Tie-tying is something we should have all learned at a young age. Even if we did, and even if we wear one daily, sometimes we get lazy or forget some basic rules. That is why we asked Alex Wilcox, founder of Lord Willy’s haberdashery in New York City, to teach us how to tie a tie — specifically a Windsor knot (also called a Full Windsor or Double Windsor).
But first, a bit of history: Why the hell is this knot called a Windsor? While many think the knot was created by the ever-stylish Duke of Windsor (you know, that one King of England that abdicated and married that American), it was actually invented by his father, King George V. He preferred a broader knot and had his ties made with a thicker fabric to result in a wider look. Thus, the Windsor knot was invented to replicate the the same thickness while using a thinner fabric.
Why do we still use a Windsor knot? The Windsor knot just looks more professional. Sure, if you are going to a hipster concert and want to rock a skinny tie, by all means, give it up to a half Windsor. But at work, cocktails, and dates, the full Windsor knot is the way to go.
Style Note: Windsor knots should always be worn with a spread collar or a cutaway collar. Why? You want to match the symmetry of the tie’s triangle with the triangle shape of the collar. If this is news to you, we’ve got you covered with more tips on how to pair ties with collars.
You can watch Wilcox tied a Windsor knot in the video above, but we’ve also provided a step-by-step guide below:
The shorter end of your tie should sit a little higher since you will need much more silk for this style of tie.
Step No. 1
Cross the larger side over the smaller and then wrap around the back and bring to the front once more.
Then thread the larger end over the top to create the small triangle that makes the base of Windsor knot.
Step No. 2
Go back over the top triangle again to make a larger triangle.
Step No. 3
Move the larger piece around the back and up through the gap closest to your neck. Pull the large piece through the triangle.
Step No. 4
Thread the larger end through the bottom.
Step No. 5
Pull the larger end of the tie. Do not strangle it! Then pull the shorter end to the top so the tie sits beautifully.
So you’ve mastered the Windsor knot. Up next: how to tie a bow tie.
Article originally published on December 20, 2016.
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