Learning how to tie a tie symbolizes the beginning of an era and a young boy’s transition into manhood. Neckties have always been a representation of gentlemanliness and masculine confidence. They may seem like a simple accessory, but ties can elevate a basic outfit and transform the way people see you. There are different ways to tie a tie, depending on the occasion, shirt collar type, and skill.
The type of tie a person is wearing tells us a lot about them, so it’s important to do it right. Your tie will help you make a memorable impression, be it in job interviews, dates, or other formal and informal events. Wrapped around your neck under your shirt collar, this seemingly unassuming piece of cloth has been an expression of style and sophistication for centuries.
For most of us, the art of tying a tie and know-how of the different ways to tie a tie was passed down to us from our fathers or father figures, but this tradition is becoming increasingly uncommon. As a result, the practice of tying your ties is becoming lost to time, post-modern fashion, as well as the convenience of clip-on ties.
While there is nothing wrong with clip-on ties, tying your tie for the first time is a sacred rite of passage. It helps if your tie is well-tied for a polished appearance, and there is nothing wrong with needing a little bit of help. If you need a refresher on how to do a certain knot before a big day or if this is your first time tying a tie, we’ve got you. This guide is meant to help both amateur and professional tie-tiers perfect their neckties. Read on to learn 5 different ways to tie a tie.
The Windsor Knot
Featured in the different ways to tie a tie, the most elegant and popular option is the Windsor knot. Known and preferred for its sophisticated and neat appearance, the Windsor knot is an all-rounder for events. It is best suited to professional and formal occasions, with its full, triangular shape complimenting the grace of your suit. The Windsor knot tie flatters a wide spread collar and acts as a trusted option for semi-formal and formal events. Although it may seem complicated at first, and you might reach for your clip-on, the effect of a hand-tied Windsor knot tie is incomparable.
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Begin by lifting your collar and placing the necktie around your neck, underneath the collar flaps. The wide end of the tie should be to your right, hanging around 12 inches below the end of the narrow end. Pick up the wide end of the tie and cross it over the narrow end, so the wide end comes to the left and vice versa. Bring the wide end through the opening between the collar and the tie from behind, and pull it down. Now it’s time to bring the wide end to the right, and you can do this by crossing it underneath/behind the narrow end and pulling it towards the right. Next, move the wide back towards the left, effectively creating a loop around the narrow end. The hard part is over! Now you can bring the wide end up and through the neck, between the space between the tie and collar. While bringing it down in front, pass it through the loop and pull. Hold the wide and narrow ends of the tie and begin pushing the knot upward, until it is comfortable around your neck. Viola! Your Windsor knot is done and you’re ready for your event with style.
The Half-Windsor Knot
The Windsor knot is considered relatively challenging and not a novice’s first choice when choosing a good-looking knot for their tie. However, the list of different ways to tie a tie is incomplete without it. The Half-Windsor knot is the embodiment of the ‘work smarter, not harder’ advice, as it still has the similar sleek look as the full Windsor knot, but is easier to learn. It’s a classic and go-to option for nearly all occasions. Be it formal, semi-formal, or just any occasion where you want to make an impression, the Half-Windsor knot is a quick and easy knot tie selection. In terms of size, it is smaller compared to the Windsor knot and can be worn on top of forward-point, spread collar, and practically any dress shirt, if you style it well.
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- The collar goes up, and you first drape your chosen tie around your neck. Like the Full Windsor tie, the wide end should be placed on the right, and extend beyond the narrow end around 12 inches.
- You will place the wide end over the narrow end so they switch places.
- Next, you create a loop by bringing the wide end behind the narrow end of the tie.
- Now, the wrong side of the wide end will be facing outwards. Bring that wide end up and through the space between your collar and tie.
- Pull it through and bring it down. Only a few more steps to go!
- Now, you move the wide end of the tie above and over the narrow end and make sure the movement is from right to left.
- At this step, the right side of the wide end should be facing up. Now, all you need to do is bring the wide end up through the hole in between the tie and collar, pulling it through the loop.
- Pull the knot up while holding the dangling ends of the tie, and you’re all set!
The Four-in-Hand Knot
This one might ring a few bells or evoke nostalgia because the four-in-hand knot is one of the first knots boys learn to tie. It is quick to get the hang of and easy to recreate. If more complicated tie knots intimidate you, the four-in-hand knot has your back by exuding an effortless but polished appearance. It can be worn to casual and semi-formal events, and hold traditional value. In terms of matching with shirts, it compliments a classic dress shirt with a forward-point collar spread best.
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Just like old times, or the beginning of a reliable choice for a tie knot, place the tie around your upturned collars. The wide end of the tie should hang below the narrow end either 12 inches or 6 inches, depending on your preference. You will move the wide end over and across the narrow end, and then bring it behind the narrow end. Finish the loop needed for the four-in-hand by moving the wide end from behind the narrow one to the front of it. Now the wide end will move up, through the hole in the tie near the collar. Pull it through the loop you created and bring it down. To adjust the placement of the knot, hold the narrow end of the tie-down and push the knot up until it is comfortably tight around your neck. Smooth out any creases, brush off your shoulder and walk into the venue looking fantastic!
The Pratt Knot/ The Shelby Tie Knot
The Pratt/Shelby knot is thinner than the Windsor knot but wider than the four-in-hand knot and goes well with medium to wide spread collar dress shirts. This multi-purpose knot can be worn on any occasion and is relatively unchallenging, even for beginners. Here’s how you make it.
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- Drape the tie inside out around your neck, with the wide end on the right about a foot below the narrow end.
- Cross the wide end under the narrow end.
- Bring the wide end up and pull it down to the left through your neck loop.
- Now bring the wide end to the right, over the knot.
- Once again, bring the wide end up to your neck. Pull it through the loop you just created in the previous step.
- Tighten the knot gently while pressing the sides of the tie to keep the dimple intact. That’s it!
The Eldredge Knot
Tying this tie is one of the more obscure different ways to tie a tie but it is definitely one of the more impressive ones. Like its name, the Eldredge knot is intricate, unique, and a little challenging to master. It is also different from other knots as it is made from the narrow portion of the tie.
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However, learning it is well worth it when you want to make a distinct and memorable statement. Don’t be put off by the number of steps, the process is not as complicated as it seems once you get into it.
- Drape the tie around your neck so that the wide end of the tie lies just below the navel on the right side.
- Create a dimple near the collar by pinching the tie’s thicker side using your fingers.
- Make a neck loop. Pass the thinner side of the tie over and then under the thicker side. Now, the wrong side of the tie should be facing up.
- Bring the thinner side towards the neck loop and then pass it through the neck loop. The wrong side should still be up.
- Take the tie to the left and bring it around the front of the knot you just made.
- Once again, pass the tie through the neck loop and bring it back down on the right side.
- Take the tie behind the wide part of the tie. The wrong side should face up.
- Now, bring the tie to the front again and go across to the right. Pass the tie through the loop we just created in the last few steps. Stay with us, you’re doing great!
- Pull the narrow end to the right and tighten the knot.
- Bring the narrow end back up again and pass it through the neck loop, on the right of the knot.
- Bring the tie-up over the knot once again, except this time on the left of the knot.
- Keep the knot loose for now. Bring the short end of the tie-up to the right and pass it through the loop you just created.
- Pull and tighten the knot.
- Tuck the end of the tie on the left behind the neckline and lower the shirt collar. You now have one of the different ways to tie a tie-down. Fait accompli!
While this isn’t one of the different ways to tie a tie, the dimple is a very important consideration in a necktie tying process. It may not be very obvious, but the dimple in a tie sets the amateurs apart from necktie aficionados. The crevice at the bottom of the knot where a tie passes through is the dimple, and it adds character and three-dimensional style to a tie.
Here’s how to practice making one.
- Tie your favorite knot, and stop before completely tightening the tie around your neck.
- To create a dimple, pinch the sides of your tie together using your thumb and middle finger, so there’s a hollow space in between. Place your index finger in the dimple to keep it in place.
- Then, tighten the knot and pull out your finger, and the dimple should remain.
Depending on the type of fabric the tie is made of, the dimple may be more or less pronounced, and may be easier or more difficult to make. Keep practicing till dimpling your ties becomes an unconscious practice while tying ties.
Tying It All Together
Now that we’ve covered the basics of 6 easy and different ways to tie a tie, you are ready to start making your knots and upgrading your ensembles! Don’t worry if you don’t immediately get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect, and the process will become effortless with time.
While it’s likely that you’ll have a preference for a particular tie knot (we all do), be sure to learn as many knots as possible so that you can switch things up. And don’t be afraid to add a tie clip, tie bar, tie chain, or any other accessory to your tie to create a signature look. Experiment, be confident, and tie away!