How to Tie a Tie: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Easy Knots

Office dress codes have become so relaxed that some men have never even had to wear a necktie. That's all good... until one day you find yourself in a situation where no-tie isn't an option.

As you can see from this handy-dandy infographic on how to dress for the office, a “business professional” office means men must wear neckties. Yet so many offices have relaxed their dress codes to “business casual” or “smart casual” you may have either forgotten how to tie a tie or never learned properly in the first place. The trouble arises when you suddenly find yourself in a situation where the tie is not optional—an important presentation, a fancy party, or a new dress code thanks to a new boss or job. No worries. We’ve got you covered with our guide to how to tie a tie—not one, but three ways (and if you’re a woman, we’ve got you covered too with these classic dresses every career woman should own).

Basic Level: Four in Hand

The Four in Hand Knot is the simplest tie knot. Slightly asymmetrical, but narrow, it works well with wide neckties made from heavy fabrics and flatters shorter, thicker necks. It tends to hang lower than more complicated knots, simply by virtue of the fact that it involves fewer loops (so shorter men may find that the Four in Hand dangles a bit low).

  • Thread the tie through your collar, right-side out (the side you want to be showing to the world).
  • Take the wide side (W), and pull it down so it’s dangling about 12″ lower than the narrow side (N)
  • Cross W over N (everything is still right-side out)
  • Cross W behind N (W is now inside out)
  • Cross W over N again (everything is right-side out again, and you have the beginnings of a knot)
  • Hold onto the beginnings of the knot with your thumb and forefinger as you fold W behind N and bring W up through the loop around your neck (W should now be dangling loose over N, everything right-side out again)
  • Slide W through the loop that has formed around N.
  • Tighten the knot to your collar by holding the narrow end and sliding the knot up.

Level 2: Half Windsor

Just a teeny bit more complicated than the Four in Hand, the Half Windsor is a good choice for men who prefer a medium-sized symmetrical knot. Like the Four in Hand, it works well with wide ties, but ideally with light to medium fabrics.

  • Thread the tie through your collar, right-side out (the side you want to be showing to the world).
  • Take the wide side (W), and pull it down so it’s about 12″ lower than the narrow side (N)
  • Cross W over N (everything is still right-side out)
  • Cross W behind N (W is now inside out)
  • Bring W up over the knot you’re beginning to form near your collar and thread it behind N (W will now be dangling behind N, inside-out, and you will have formed a distinct inside-out looking knot, but you’re not done yet)
  • Fold W across that inside-out knot (W is right-side out again and covering up the inside-outness of the knot)
  • Hold onto the almost-knot as you fold W behind N and bring W up through the loop around your neck (W should now be dangling loose over N, everything right-side out again)
  • Slide W through the loop that has formed around N.
  • Tighten the knot to your collar by holding the narrow end and sliding the knot up

Level 3: Windsor Knot

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The Windsor Knot is a thick, wide, symmetrical knot. If you’ve got a long neck, or if you’re a fan of large knots, you might like the Windsor. If you’re wearing a wide spread collar, then the Windsor may provide the perfect proportion of tie to collar. That said, GQ calls the Windsor Knot “fussy.” And if you’re planning on trying to win the trust of James Bond, then you’ll want to steer clear—007 once said that he does not trust men who wear the Windsor Knot.

  • Thread the tie through your collar, right-side out (the side you want to be showing to the world).
  • Take the wide side (W), and pull it down so it’s dangling about 14″ lower than the narrow side (N)
  • Cross W over N.
  • Cross W behind N and bring it up through the loop you’ve now formed around your neck (W will now be dangling in front of N, right-side out)
  • Cross W behind N once again (W should be dangling inside out).
  • Cross W in front of N and thread it behind the knot you’ve formed around your neck (W is now dangling inside out behind N)
  • Fold W across the knot (W is right-side out again)
  • Hold onto the knot as you fold W behind N and bring W up through the loop around your neck (W should now be dangling loosely over N, everything right-sound out again)
  • Slide W through the loop that has formed around N.
  • Tighten the knot to your collar by holding the narrow end and sliding the knot up

Now that you’ve got the dress code down, don’t miss this guide to your most annoying co-workers, and how to avoid being one of them!

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