Whether you’ve been wearing ties since grade school, or you’re 35 and just learning how to tie one, you only need to know these two ways to tie a tie.

1. The Four-In-Hand

Standard. Classic. Looks great with many different collar styles. Easy to learn.



Alternative: Double Four-In-Hand

Similar to the Four-In-Hand. A little more flair and uniqueness. I tend to go with a double four-in-hand over the regular because it produces a slightly more substantial knot.



2. The Windsor

The Windsor knot is larger than the four-in-hand, more symmetrical, and looks great with spread and cutaway collars.



Alternative: The Pratt

I use the Pratt knot more than the Windsor; the actual knot is a bit smaller, yet still symmetrical. (Note that you could also do the Half Windsor. I just happen to like the Pratt more.)

Looks great with spread and semi-spread collars. A bit more flexible than the Windsor.



“What about all the other ways to tie your tie?”

Ignore all the other corny shit you find on the internet about cutesy ways to tie your tie.

If you’re a man, use one of the knots above. Only boys who need to stand out feel they have to get creative with their tie knots.

Stand out by dressing well, and that’s all you need. Make sure to knot fall into the same trap. (See what I did there?)

Special thanks to ties.com for producing awesome graphics and videos, so I don’t have to.

Learn a few shortcuts to dressing well

Enter your first name and email, and I'll send you a free eGuide with quick and easy tips you can use today.

13 Responses

  1. Sean S. on

    I’ve used the four-in-hand almost exclusively because it’s just about the only knot you can use if your over 6 feet tall and don’t buy extra long ties. The Half-Windsor isn’t bad. The Windsor is our of the question, unless you want to look like Oliver Hardy.

    • Barron on

      Yep, for taller guys, the Windsor loops so much, you either end up w/ an appropriate-length blade and a short tail, or a balanced blade and tail w/ the blade (front) being waaay too short. FIH FTW

    • Matt Dalton on

      I’m not as tall as you Sean, but also prefer the half Windsor knot to the Windsor knot, primarily because it’s less bulky and I don’t wear spread collars often.

      The half Windsor is my most used knot followed by the FIH. I find that FIH is best for knit ties, though.

      Barron, I will have to give the Pratt knot a try to see how I like it compared to the half Windsor. Thanks for a good article that makes it clear that we can keep it simple and only need a couple of basic knots to look good.

  2. Dan J. on

    “Only boys who need to stand out feel they have to get creative with their tie knots.” That’s harsh, man. I agree with your take for my personal style on knots – I almost exclusively use either a four-in-hand or a half-Windsor, depending on the spread of the collar and the casualness of the look. I’ll occasionally use a full Windsor for certain more formal outfits with spread collars. But there are other things you recommend that just don’t fit my style. For example, I don’t wear sneakers for anything but engaging in some kind of athletics or work around the house. They’re the first thing you list in your “Six Shoes” article. But I’m not going to tell you to quit wearing boy’s shoes because you rock a pair. If you like sneakers, then by all means wear them and I’ll stick with my bucks or driving mocs or boat shoes. And if someone else likes to make a statement with the knots of their ties, they can do their thing and I’ll stick with mine. I don’t have any problem with recommending a certain approach or look. But I don’t see any need to question someone else’s maturity because they disagree on a particular style rule or choice.

    • Barron on

      You’re telling me that you can take a guy seriously who wears knots like these? http://effgnt.co/1DyKhfP Not me.

      I’m pretty sure in that Six Shoes article, I mention sneakers are great for casual / athletic use, and not much else. Just like how flip-flops are great for when you’re at the beach or the pool, and not much else.

      • Dan J. on

        Peace, Barron. I’m really not trying to harsh your mellow. I’m actually a fan, not a hater. I enjoy your site and think you offer some great advice.

        I absolutely agree with your overall thesis here. And no, I wouldn’t take a guy who wore those knots with a business outfit seriously, any more than I’d take a guy who wore sneakers with a suit seriously. (And I understand you’re not at ALL recommending that for sneakers.) But if someone wanted to use one of those knots with an eclectic Friday night outfit? Eh, not me but go ahead and do your thing, dude. The only thing I objected to was your penultimate paragraph. I think you can say “These are the classics and this is all you need” without saying “If you depart from these, you’re an immature little boy begging for attention.” Keep up the great work.

  3. Max on

    Good stuff, and much appreciated. Could you do a piece on How-to-Dimple, their different styles, history, social significance etc?

  4. Ian Voll on

    I disagree with the four in a hand or pratt. both of these are asymmetrical and lean to one side. I prefer the nicky knot, it is similar in size and works well for a narrow spread but it is nice and even

  5. Simon on

    I’ve only ever used a Windsor knot once as part of a wedding suit. Other than that it’s always just been a four in hand and to be honest I’ve never felt the need for anything else.

  6. Ben on

    My go-to is the half-windsor. It is an asymmetrical knot, but that’s why I like it. I think it adds visual interest. I also often use the full windsor, as above, especially when I wear a pullover that hides a good portion of my tie (unless I’m using the sweater to dress down, rather than dress up). If you want a knot that’s the same size, but symmetrical, I agree with some other posters…use the Nicky knot.

    I haven’t used the four-in-hand since college, and I don’t think it’s actually looked good on me since probably high school. It’s just too small. It might look okay on a smaller guy with a wide tie, but if we’re considering usual proportions, I think the four-in-hand looks a bit too sophomoric.