N.C. Central University’s Men’s Achievement Center helped male students put a stylish foot forward with their annual “Ties of Honor” program last Thursday.
The program, meant to promote professional etiquette, offered students the opportunity to learn how to tie five different types of tie knots: the Windsor, Half-Windsor, Prince Albert, Four-in-Hand and the Oriental knot.
Program coordinator Roderick Heath, whose personal favorite knot is the Windsor, said that media representation of professional men of color inspired the center to begin the program four years ago.
“‘Ties of Honor’ is a way for men to get together and discuss dressing up, being better men and how to tie ties,” said Heath. “There are a lot of guys out there who don’t know how, so this is a good opportunity to teach and build bonds with one another.”
Heath described the knot-learning process as “intimate” given that the instructor is close to the student while they are teaching.
“When I get in your face and I’m tying you up, that’s something that a father does for his son,” he explained. “If you can put your barriers down and let somebody come into your comfort zone, it breaks down walls just by tying ties.”
For senior psychology major Dajour Farland, this experience is invaluable for both professional dress and networking.
“You can never learn too much about tying ties,” Farland joked. “But at the same time, you’re not only learning something but you can teach others once you have it figured out for yourself. I learned a couple new knots and met fellow CSP (Centennial Scholars Program) brothers that didn’t know how to tie a tie and helped them out.”
NCCU’s faculty, staff and community members were asked to donate ties and business attire to the Shepard Closet Initiative — a program that collects new and gently used suits, ties and other professional attire for students. Some of those that were donated were scattered across tables to practice knots on, though each attendee received a new tie of their own in either maroon, charcoal or navy.
“We’re trying to teach guys that it’s okay to be yourself,” Heath said. “But sometimes you need to be seen, be heard and be bold in what you do professionally.”
This article was originally published on College Town NC.