finished position.
Nicky Knot Step 2
Cross the thick end underneath the thin end, making an X-shape below your chin.
You should end up with the thick end to the right of the thin end.
Nicky Knot Step 3
Flip the thick end up in front of the loop around your collar, then tuck it down through the loop, emerging to the left of the thin end.
You should finish this step with the thick end hanging behind and to the left of the thin end, seam facing outward.
Nicky Knot Step 4
Bring the tip of the thick end horizontally across the front of the knot. You should end up with the tip of the thick end pointed to your right, seam facing inward.
Slip a finger underneath the horizontal band you’ve just created across the front of the knot — you’ll be passing the tie back through that in a couple steps.
Nicky Knot Step 5
Bring the tip of the thick end up and underneath the loop around your collar.
You should finish off with the tip of the thick end pointed upward, seam facing outward.
Nicky Knot Step 6
Tuck the tip of the thick end downward through the horizontal loop you created in Step 4. This should bring it point-downward on top of the narrow end, seam facing inward.
Nicky Knot Step 7
Pull the thick end all the way through the horizontal loop and snug it down, pinning the thick end in place. At this point you should have the finished shape of the knot, and the narrow end should be hidden behind the thick end.
Nicky Knot Step 8
Adjust the knot as needed by holding it with one hand and pulling on the narrow end of the tie with the other.
To untie the Nicky, just tug the narrow end up and out of the knot. The rest will fall apart on its own.