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All You Need to Know About Ties: Part 3 - Tie Knots

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Different types of tie knots and President Obama wearing a Half Windsor tie

Once you’ve chosen the style of tie, the fun’s not over. You’ve come to the right part of the guide to learn the different ways to tie a tie knot. As ties were once a staple of men’s fashion (and some would argue, still are), dozens of ways to tie a tie have evolved. Ways to knot a tie range from the appropriately named Simple Knot to the outrageously extravagant (and difficult to tie) Eldredge and Trinity Knots.

But most men don’t feel the need to learn and use hundreds of intricate tie knots. We’d have to agree. Master these four essential tie knots and you’ll be well-equipped in all necktie-wearing situations.

For the different types of ties and tie patterns, see Part 1 of this guide. To find out about different tie materials and fabrics, see Part 2.

Four-In-Hand Knot

brown and black striped four-in-hand knot tie

Considered the “standard”, a Four-in-Hand knot is one of the easiest ties to tie. It’s a small knot that’s narrow and asymmetric. A four-in-hand is many men’s preferred choice for everyday office wear, because it’s relaxed and casual. It’s versatile though, and appropriate for all but the most formal of occasions. It pairs well with a dress shirt for business and slips just as easily into relaxed social gatherings, loosened around an unbuttoned collar.

Half Windsor Knot

red houndstooth Half Windsor knot tie

The Half Windsor is another beginner-friendly and easy to tie knot. Not too large, symmetrical and triangular in shape, it’s arguably the most popular knot. The knot’s versatility means it works well with a variety of collars, including spread, point and button-down. In other words, it’s a classic, and perfect for work or play. You can wear it anyway knowing you’ll look good.

Full Windsor Knot

Harvey Spector wearing a Full Windsor or Double Windsor knot tie

The Full Windsor or Double Windsor is a power knot. It’s basically a larger and more formal version of the Half Windsor. Though a more advanced knot to tie, it pays big dividends at more traditional, formal business meetings to convey self-assurance.It’s a big knot, so sits well under a wide spread collar. However, because it’s so big, thick ties such as knit ties, will look ridiculous. Use a classic, long silk tie to tie the Full Windsor.

Bow Tie

floral bow tie

There are three types of bow ties: the self-tie, the pre-tied and the clip-on. However, there’s only one way to tie a bow tie, and that’s with a self-tie. It takes some patience to practice and get right, but a style-conscious man can tell with a glance if your bow tie is pre-tied or clip-on. Though the pre-tied bow tie is easy to put on, they lack the slight asymmetries that lend character to a self-tie. Clip-ons are recommended only for children.

Every man should find a reason to don a bow tie every now and then. The most common place to see a bow tie is at a black tie event. Unless this is a wedding, most of us won’t have too many of these opportunities. So if you don’t like taking risks at business events or “semi-formal” affairs, then perhaps your best chance to wear a bow tie is in casual settings, where it can be a standalone fashion statement or accessory of distinction.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to looking good. Through your choice of tie pattern, style and fabric, you can distinguish yourself. Nothing says smart-dressed like a handsome suit with a tie, carefully chosen to go hand-in-hand. Let Joe Button take care of the suit, and your job will be so much easier. Book a fitting today.

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