We may earn a small commission from product links. Blog posts at Nimble Made are written to provide value and advice for our readers—any product(s) we recommend are items readers use and love.
Written by Tanya Zhang
Your fashion style is incredibly important, especially in the work environment or for job interviews. You might ask "should I wear a tie to an interview"? The type and the way you wear your clothing can tell people lots of detail about the way you want to present yourself and some of your habits, your approach, and much more.
A key component to your fashion arsenal is your tie and the way you tie a tie knot. You wouldn’t think of wearing a tie to every event, but there’s a tie for every occasion! A bow tie, on the other hand, is much more formal and less flexible in the ways you can wear or style them. Here's a guide on how to tie bow ties.
There’s plenty of information to know about what kind of tie, how to knot it, and what these can stand for and represent. The smallest details do matter, especially in the sense of fashion. A general rule of thumb also is to pair your tie with a slim fit dress shirt. Here's a guide on some shirt and tie combinations.
Things To Look Out For Tie Knots
Necktie knots are a significant piece to your outfit. However, there are certain aspects of the tie and the knot itself that can affect your collared shirt and it will not look appealing or it won’t be able to utilize its full potential. When choosing which knot to use, here are some details to look out for:
When you finish your tie knot, there are different knot sizes. Choosing an appropriate knot size is crucial because if any part of the knot is covered by the collar or any piece of clothing you wear, it defeats the purpose of wearing a tie. The knot size should be equally ratioed with the size of the collar of the dress shirt that you’re wearing. If the knot size is too small, the tie length around the neck loop will be exposed and is not a pleasant look. The size needs to be considered when choosing which knot style and also your dress shirt collar size.
Where should a Tie End
Tie knots also have varying tie lengths. This also affects the knot size as well because depending on the knot size, it may require more tie length, resulting in a shorter tie length for the wider tie part that is supposed to reach your belt line. For an acceptable presentation, your tie should be able to reach your belt line after it’s been knotted. Anything shorter or longer will be weird and show that you’re not aware of the details for how long your tie should be. Especially for taller people or if you want a more full or bigger knot, you’ll need a longer tie.
Tie Width may not be something you may think about all the time, but it’s an important aspect because it affects the knot size. If the tie is wider, then your tie knot will be larger as well. This should be taken into consideration when you’re deciding what dress shirt to wear. Also your tie width should generally be similar to your jacket lapel and in general, your body shape as well. If you tend to lean towards the bigger size, then a wider tie width would be better! There are our favorite slim fit ties from Nimble Made.
Necktie Knot Symmetry
Some tie knots result in a symmetrical pattern, while some aren’t and are asymmetrical. Depending on how you proceed, sometimes you can make the uneven tie knots to be more even, but not for every knot.
Didn’t think about this feature? The material your tie is made from also affects your tie knot because if the material is thick, it would make your knot larger, even if it’s a skinny tie!
Tie print or the design is another angle that should be considered because if the print is something that is complex or something you want to highlight, then you don’t want your tie knot to be contradicting and either taking attention away from your tie design, or your tie design to be taking attention away from your sophisticated choice of a necktie knot. This is a simple dark blue tie with red dots that is a classic look with a touch of personality and style.
How to Tie a Tie | Different Tie Knots
Four In Hand Knot
The Four in Hand knot is one of the most popular tie knots out there not only because it’s one of the most simple knots to learn, but also because it’s one of the oldest styles for a tie knot. It can be considered the most basic or foundational tie knot to know. The Four in Hand knot is slender, tapered or narrow, asymmetrical and self-releasing.
This tie knot requires one of the least amounts of the tie’s length, so it’s a great alternative for people who are taller or have longer torsos trying to tie a regular tie length so that the tie’s length would be more appropriately ratioed and able to reach down to the beltline and be presentable. Skinny ties are great to use for the Four in Hand knot!
In addition, the Four in Hand knot is best paired with narrow spread collars or button-down collar dress shirts due to it’s small knot size, but it offers great versatility compared to others. If the shirt has a slightly wider collar, the Four in Hand knot might still pass, but you can also try a Windsor.
Half Windsor Knot
The Half Windsor knot is another great knot to learn as you’re starting off to learn tie knotting. It’s considered a medium sized knot, so it’s slightly bigger than the Four in Hand and contrary to its name, it is actually about ¾ of the size of a Full Windsor knot. This results in it being a better choice for a bit wider collar compared to the Four in Hand knot. Furthermore, if it’s tied correctly, it can result with a deep dimple!
The other characteristics are similar to that of a Four in Hand knot where the it requires less of the tie’s length for the knot, so it’s best suitable for taller individuals since you’ll have more tie length to reach the belt line. It’s also asymmetrical and versatile, so it’s also quite popularly used.
Full Windsor Knot
The Windsor knot or also known as the Full Windsor or mistakenly known as the Double Windsor, so it can be differentiated from the Half Windsor, is another classic tie knot that was named after the Duke of Windor who was also known as King Edward VIII since he loved wearing full knots and used thick fabrics for his ties. It’s symmetrical with a triangular knot, easy to release, and it’s considered one of the most formal types of necktie knots.
This knot requires additional tie length compared to the other two knots we have discussed, so it’s not suitable for regular tie lengths, especially with taller people or people who have a larger neck size due to this knot having two wrappings. In addition, the triangle knot is much bigger in size too, so it’s best for wide spread collar shirts and you should avoid using skinny ties with this knot due to the big triangular knot.
Also known as the Oriental, Kent knot, and Petit Noeud, the Simple Knot is literal in its name as it is very easy to learn and has the smallest number of steps. The knot itself is asymmetrical and compact but it might lean towards one side. It works well with people who have larger nick sizes or taller people since you don’t use a lot of tie length. It has one of the smallest (if not the smallest) tie knots out of all the other knots.
Named after Lord Kelvin or William Thompson, who was a mathematical physicist and engineer, the Kelvin Knot can be described as a descendant of the Simple Knot that starts off by lying inside out, resulting in an inverted tail. The knot is similar to the Four in Hand knot, but it’s more full since you add an additional wrap and a bit angled. The Kelvin knot does need a bit more tie length than its predecessor and it’s recommended to use thinner ties with a slightly medium width for the best ratio.
Prince Albert Knot
The Prince Albert Knot is a variation of the Victoria knot, where it is slightly asymmetrical and is a bit bigger than the Four in Hand knot. There is no hard proof that Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, actually rocked this tie knot as it’s name suggests. It’s important to note that when performing this knot, you should pull a bit more right to give a slender and polished presentation.
The Victoria Knot is named after Queen Victoria, but contrary to its name, there’s no formal documentation that Queen Victoria wore this knot or any other tie knot. It is very similar to the Four in Hand knot because the resulting tie length isn’t too long or too short. It has more of a casual take and essentially just has one more wrap than the Four in Hand knot and looks a lil bulkier than the Kelvin Knot even though both knots have two loops. Depending on how it’s tied, you may be able to see both of the layer wraps, so it’s a bit more relaxed.
The Eldridge knot was invented by Jeffrey Eldredge in 2007 and it is a very complicated knot. It involves 15 separate steps and you use the small end of your tie as the active end. At the last stage, you’ll hide the small end behind the shirt collar. The Eldridge Knot is bigger than the Windsor and creates a sophisticated image from the wraps. It is definitely a knot that will stand out and with the complex pattern it is best to use solid color or subtly patterned ties so that the focus is on the tie knot itself. In addition, you should try to not take attention away from the knot either, so your clothes: pants, collared shirt, jacket, etc. shouldn’t be too flashy.
Necktie knots come with a great variety. There are plenty more tie knots out there that you can learn. Some knots are more suited for casual reasons like the Four in Hand since it can be easily loosened and the small knot is good for casual dress shirts since their collars aren’t wide. Semi-formal instances can use these necktie knots since it will fit in medium spread collar dress shirts like those for interviews or business meetings. The Full Windsor is great for formal events.
Getting more knowledgeable will equip you with a better inventory to know how to dress and present yourself in a way that best represents you. You may not want to wear a dress shirt, let alone a tie to every occasion, but you should know there’s a way to wear a tie for every situation. Once you get this step down, you can venture into how to tie a bow tie and when the best occasion is to wear a bow tie.