Tying a Necktie

Necktie

In today’s society, many of us do not know how to tie a necktie but from time to time, we find ourselves in a situation where this knowledge and information is needed. Perhaps you have a job interview, going to a wedding or a funeral or attending an event for work. Whatever the reason, let’s make one thing very clear; DO NOT reach for the clip-on! The clip-on tie is a quick option but it is not the best choice. Tying a necktie is quite easy and with a little bit of practice (and perhaps some patience), you can tie a necktie that will look great and give you the confidence that comes with it.

There are countless ways to tie a necktie and in this post, we are going to discuss the top three (3) knots used today. There are certainly more than three ways to tie a necktie and perhaps we will cover some of the less common knots in a future post but for now, let’s get started with the top three!

Top Three Way’s to Tie a Necktie

  1. Four-in-Hand
  2. Half-Windsor
  3. Full-Windsor

Let us start with the Four-in-Hand knot. The Four-in-Hand has a classic look and is perfect for someone new to tying neckties. It is is actually the oldest of all the necktie knots still being used today. It is a slightly smaller knot in size (compared to the other two knots we are going to talk about) and somewhat asymmetrical.

4 in Hand Knot
A Four-in-Hand Knot

How to Tie a Four-in-Hand Knot

  • Start with flipping your collar up and making sure the top button on your shirt is buttoned
  • Lay the necktie around your neck; making sure the inseam of the necktie is facing your body
    (You will do these first two steps no matter which knot you are tying)
  • Now, make sure the necktie around your neck has the wide end hanging a good 6-7 inches lower than the narrow end
  • Next bring the wide end of the necktie over the narrow end
  • Continue around and behind; making sure to hold the narrow end down with your other hand
  • Wrap the wide end of the necktie over the narrow end to create a loop at the front of your neck
  • Loop the wide end of the necktie through the gap between the unfinished knot and your collar
  • Take the wide end of the necktie and pull it through the loop you just created. Do not tighten it up quite yet!
  • Do some final adjusting, pull the wide end down while pushing the knot up towards your neck to tighten it up.
    TIP: It is sometimes helpful to hold the narrow end of the tie while you pull the wide end down and through. This will help keep the knot straight.
  • Make sure everything is centered and then flip your collar down.
Four in Hand Knot

See? That wasn’t so bad, was it??

Let’s pause here and address some things. If your first attempt at tying a necktie does not look quite right or the wide end is too low (or too high), it is OK. There are a number of factors that can cause a tie not to look right and even the most experienced necktie wearers do not get it right on their first attempt. This is especially true with a new tie. Sometimes the necktie material is thicker than other ties you have. This means more material will be used in the knot and you need to adjust the starting position (i.e., start with the wide end lower and the narrow end higher). Sometimes the knot just does not look right and no amount of adjusting makes it any better. That’s OK too! The important thing is, if it does not look right, you simply need to pull the wide end of the tie back up through the knot and start over.

Next, let us look at the Half Windsor knot. This is a smaller, more basic version of the Windsor. The Half Windsor is, like the Four in Hand knot, a smaller knot. Compared to the Four-in-Hand, the Half-Windsor is a bit thicker and wider.

How To Tie A Half-Windsor Knot

Half Windsor Knot
A Half Windsor Knot
  • Start with flipping your collar up and making sure the top button on your shirt is buttoned
  • Lay the necktie around your neck; making sure the inseam of the necktie is facing your body
    (You will do these first two steps no matter which knot you are tying)
  • Again, make sure the necktie around your neck has the wide end hanging a good 6-7 inches lower than the narrow end
  • Next bring the wide end of the necktie over the narrow end
  • Continue around and behind; making sure to hold the narrow end down with your other hand.
  • Take the wide end up and through the inside and pull it tight. The wide end should now be behind the knot and one side of the “V” should begin to take shape
  • Wrap the wide end around the front and then behind; be sure to leave some slack on the front side
  • Now take the wide end of the tie up from behind the “V” and then down and through the knot
    Do not tighten it up quite yet!
  • Pull the wide end down while pushing the knot up towards your neck to tighten it up.
  • Do some final adjusting and pull it tight
  • Make sure everything is centered and then flip your collar down
Half Windsor Knot

How are we doing so far?

Next, let us look at the Windsor knot. This knot is also called a Full-Windsor or a Double-Windsor knot. If you like a larger knot with a symmetrical look, the Windsor knot may be the right one for you. This knot, however, has a double-wrap and requires more material than the Four-in-Hand and the Half-Windsor. For this reason, if you are tall or have a large neck, you might want to consider using an extra long tie.

How To Tie a Windsor Knot

Full Windsor Knot
A Full-Windsor or Double-Windsor Knot
  • Start with flipping your collar up and making sure the top button on your shirt is buttoned
  • Lay the necktie around your neck; making sure the inseam of the necktie is facing your body
    (You will do these first two steps no matter which knot you are tying)
  • Again, make sure the necktie around your neck has the wide end hanging a good 7-8 inches lower than the narrow end (remember, you will need more material to tie a Windsor knot)
  • Next bring the wide end of the necktie over the narrow end
  • Continue by bringing the wide end of the tie up from behind, through and over. The wide end should now be in front of the knot and starting to form one side of the “V”.
  • Next, wrap the wide end around the back and, from the front, over and down the other side. At this point, the wide end of the tie will be on the inside of, and behind, the knot; between your shirt and the narrow end of the tie. This should form the other half of the “V” shape.
  • Wrap the wide end across the front and then behind; be sure to leave some slack on the front side
  • Now take the wide end of the tie up from behind the “V”, down and through the slack you left in the front. Do not tighten it up quite yet!
  • Pull the wide end down while pushing the knot up towards your neck to tighten it up
  • Do some final adjusting; making sure it is straight and then pull it tight
  • Make sure everything is centered and then flip your collar down
Full Windsor Knot

Well? How did you do?

Now that you have picked out the kind of knot you want to tie, let’s make sure it looks finished! Start by not rushing through the process. The perfect knot has a “dimpled” look; meaning, it has a crevice where the tie goes inside of the knot as seen in the image below.

How To Make A Dimple In Your Necktie

Half Windsor Dimple
Dimple

Making a dimple in your necktie knot is actually quite easy!

  • During the final steps of tying the knot, right before you tighten it up, slide a finger inside the loop and carefully fold the tie along the center
  • Fold the necktie all the way up through the knot to ensure the dimple stays in place
  • Carefully tighten the knot while pulling out your finger

If you find you are having difficulty making a dimple after several attempts, try a different necktie. Different fabrics make some ties better suited for a dimpled knot than others.

Many necktie wearers want to add some fashion as well as function by using accessories. A variety of necktie accessories can be used to help keep the necktie in place when walking in strong winds or when bending over to pick something up. In the image below, a “tie tack” is used to keep the wide and narrow ends of the necktie together. It also keeps the necktie close to the body while adding an element of style.

Types of Necktie Accessories

Tie Accessories Tie Tack
Tie Tack
  • Necktie Bar: Slides across the middle section of the necktie to keep it in place
  • Necktie Clip: This also attaches to the middle section of the necktie but clips into place
  • Necktie Tack: A pin, base and chain that also goes in the middle section of the necktie to help keep things from shifting
  • Necktie Chain: This is the same as the necktie bar but has a chain attached
  • Necktie Strap: This slips through the necktie label on the backside of the necktie and attaches to the shirts buttons. Note that some neckties do not have a label

In conclusion, everyone should have a basic knowledge of how to tie a necktie. When first learning, I recommended giving yourself a long tail to work with (i.e., the wide end of the necktie is a good distance below the short end). Remember, the type of material plays a factor in how much of a tail you need to start with and you might need to need to experiment a bit to find the right starting point. Whether you use accessories with your necktie or not is up to you but part of being well-dressed require a sharply tied and centered knot.

Neck Tie

Do you have a favorite necktie knot that you use? If so, share it with us in the comments and as always, if you have any questions let us know!

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