Learning how to tie a tie is one of the most important things that a man should know how to do. Even if you don’t have to wear a tie on a daily basis, there are moments and events when a tie is called for—it could be for a job interview, a wedding, or an important business meeting. And even if you know how to tie a tie, there are still different methods for different wardrobes and occasions, actually 85 ways according to Thomas Fink and Yong Mao.
However, there are four major tying methods that you should master to create different knot shapes and sizes. While there are more variations, knowing these four methods should more than enough to get you by for any wardrobe or occasion.
This is the most common and popular method. It’s a simple, yet elegant, small knot that is a bit asymmetric. Because of this, it can be worn at almost any event with a standard button-down dress shirt with a narrow collar opening and for medium-large thickness fabrics.
Also known as the Full Windsor or the Double Windsor, this features a thick, wide, and triangular tie knot that projects confidence and professionalism. This is the knot you want to wear for formal events, such as in a business presentation or job interview. It works best on spread collar shirts and for men with long necks, since the knot shortens the perceived height of the neck.
Half Windsor Knot
This symmetrical knot is a more modest and thinner version of the Windsor knot, but thicker than the Four In Hand knot and the Pratt Knot. The triangular knot can work with any dress shirt and somewhat wider neckties made from light to medium fabrics, such as polyester or wool. It’s assertive and can be worn for any occasion.
This knot, also known as the Shelby Knot, creates neater and tidier tying method. It begins differently than other methods, since it starts off upside down. The symmetric and low-medium thick knot works on any dress shirt with somewhat wider neckties made from light to medium fabrics. It’s a great alternative to the Windsor. However, because of its similarities to the Windsor, it can be worn in nearly any type of semi-formal to formal affair. Finally, it looks great on men with moderately sized faces.
After you’ve found your knot, you want to make sure that it’s the proper length. Here’s great advice from Neckties.com:
A necktie is tied to the proper length when the tip of the tie lies directly in line with the bottom of your belt buckle. If you are having problems getting the desired length for you necktie, you might need to use a different style of knot. Check out the knot styles to see which ones will make the tie shorter or longer. The Windsor will be the thickest knot, making your tie length shorter, followed by the Half Windsor and the Four-In-Hand, which will be a smallest knot.
Finally, there’s the dimple in the tie that completes the look. To accomplish this, here’s what you’ll need to do:
When you are done tying your tie, but before you have completely tightened the knot, hold your finger on the center of the necktie slightly inside the knot. Then you simply push on the middle of the tie and squeeze the edges as you tighten the knot. The dimple will work best with the Windsor and Half Windsor knots. If you are using a Four-In-Hand knot it will be tough to get a nice looking dimple.