It’s Time to Learn How to Tie a Tie

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Photo courtesy of Cooper Vineyards Photography

Knowing how to tie a tie is an important part of being a man.  Whether you’re in high school and are dressing up for game day, or you’re a grown man and have an important meeting (or you know, a 9-5 job) this is an essential skill every man must possess.  If you’re truly a skilled gentleman you’ll go even one step further and know which knot belongs with which collar, which knot looks best for your face shape, and which knots you should just stay the hell away from.  In case you haven’t learned these imperative skills yet, we’re here to teach you.

In the following sections you will learn how to tie every knot you’ll ever need to know–and then some.  So listen up, pay attention, and get ready to take an important step into manhood.  This is how to tie a tie.

Already know the knot you’re looking for?  Skip right to it.  Prefer your advice in infographic form?  We’ve got that too.

The Oriental Knot

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This is the perfect knot for the tie wearing beginners, or those in a big rush.  It’s simple, it has very few steps, and it is pretty symmetrical, making it good with most semi-spread collars.  The only downside?  It isn’t self-releasing, so it can be a bigger pain to untie than some of the others.  Of course, you rarely have to get a tie off as quickly as you need to throw it on.

Basically, this is your no-fuss, always acceptable knot.

Here’s how to tie it:

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The Four-in-Hand

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One of the most common knots, likely due to its simplicity, the four-in-hand is a slightly slimmer, more tapered knot.  This is your generic knot that will work well with most collars, and should always be your goto knot for a knit tie.  Plus, sometimes the asymmetrical look can balance out the uniformity of a suit, which is a good thing.  Put together is great, put together with a little edge is even better.

Here’s how to tie it:

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The Half Windsor


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A personal favorite, and goto knot for lovers of semi-spread collars, the half windsor knot is a slight step up from the beginning level of tie wearing without getting too complicated.  This is the knot you should be wearing with your suit.  Also, make sure you get the dimple right, it will add that much more dapperness to the overall look of the outfit.

Great for making the right first impression.  It also says “I know what I’m doing” slightly more than the previous two.

If you need to know how to tie one tie, this is the one.

How to tie it:

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The Full Windsor


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The knot to help you channel your inner Ari Gold, this is the power knot.  Refrain from tying this one before any interviews, but if you’re at CEO status wanting to portray power in the room, this should be your choice.  The full windsor works great with semi or full spread collars, but the sheer size of the knot can look awkward on men with smaller heads, so make sure everything looks proportionate.

To be honest, we see this knot more often than we should.  Reserve this for big occasions, and don’t make it your day-to-day knot.

Here’s how to tie it:

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The Prince Albert


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The Prince Albert knot is a slightly more upscale version of the four-in-hand.  It has the same tapered feel as the four-in-hand with some added bulk to it.  This knot is a great choice for knit ties, or any tie worn with a pointed collar shirt.

We like the look of this knot under leather jackets, and less on a formal suit.  It’s a fun knot, and should be worn as such.

Here’s how to tie it:

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Diagram courtesy of our friends at Ties.com

The Kelvin


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Another knot with a four-in-hand feel, but slightly more debonaire.  The Kelvin is a pretty standard knot, with the tiniest bit of flair added by the inverted tail–which is rarely seen.  When we picture this knot we see it on a college professor, or a public attorney.  Might not be the most stylish of the bunch, but it has its place nonetheless.

Here’s how to tie it:

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Diagram courtesy of our friends at Ties.com

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The Pratt


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A similar build and look to the half windsor, in a slightly smaller size.  This knot is great with suits, marginally spread collars, and slim fit shirts (which you should be wearing either way).  This is a man’s man knot, and one of our favorites.  Learn it, live by it, love it.

Plus, this is a great alternative to men who want the windsor look but have smaller features and don’t want to look disproportionate.

Here’s how to tie it:

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The Bowtie


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Feared by veterans and rookies alike, tying a bowtie can be a daunting task.  However, if you’re going to any real black tie event then wearing one is a necessity.  And you don’t ever want to be the guy with a clip on.  If done right, the bowtie can look more dapper and elegantly mansome than most of it’s long friends.  Do it wrong and you look like a Bill Nye train wreck.

Choose your situations with caution and don’t overdo it, but when you wear it, rock it with extreme confidence.

Here’s how to tie it:

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Diagram courtesy of our friends at Ties.com

The Eldredge


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For the quirky dude in the bunch.  Personally, I can’t ever recommend you actually wear this.  You will simply become “that guy,”– and not in a good way.  But I have seen it done on numerous occasions, so clearly there are men out there with different opinions than my own.  If you do decide to go with this knot, use it for a fun situation and keep it out of black tie events.

You don’t want to be the guy in their friends wedding photos wearing this, remember that 20 years from now everyone will still be laughing at your poor choices.

Here’s how to tie it:

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Diagram courtesy of our friends at Ties.com

The Trinity


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This interesting take on ties is a more recent one.  Constructed to look similar to a Celtic Triquetra, the trinity is a larger knot that looks slightly rounded when done correctly.  Like the knot before this, we aren’t sure when one would actually need to wear this, nor are we sure anyone ever should.  But, to each their own.  We’re here to teach, not to judge.  So in the interest of learning from your mistakes, here ya go.

If you do decide to opt for this knot, stay away from pointed collar shirts.

Here’s how to tie it:

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Diagram courtesy of our friends at Ties.com

The Murrell


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This is a kind of layered windsor knot, very symmetrical, inverted, yet smaller than the traditional windsor.  This is the kind of playful knot we would expect to see on Bill Nye should he decide to go long instead of bow.

Here’s how to tie it:

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The Balthus


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This giant knot is not for the faint of heart.  Significantly larger than the windsor, the Balthus is the biggest knot on our list.  It is very symmetrical and should be worn with wider spread collars.  If done right, this knot can give off the “I’m in charge” vibe, so consider what message you want to send out that day.  This can be great if you are indeed in charge, not so much if you’re an intern.

Here’s how to tie it:

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The Van Wijk


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A longer, slimmer version of the Prince Albert, this knot is an adventurous choice for pointed collar shirts.  Getting it right isn’t easy, and can potentially turn into the kind of knot you can’t get undone, but if you do it right it’s sure to get noticed.

This knot can add some great style points to any wardrobe if done correctly, and add some great laughs to the night for everyone else if it isn’t.

Here’s how to tie it:

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Diagram courtesy of our friends at Ties.com

How to Tie a Tie

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Now that you know how it’s done, choose correctly, go forth, and impress.  Make sure the knot fits with the spread of your collar, and accentuates the right features of your neck, face, and jawline.  Now that you know how to tie a tie you have one more important piece of man knowledge, and knowing how to tie a tie should last you a lifetime, sir.

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  1. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide on How to Tie a Scarf - Life, Tailored

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