How To Tie a Tie: 4 Ways With a Step-by-Step Guide

Close-up bright pink necktie makes a colorful contrast to a neutral gray suit on businessman

We have to wonder if anyone has ever done a study correlating the demise of the necktie with the falling membership in the ranks of The Boy Scouts. Surely mastering knots for sailing, camping, fishing, and tying up dweebie Scout Masters could only lend itself to the proper practice of a Half-Windsor or Four-in-Hand. Of course when was the last time any of us even had need to wear a tie? The next few months, however, promise to hold postponed wedding celebrations, new job interviews, and dressed-up parties as the world carefully opens its doors anew. If you’re out of practice, or have never had to wear a tie, here is our guide to tying one on. Of course — unlike those of us who grew up in the Stone Age, tying our ties in the way that our father has taught us, with little to no variation — online videos may make the process even clearer. 

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Four-in-Hand

Photo by Guzaliia Filimonova

For all practical purposes, this is the only knot you’ll ever need. 

  1. Pop your collar, and wrap the tie around your neck. 
  2. Line up the two ends of your tie. 
  3. Tug the wider end down toward your waistline; the narrower, upward on your chest. 
  4. Cross the wider end of the tie in front of the narrower; then bring it back around to the front. (You’ll be able to see the back of the wider end of the tie.) 
  5. Loop the wide end of the tie around the narrower end again, but this time, bring it up under the narrow end near the shirt’s top button. 
  6. Drop it through the loop that has been formed, and tug it down towards your waistline. 
  7. Adjust. 

The Windsor

Photo by Guzaliia Filimonova

Depending on the cut of your best suit and the shape of your shirt collar, you may want to use this bulkier knot that speaks to power.

  1. Again, line up the two ends of your tie, bringing the wider end closer to your waist; the narrower up near the middle of your chest. 
  2. Bring the wider end across the front, but this time pull it under the narrow end, up toward the collar button. 
  3. Wrap the wide end under the narrow end yet again, but this time drop it over the top of the tie, and tug it to the opposite side. 
  4. The back of the wide end of the tie should be facing you in the mirror now. 
  5. Take it back across the narrow end, and bring it up under the loops that have formed, pointing up toward your chin. 
  6. Tug the wide end down through the loop that has formed, and tidy up the knot. 
  7. Adjust

Read more: Formal Wear Guide

The Half-Windsor

Photo by Guzaliia Filimonova

Offering more body than the four-in-hand, but not quite the bulk of the Windsor, for many the Half-Windsor is an every knot with heft. 

  1. Line up the two ends of the tie, with the wider end closer to the waist, the narrower end near closer to the center of your chest. 
  2. Just like the Windsor, bring the wider end across the front, and pull it under the narrow end, up toward your chin. 
  3. Bring it back down and under the narrow end, so the back of the tie is facing front. 
  4. Cross the wide end back over the narrow side, tucking the end of the tie up behind the back of the tie, past the collar button, then plunge the tip down through the just-formed loop. 
  5. Adjust. 

Bow Tie

Photo by Guzaliia Filimonova

They can be formal, or jaunty, but a great (and well-tied) bow tie is a mark of sartorial proficiency. This one tip helps us: Don’t look in the mirror, don’t get hung up on the width of the fabric; just pretend you’re tying your shoes. 

  1. Line up the two ends of the tie evenly. 
  2. Cross one side over the other. 
  3. Bring one end up under the other, past the collar button. 
  4. Hold the opposite end up so that you are staring at the mid-point of the bow (or a target mid-point if it’s a straight bow-tie). 
  5. Drop the first end down over the front (you’ll have perpendicular “butterflies” at this point). 
  6. Bring that first end under the second, and tuck it into the loop that’s been formed behind the second. 
  7. Adjust. 

Read more: How to Wear a Suit

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