How to Tie a Tie, and Why!

Seven Steps to Tying the Windsor and Four-in-Hand Necktie Knots

Need to learn to tie a tie? The most popular necktie knots are the “Windsor” and the “Four-in-hand.” Read on while the DeCalo Fashion expert helps you learn to tie a tie in either knot.

The Four-in-Hand Knot

The four-in-hand knot creates a narrow knot that tends to lengthen the area around the throat. The knot is not perfectly symmetrical, which for some men makes it a difficult knot to form and position correctly, but the lack of symmetry can also make it more interesting. To learn to tie a necktie with the Four-in-Hand knot, follow this seven-step process:

  1. Flip up your collar and loop the necktie over your neck with the broad end down and toward the right. Let the broad end hang significantly longer than the narrow end. The back of the tie should rest against your shirt. It may take a few attempts to get the correct length, so take note of the length for your next attempt.
  2. Take the broad end in your right hand and the narrow end in your left hand. Pass the broad end of the necktie to the left above the narrow end.
  3. Between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, grip the point where the two ends cross. Continue to hold the necktie this way throughout the rest of the process, keeping your thumb firmly behind the knot.
  4. With your right hand, loop the broad end of the necktie around and below the left side, and then below the narrow end.
  5. Pull the broad end of the necktie across the font of your chest toward the right, and then around the front of the knot that is now beginning to form. The fingers of your left hand should now be inside the knot.
  6. Still holding the knot firmly between thumb and fingers, use your right hand to bring the broad end of the necktie up from behind the knot and then down through the opening. Pull the broad end down through the outermost loop of the knot.
  7. Continue to pull the broad end downward while you hold the knot with your left hand. Shape the knot with your right. Find a mirror to make the final adjustments as you hold the narrow end of the necktie firmly, slowly tightening the knot. Flip down your collar.

The Windsor Knot

The Windsor knot is more symmetrical than the Four-in-Hand, is easier to shape, but to some men it results in a less interesting knot. The knot tends toward bulkiness, which could be a problem for someone especially slender or with a necktie made of heavier fabric or with a thicker lining. To learn to tie a necktie with the Windsor knot, follow this seven-step process:

  1. Flip up your collar and loop the necktie over your neck with the broad end hanging down on your right. The broad end should be longer than the narrow end. The back of the tie should be against your shirt. It may take a few attempts to get it right, so take note of the length of the ends for your next attempt.
  2. Take the broad end of the necktie in your right hand and the narrow end in your left. Pass the broad end to the left above the narrow end.
  3. Between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, grip the necktie at the point where the two ends cross. You will continue to hold the necktie this way through the rest of the process. Your thumb should be firmly behind the knot as it forms.
  4. With your right hand, loop the broad end of the necktie around and below the left side, and below the narrow end.
  5. Pull the broad end of the necktie across the font of your chest toward the right, and then up to the opening at your neck. Put the end through the opening and pull it to down and toward the right. The back should be facing forward.
  6. Pass the broad end of the necktie toward the left across the front of the knot, then continue around to the back. As you hold the knot firmly with your left hand, bring the broad end of the tie up the back, and then down through the outermost loop of the knot.
  7. Pull the broad end of the necktie downward as you still hold the knot tightly with your left hand, shaping the knot with your right hand. Find a mirror to make the final adjustments as you hold the narrow end and slowly tighten the knot. Flip down your collar.

Follow the above instructions to learn how to tie a tie in either a “Windsor” or a “Four-in-hand” knot; both are popular. If you learn to tie a tie both ways, you will find the one that suits you best. A final note: the length of your tie is subject to style, but it should approach your belt buckle with the thin end a little shorter than the broad end.

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