Wearing a tie is the ubiquitous sign of a man dressing up. It’s what you don before a job interview, a formal event, a wedding—and if you don’t know how to tie one yourself, it’s only going to add to the stress of preparing for the affair. That’s why it’s essential to learn some knot-tying skills so that when a big moment comes, you’ll be ready. Here's a guide to all the different types of tie knots you need to know!
The Starting Position
Before you begin, it helps to know a first step or two that will make the rest of the instructions easier to read. When tying any knot, you will almost always start out in the same position:
- Drape the tie around your neck so that both ends are out front.
- Pull down the thicker end so it has much more fabric than the thin end. Because you’ll be doing most of the tying with the thicker end, this gives you more material to work with.
Because tie lengths vary (and because no two necks are made alike), you may have to do some experimenting with your own ties before you arrive at a repeatable starting position for your ties.
The Half Windsor Knot
Video from Ties.com
- Strengths: Easy and quick to tie.
- Weaknesses: Can result in an asymmetric tie knot.
The Half Windsor is a simple, basic type of tie knot that’s easy to assemble and perfect for casual affairs. Because it’s easy to remember, it’s the ultimate tie knot for getting it finished in a hurry.
Start in your beginning position and move the long end of the tie over the short end, pull it around and under the neck loop, then bring the long end up through the center towards the neck loop. Pull it through the neck loop and to the opposite side, then across the front of the tie knot. Bring the long end under the neck loop and then through the front of the tie knot, then tighten.
The Full Windsor Tie Knot
Video from Ties.com
- Strengths: Appearance and symmetry.
- Weaknesses: Harder to achieve with smaller ties, and can often take longer.
A full Windsor is essentially a half Windsor with some extra steps to produce a more even and symmetrical type of tie knot. This is a great go-to knot for formal events when you want your tie to look “just right.”
To complete the knot, begin with the long end over the short end. This time, pull the long end under your neck loop and over again, back to the same side. Pull it under the short end and then bring it back around the neck loop. You’ve now created the base for your Windsor. Pull the flat end of the tie around the knot, under the neck loop, and finish by putting the long end of the tie through the knot.
Bow Tie Knot
Video from Ties.com
- Strengths: One of the only ways to get your bow tie to look right!
- Weaknesses: A little more difficult, especially when trying to achieve symmetry.
The last essential tie knot is the Bow Tie Knot, which is great for events like weddings.
To start with a bow tie knot, begin with one end longer than the other. Pull the long end over and around the short end, then under the neck loop. Hold that in place while you fold over the short end to create the base for the “bow.” Pull the long end over the center of this bow shape, then create a fold in the long end. Keep that pinched. Push this pinched end through the loop behind your bow. Pull on each layer of the bow to tighten it and to get the symmetrical shape you desire.
How Your Tie Should Look by the End
For a long tie, your tie should just end at your beltline—not going under it at all and certainly not going too far over it. Your bow tie should have the classic “bow” shape as if you were wrapping your own suit up as a present, but if it’s too asymmetrical, you may want to unwrap and try again.
Complement Your Tie With The Right Trousers
Of course, if you want to complete the look with your favorite type of tie knot, it helps to have some great clothes to go along with your perfectly-cinched ties. Browse the Berle men’s trousers collection for some great dress pants that, unlike ties, are easy to put on!