Which Tie Knot Is Right For Your Shirt Collar?

by   |  in Style Tips

The following is a guest article from Rishi of The Dark Knot, provider of exquisite hand made silk ties, pocket squares, and lapel flowers. He’s offering you, dear EG reader, 25% off your purchase! Just use code EG25 at checkout.

Here are some of my favorites: Berkshire, Kent, Nantucket, Wilton, Windsor, Woodstock.


With the recent renaissance in men’s fashion, it’s no surprise that the contemporary dapper gent is paying closer attention to the pieces he wears on a daily basis.

More importantly, he’s paying attention to the proportion and fit of each piece.

After all, as the saying goes, ‘it all begins with fit’. You can attempt to dazzle with your patterns and color, but if the fit is off, it’s all gone to waste.

Cue the tie knot.

The tie knot you choose is as important as deciding what type of tie to wear in the first place.

Yes, the way your accessories fit, specifically with regards to neckties, is of paramount importance. This should be a reflection of your collar style, which should be a reflection of your facial structure. So it all begins with your body type and facial structure.

Slim Face

Slim faces are best suited with a spread collar. A spread collar is distinguished by observing significant space between the collar points (forms more than a 90 degree angle).

How to Choose The Right Tie Knot and Shirt Collar Style
spread collar, Half Windsor knot (click to see tie)

The purpose of one’s collar with a slim face should be to de-emphasize the narrowness of one’s face and serve to emphasize perceived horizontal lines (i.e serve to accentuate how broad the individual looks).

For a wide spread collar, a Half or Full Windsor knot is the ideal knot of choice.

Editor’s note: We have a post describing a few of our other favorite knots, such as the Pratt and the Double Four In Hand. See here.

A full body knot such as a Half or Full Windsor will fill the space between the collar points, and (similar to the collar style itself) it will emphasize the ‘broadness’ of the wearer’s ensemble, thus taking attention away from the fact that the wearer’s face is more angular.

The great thing about choosing an appropriate collar if you have a slim face (i.e wide spread collar) is that you can ensure that you will always be immaculately dressed with a Half or Full Windsor knot.

Never will you have to worry about not being adequately presented in more formal situations such as interviews or weddings!

Round Face

For a gentleman with a rounder face, a point collar is the best pairing.

How to Choose The Right Tie Knot and Shirt Collar Style
point collar, Four In Hand knot (click to see tie)

The pointed collar shirt is the most conventional. Typically made with a narrow to medium spread, it is a versatile look found on approximately 90% of men’s shirts.

The prevalence of this shirt is largely predicated on the construct being neutral for most men, and hence the most accessible. Key features of a pointed collar shirt are that the collar points are close together.

With a round face, one wants to detract from horizontal lines and emphasize vertical attributes for the wearer. Hence, a point collar shirt helps to detract from a wider frame and places the emphasis from top to bottom.

In conjunction with a narrower collar spread, a Four In Hand knot looks most apt. Given that it fills just the right amount of space between the shirt collar points, a Four In Hand knot, like the short collar, does serve to lengthen the wearer face’s and detract from perceived width.

If you are looking to dress more formally and are looking for a knot that is more substantive than the Four In Hand, at most opt for the Half Windsor. A Full Windsor knot should be reserved for spread collars.

Oval Face

For the aspiring dapper gent with an oval face, one is afforded the most flexibility with regard to collar styles. Generally, a medium or wide spread collar will work.

How to Choose The Right Tie Knot and Shirt Collar Style
semi-spread, Pratt knot (click to see tie)

However, given that this facial profile fits in between that of a round face and an angular / slim face, one is more free to wear a Four In Hand or Half Windsor knot with a medium spread collar, or a Half Windsor / Full Windsor knot with a full spread collar!

A few of EG’s favorites from Dark Knot

Consider the function or occasion

In addition to facial structure considerations, paying attention to the occasions you are wearing a tie for can be useful in determining the type of tie knot.

If, for example, you are out on the town in a social setting with friends and are strutting a skinny tie, it is best to pair a Four In Hand knot with a narrower spread collar.

Given that a skinny tie by nature does not comprise of a large amount of fabric and is skinny throughout, a more vertical knot such as the Four In Hand knot will most likely complement your ensemble.

Conversely, if you are attending a gala fundraiser or a cocktail reception, a larger knot will look more professional. Again, facial considerations should be taken into account. Hence, if you are slimmer, with a more angular face, you can opt for a Full Windsor knot.

However, if you have a rounder face, instead of opting for a Four In Hand, you can go for a Half Windsor and thereby still settle for a truly professional look.

Consider the Necktie Fabric

In addition to paying attention to facial structure considerations and the type of event one is attending, your choice of necktie can also help determine which knot is best to tie.

For ties that are interlined with wool or have a thicker interlining in general, a Half or Full Windsor Knot will look more exquisite. Similarly, silk ties with thinner interlining would be best suited with a four in hand knot.

Editor’s note: I also would consider the opposite. Ties with thicker interlining produce thicker knots in general, so I would try a Four In Hand in order to avoid an overly-large knot. For ties with thinner interlining, I like going with a Half Windsor for a knot that is more substantial, or my preferred method, the Pratt knot.

A Quick Summary

The following should be paid attention to when discerning which type of tie knot and shirt collar styles to wear when dressing up:

1. The right collar for your face shape

Wider spread collars are best suited for men with angular faces, thereby helping to accentuate a sense of broadness. Conversely, narrow pointed collars will best complement men with a round face, and thereby help to emphasize perceived vertical lines and length.

For men with an oval face, a medium spread collar can work, as their facial structure affords significantly more flexibility.

2. The right knot for your collar

Wide spread collars are best worn with a Half or Full Windsor Knot, point collar shirts are best paired with a Four in Hand Knot, while a medium spread collar offers more flexibility and can be worn with a Four in Hand, Half Windsor or Full Windsor Knot.

3. The right knot for the occasion

The type of event or occasion you are attending can also influence the type of knot being worn.

If dressing up for a social night with a skinny tie, you are best off opting for a Four in Hand Knot. However, attending a cocktail party or a gala fundraiser would be best complemented by a Half Windsor or Full Windsor Knot.

4. The right fabric for the knot

The type of necktie fabric you are wearing should also be a consideration when choosing what type of tie knot to wear.

Thicker ties with woolen interlining are best suited with Half and Full Windsor Knots, while thinner ties with a polyester interlining are best worn with a Four in Hand Knot.


Thanks, Rishi.

I asked him for a bit more background on the ties he carries at The Dark Knot. He summarizes below, and in addition, is giving all EG readers 25% off sitewide. Just use code EG25 at checkout:

The Dark Knot carries 120 exquisite, hand made silk ties across a range of patterns over both woven and printed silk.  Our philosophy at The Dark Knot goes beyond providing the market with luxurious, affordable silk ties.  We are more concerned with helping men dress better.

Our site features an extensive necktie guide, along with a men’s style blog that provides aspiring dapper gentlemen with an array of articles pertaining to dressing better. We also offer an extensive filtered search where one can find ties based on matching suits, matching shirts and even the type of occasion that they are attending!

In line with our philosophy, each of our neckties comes presented in an elegant black gift box with a card with recommendations for matching suits and shirts.

This holiday season, we are building out our accessories platform with lines of exquisite hand made pocket squares and lapel flowers.

All Effortless Gent readers are entitled to a sitewide 25% discount using the following code at checkout: EG25

BOOM. There ya have it!

Hopefully this helps clear up the “Which tie knot works best with this collar?” question.

Anything else you’d like to know regarding collars and ties? Let us know in the comments.