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Three Must Know Knots

By alainhazan

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To many, tying a tie seems to be something complex usually left to mom or wifey (is there even a difference between the two?).  For even more, tying a tie can be such a a difficulty or a chore that once it has been tied, they will simply loosen it and leave it so.  Unfortunately, there is no scientific consensus or research to explicitly prove that keeping a tie tied is bad, but it is general knowledge among tie aficionados that doing so can ruin the shape and longevity of the tie, especially if it is made of silk.  By keeping a tie knotted, you are increasing amount of wrinkles within the tie each time you loosen and tighten it, making them look worn out, like yesterday’s boxers.  Like a well made suit, a tie is meant to be hanged so the material can rest.  Here you will find simple steps and videos to tying the most basic knots that every man should know.


The Simple Knot

We’ll start things off easy with what is known as the simple knot, or the four-in-hand, as you can see here:

fourinhandFour in Hand Knot


The first step is to put the tie around your neck.  For demonstrative purposes, make sure the thicker part of the tie hangs over your left side, and the thinner side on the right.  The wider tongue should be hanging significantly lower than the narrow tongue.  A difference of about twelve inches is common.



Take the thicker side and cross it over the thinner side towards the right and loop it behind and around the thinner side like in the second illustration from the left, in the above image.  The larger tongue should end up crossed over the smaller tongue like when you first crossed it over before the loop.

After the tie has been wrapped once around the thinner part, as mentioned above, slide the thicker tongue of the tie up into the space of the loop between your neck and barely-shaped knot, as can be seen in the third illustration from the left.  When completing this step, the front of the tie should be facing your neck while the back of the tie (the side with any brand tag) faces outwards.

You know you have correctly completed the last step if the thick part of the tie can hang completely down and cover the almost-complete knot you have made.

Next, hold the front end of the knot a bit so it is somewhat loose and then carefully slide in the thick part of the tie into the hole at the top of the knot and gently pull it through and to tighten it and close the knot.

Your completed knot should look something like this:



The simple knot is only looped around once and only from one side.  This is what gives it its asymmetrical look.  This kind of knot is ideal for skinny ties and small collared shirts.  It would not be recommended to use for a very formal even such as a wedding or ball.  It is more suitable for office work or other less formal events and occasions.

If you’re still having difficulty to get the knot right, check out this video from YouTube user tieatie.


The Windsor

The Windsor knot is the mack daddy of tie knots.  Also known as a Double Windsor or Full Windsor, its kind of like the bigger brother of the Half-Windsor.  The two types of knots are meant to be symmetrical and the only main difference between the two types of knots is that the Half-Windsor is better for skinnier ties and skinnier men because the knot ends smaller and less thick, once tied.  The Full Windsor knot is larger and is better for ties that have a thicker material, spread collars and larger men.  Both knots are essentially tied the same, with one or two small differences in the process, and both are perfect for more professional or elegant occasions.  If you are wearing a tie on your wedding day, or for a big presentation at work, the Windsor or Half-Windsor should be your knot of choice.

According to gentlmanly mythology, the knot is believed to have been invented by the King Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor.  Another story is that the knot was modelled to copy the way King George V (Edward’s dad) used to knot his ties.  You can read about the mysterious and shadowy history of this knot and the men believed to have created it here.




Like the Simple knot, and all other knots for that matter, begin the process of this knot by placing the wider end of the tie over your left side and the narrow end of the right.  Keep in mind that because this kind of knot is meant to be large, you need to make sure the wider end hangs significantly lower than the narrow end, otherwise your tie will end up being short or the narrow end may hang lower than the wider end.

Cross the thicker end of the tie over the narrow end towards the right.

Pull the wider end up through the loop between your tie and neck and hang it over towards the right, as you can see in step 2 in the image above.  Make sure the back of the tie is facing away from you when you are putting it through the loop.

Place the wide end behind the narrow end, pulling it towards your left side.

Pull the tie back up into the loop and pull it around as you just did in the step before the last, as seen in steps 5 and 6.  The back of the tie should be facing away from you by the end of this step.

In the next step, you will wrap the wider part of the tie over the narrow part towards the right.

Slide it up through the loop one more time like in step 2, with the back of the tie facing away from you and gently bring the thick end of the tie through the knot.  Pull at the knot carefully to tighten it, and there you have a Full Windsor!

The finished product should look like this:


This knot can be really tricky to perfect, so check out this great and very detailed video below by Gentleman’s Gazette to help you nail it.  It also provides you with info on which types of ties are best for this kind of knot and so on.  You will definitely feel more knowledgeable after watching it.

**Pro-tip:  The Full Windsor knot is the perfect companion to a power tie.

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