How to Tie a Tie

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What’s in a Knot?

You’ve seen it in the olden-day movies: the male lead struggles with a tie, the female lead comes to the rescue and graciously (if ever so slightly condescendingly) makes a perfect knot under his chin.

Nowadays, hardly anyone bothers with the art of tying a tie. However, just in case you desperately need to tie a knot and there’s no female help in sight, learn how to do it all by yourself.

They say it’s as easy as saying: ouat, which is short for:

  • Over
  • Under
  • Around
  • Through

Basically, that is all there is to making a perfect knot.

For those who are still bewildered, here are step-by-step instructions for tying:

Four-in-Hand Knot

  1. Put a tie around your neck, with the wide end on the side on your right (if you are right-handed; if you are left-handed, reverse).
  2. Find a seam on the front of the narrow end of the tie.
  3. Move the wide end over the narrow end so they cross each other on the seam.
  4. Pull the wide end under the narrow end.
  5. Bring the wide end around so it faces off to your left and under the narrow end again.
  6. Pull the wide end of the tie under the loop around your neck and down through the knot at the front of the tie.
  7. Tighten the knot by sliding it up the narrow end.

In these mirror-reflection images, mastering the four-in-hand knot looks like this:

 

how to tie a tie

 

 

 

how to tie a tie

The four-in-hand is an asymmetrical tie knot, the classic of tie knots. It is most widely used and simplest to tie. Four-in-hand goes well with almost all types of shirt collars and suits best men of medium height and tall men. Many men with shorter necks prefer the four-in-hand, because the knot at top is narrow and has a slimming effect on the rest of the neck.

Other popular kinds of knots are:

Pratt knot, a symmetrical knot that works well with most shirts and for most occasions;

Windsor knot, the aristocrat among tie knots that requires precise positioning between the two ends of the shirt collar;

Half-Windsor knot, probably invented to prevent men failing at the full Windsor from hanging themselves;

Plus a variety of exotic knots: Eldredge, Trinity, Cape, and so on.

 

By now you are probably wishing you had a butler, never mind the leading lady.

However, if you still do not want to give up on the honourable art of tying a tie, take note of these general tips:

  • Always tie a tie standing in front of a mirror.
     
  • Button your shirt all the way to the top and turn up your collar.
     
  • Make sure the wide end of the tie hangs about twice as low as the narrow end.
     
  • To make an impressive dimple on your tie, hold the top blade on both edges and then pull it down gently until the top blade starts to tighten. A slight convex will form close to the knot. Use your thumb and forefinger to press the bottom of the knot into a V-shape and the convex will deepen to form the dimple.

 

If you followed our “how to tie four-in-hand knot” instructions to the letter and still only managed to tie yourself in a knot… it might be time to go the pre-tied ties way! Hardly anyone will know the difference, and you will look just as elegant.

 

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