At a certain point in your life, there are skills that every man should you have. You should know how to change a tire on your car, how to iron a shirt, how to grill a steak, and how to tie a tie.
Tying a tie properly is a skill that reaches across both personal and professional lines. You need to know how to tie a tie for everything from a day on the job to a date with someone special. But it’s not just knowing how to tie a tie that matters. It’s knowing how to tie one well.
You’re not in eighth grade anymore getting ready for the spring dance.
1. The Four In Hand
The Four in hand knot is also known as a schoolboy knot because it is relatively easy to tie, but don’t let that fool you, it’s still a versatile knot that can take you well beyond the schoolyard.
Here’s how to tie it.
Begin with the wide end on your left side, about 8 inches below the skinny end. Cross the wide end over the skinny end and bring it underneath the skinny end. Then bring the wide end over the skinny end again and pull it through the loop. With the knot held loosely, slide the wide end through the loop and tighten the knot with a dimple.
2. The Half Windsor
This is probably the one that your dad first taught you how to tie by putting it around his neck first. You’ve probably worn ties this way to weddings or work, but maybe you’re a little rusty on the classic form. Here’s a little refresher.
You begin with the wide end on your right. It should be about 8 inches or so below the skinny end. Take the wide end over the skinny end and bring it under the loop. Then take the wide end over and through the loop.
The back end of the tie should fall through onto your right hand. Now take the tie over the knot from left to right and bring it through the loop. Finally, take the wide end through the knot, and tighten it with a little dimple.
3. The Full Windsor
The full Windsor knot radiates confidence. It’s a large asymmetrical triangular knot that is full and thick, and looks elegant on any occasion. It is considered by many to be the perfect knot, but it can be a little tricky. Master the Full Windsor and you can get your knot-tying badge for sure. Here’s how.
Begin with the wide end of the tie on your left side, about a foot below the skinny end. Then take the wide end over the skinny end. Bring the wide end under the cross and through the loop. You should have the wide end on your right side.
Moving from left to right, take the wide end under the knot, and then through the loop from the outside. The wide end will now be on your left side. Now, moving from left to right, wrap the wide end over the knot and bring it underneath and through the loop. Then slide the wide end through the knot and adjust its tightness.
4. The Bow Tie
You might not be a super macho guy that has to speculate on what real men do and don’t do, but you’re still pretty sure that real men don’t wear bow ties that clip in the back of the neck.
You’ve got to know how to tie your own bow tie. Yes, it’s notoriously complicated, but it’s also really gratifying.
With the tie around your neck, begin with the right side slightly longer than the left side. Place the longer end over the shorter end to create an X. Then loop the longer end behind the X.
Pull the ends so that the knot is nice and snug against your neck. This cannot be adjusted later.
With your index finger on the widest part of the curve of the shorter end, fold it to create a bow shape. Then place the folded tip across your collar with the short end close to your neck.
Holding the bow with your left hand, bring the longer end down in front of the folded end.
Position it so that it hangs down in front of the shorter end. With your right hand, pinch and fold the longer end toward your chest. With the longer end hanging in front of the shorter end, tuck its folded tip behind the tip of the short end.
You now have 2 sets of wing shapes, and a long strip that sits on top of them.
Tug the loops that are behind the wings to tighten the knot. Finally, adjust the wings by holding down the middle of the knot.
5. The Pratt
The pratt knot has been around for a pretty long time, but you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s a pretty simple, uneven knot with a medium size that makes it perfect for just about any occasion. Here’s how to do it.
Drape the tie over your neck with the back seams of the tie facing out. The wide end of the tie should be about 1 or 2 inches below where you want the tie to stop once it’s tied.
Take the wide end under the skinny end to form an X. Then pass the wide end through the loop and back to the right side.
Pull the wide end down with its back facing out, and then flip the tip of the wide end so that it is facing left. Bring the wide end across the knot and coming from underneath the knot, slide the wide end through the loop. The tip of the wide end should now be facing downward, and you pull it through the horizontal band. Now all you have to do is adjust it.
Take on the World One Knot at a Time
All of these knots will probably take you some lengthy practice in front of a mirror to get right, but once you’ve mastered them you’ll be both stylish and unstoppable.