Tie One On – The Correct Way for Wearing & Tying Neckties

David Grimes of the Sarasota Herald Tribune states the current purpose of men’s ties is to hide the buttons on their shirts, although Grimes admits he is perplexed as to why the buttons are in need of hiding.

History of the necktie

The origins of men’s neckwear date back to ancient Rome where bands of cloth were wrapped around the neck to protect a man from the cold in winter and to absorb perspiration in summer.  The most common historical account dates from the 1600s with Croatian troops wearing protective neckwear similar to that of the Roman, but it wasn’t until the 1830s that men’s ties evolved and became a fashion accessory rather than a functional necessity.

Who wears a tie? How to tie a necktie

Worn daily by men of stature, men’s ties came to symbolize prominence and sophistication. The addition of a tie transforms a man’s ensemble from just a shirt and slacks to an outfit suitable for conducting business or attending events.

Actors such as Cary Grant – ‘North by Northwest’, Robert De Nero – ‘Once Upon a Time in America’, Al Pacino – ‘The Godfather’, and Brad Pitt – ‘Meet Joe Black’, have all worn ties to great effect. It is said that Cary Grant seldom left home without first donning a tie or cravat.

From whimsical to professional and distinguished, men’s ties come in a vast array styles, themes and colours. The one thing they all have in common, however, is how they are worn. Tying neckties can be a frustrating process, especially for beginners. If you are puzzled on how to correctly tie neckties, take heart, you are not alone!  We have therefore created a few simple, ‘How to tie a tie’ instructions to aid in your on-going endeavour of looking dapper.

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How To Tie A Tie

Before you begin, face the mirror and button your shirt all the way with the collar flipped towards your ears. Place the tie around your neck and follow the step-by-step instructions below on how to create the following tie knots:

  • Four-in-Hand
  • Double Windsor
  • Half Windsor
  • Pratt or Shelby
  • St. Andrews
  • Plattsburgh

Four-in-Hand Knot

This method is used by 80% of all men when tying neckties.

  1. Start with the necktie’s wide end and position it a foot below the narrow end.
  2. Bring the wide end over the narrow end
  3. Do this twice in order to make a loop.
  4. Pass the wide end through the back of the loop.
  5. Holding the knot loose with your index finger, pass the wide end down through the loop.
  6. Slowly withdraw your finger and tighten the knot, sliding the knot up to the collar.

Double Windsor Knot (also known as the Full Windsor)

Courtesy of the Duke of Windsor, this is more practical for lighter fabrics like silk, and for wider collars such as in Italian collars. It has a larger knot than the four-in-hand method of tying neckties and also has more volume.

    1. With wide end on right and about a foot longer than the narrow end on left
    2. Cross the wide end over the narrow end
    3. Pass wide end up and down through gap between neck and tie
    4. Pull wide end under narrow end to the right
    5. Pass the wide end up and down again through the gap between neck and tie
    6. Hold the wide end to the right again
    7. Pass wide end across front, from right to left letting your hand forms bridge where the knot will be
    8. Pass wide end through gap between neck and then down through loop at the front
    9. Adjust tie and carefully squeezing the base of the knot, whilst holding narrow end at back, push knot up to collar

Half-Windsor Knot

Suitable for any occasion and best suited to lighter fabrics.

  1. Pass wide end over narrow end, bringing wide end over to the right.
  2. Pass wide end through gap between neck and tie on RHS
  3. Cross wide end over narrow end and then up through gap between neck and tie on LHS
  4. With long end now draping down in front.
  5. Take wide end and pass through loop to form half Windsor knot
  6. Holding onto the knot push up to correct positioning on collar remembering to squeeze in the bottom of the knot to keep a perfect triangular shape to the knot, holding the narrow end whilst doing so.

Pratt Knot (alternatively known as Shelby Knot)

Noted to be one of the most simple ties to tie

  1. With tie inside-out pass wide end under narrow short end
  2. Take long wide end of tie and pass through gap between neck and tie (the long wide end is now under the narrow short end)
  3. Wrap the wide end over the front of the knot to the right-hand side.
  4. Pass wide end up through space between neck and tie
  5. Pass long end down through the loop
  6. Holding onto the knot push up to correct position on the collar, holding narrow end whilst doing so.

St. Andrews Knot

This knot is large and narrow and typically includes a deep dimple.

  1. With tie inside-out and wide end on your right, pass narrow end over wide end
  2. Pass wide end across potential knot over to right-hand side
  3. Pass the wide end under to the left-hand side
  4. Pass wide end down between neck and tie (wide end is now draped down your chest and inside-out behind the narrow end)
  5. Pass wide end under narrow end and to the to the right
  6. Pass wide end over to the left
  7. Finally, pass wide end down through loop, thus creating your knot
  8. Pull up the knot whilst holding on the narrow end and position comfortably at the collar.

Plattsburgh Knot

Almost identical to the Windsor knot, and created by Thomas Fink, co-author of ‘The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie’, the knot is named after Fink’s home town in Upstate New York.

  1. With tie inside-out and wide end on your right, pass wide end under narrow end
  2. Pass wide end up and down between neck and tie. Wide end will now be inside-out and under narrow end, draped down chest
  3. Pass wide end over to your right
  4. Pass wide end up and down between neck and tie for a second time
  5. Pass wide end under to left
  6. Cross wide end over to the right
  7. And finally, thread wide end down through loop creating your Plattsburgh knot

Silk ties like those created by Giorgio Armani, Hermes, Hugo Boss, and Versace may require more practice in tying since silk fabrics tend to be slick.

A Member of the Club

According to Wikipedia Encyclopaedia, a trend of wearing ties began to indicate membership in a military regiment, school or club of some sort.  Not only would specific colours be chosen to represent the groups, but each member, when tying neckties, would use a specific knot.

One of the earliest examples of this was with the Oxford rowers. This group chose their colours and opted to tie their neckties using the four-in-hand method to further distinguish them from other rowing clubs.

To some extent this trend continues today although most don’t specify the type of knot that one should use.

Fashion Outlook for Men’s Ties

Forbes Magazine stated that the solid shirt, solid tie ensembles of a few years back have fallen to the wayside. The fashion outlook for men’s ties now includes vibrant and subdued colours, as well as patterns mixed with shirts of the same scheme.

Once you learn how to tie a necktie, go shopping and enjoy the variety of fabrics, styles and colours offered by menswear giants Hermes, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani and Versace – these will help to create your new look for success!

Hermes currently design silk neckties in three categories: Classic, Solid Colour and Contemporary with a wide array of colours and pricing that starts at £130.

For distinctive men’s ties, Versace or Jean Paul Gaultier  is the way to go. With unique patterns and creative designs, you’ll be sure to stand out in the crowd.

Charity ties have also become popular since they draw attention to a worthy cause, project an image of social conscience and offer financial support (a portion of the sales proceeds is donated to charity).

Regardless of your position in life or your occupation, chances are you’ll be wearing a tie at some point.   That means you must learn to tie a necktie. While it may take some practice, your efforts will be rewarded with a handsome and professional appearance.