Real Men Real Style presents to you The Ultimate Guide on How To Tie A Tie.

Do you want to signal power?

What about trust in any business relationship?

One subconscious signal can give this.

The tie knot. 

Why?

It’s a subliminal message that speaks to our attention to detail.

Don’t believe me?

Look at nearly every President. The full Windsor knot.

Look at less formal business outfits. The four-in-hand or half Windsor.

Four in Hand, Half Windsor, Full Windsor and Bow Ties. 

Why four classic knots and not just one?

Each style portrays a different message and suits a different shirt collar and neck.

Additionally, one knot might fit your proportions better than another.

Experiment with these four classic necktie knots and find one that suits your face shape & message. 

Before you begin with the instructions below, follow these preparatory steps:

  • Secure the top button of your shirt and raise the collar up.
  • Drape the necktie around your collar with the wide end on your right and the thin end on your left with the seams facing down.
  • Pull the wide end down so it hangs around your thigh. You may have to make adjustments to this initial length depending on your height, the length and fabric of your tie.

 

1. The Four In Hand Tie Knot

One of the oldest tie knots, it is believed that British horsemen invented this type of knot when they were tying scarves while holding the reigns of four horses in the other hand. The Four in Hand knot is one of the easiest tie knots to learn.

This knot requires less of the tie’s length, making it a great choice for tall men trying to tie a regular length tie.

The knot has a smaller, slightly longish shape that is perfect for narrow spread collars as well as for button down collar dress shirts.

four in hand knot

  1. Start with the wide end of the tie on the right and the small end on the left. The small end should be slightly above your belly-button. Only move the wide end to adjust the length.
  2. Bring the wide end over the narrow end to the left.
  3. Bring the wide end under the narrow end. The wide end should end on the right side, once again.
  4. Tuck the wide end of the tie around the back of the loop that was just formed.
  5. Pass the wide end of the tie through the space between the necktie and shirt collar
  6. Continue passing the wide end down through the front of the knot loop you’ve just created.
  7. Tighten the knot by pulling down on the wide end. Slide the knot up and adjust it using the base of your thumb and forefinger on your left hand. Ensure the tip of the tie barely touches the center of your belt buckle.

The four in hand knot is probably today’s most popular necktie knot.

Its classic design and ease of mastery has made it a permanent staple of menswear.

Ancient Neckwear

No one is certain why neckties began. It is possible that the necktie got its start as an extension of tribal beads which were believed to provide protection against disease.

These beads later evolved into neck scarves which have been found molded onto terra cotta soldiers in ancient Chinese tombs.

Later the Roman Legions used ribbons called focalium tied around their necks to help identify themselves in battle.

In the Roman Senate, orators would often tie strips of wool around their necks to warm their vocal cords before an important speech.

Decorative neck wear, however, likely descends from Croatian mercenaries.

In 1636, after the Croatians helped Austria defeat Turkey, King Louis XIV invited these men to Paris to celebrate. While visiting France, the Croatians tied colorful scarves around their necks and the trend stuck.

The Parisians referred to the scarves as la cravate, the French word for Croat.

Modern Neckwear

While decorative neck-wear has been around for a few hundred years, the modern necktie was born in the industrial revolution. The sudden increase of urban job centers created the need for the common man to consistently look presentable. This required neck-wear that was easy to wear, and comfortable enough to last an entire day.

In addition to this new tie, a gentleman needed a simple knot with which to fasten his necktie. This is when the four in hand knot became popular. It was easy to tie, comfortable and stylish enough to be worn for any occasion.

The four in hand knot derives its name from the four-horse carriage. The knot resembles the way the carriage driver would knot his reins thus keeping four horses in hand, or four in hand.

Later, a London gentleman’s club also known as the Four In Hand began to wear their neck-ties with this type of knot making it fashionable to do so.

A Closer Look at the Four in Hand Knot

A gentleman has many styles of neck tie knots of which to choose from. So knowing how to choose your tie knot is important.

Outside of neck wear, the four in hand knot is commonly known as the buntline hitch. When tied, the four in hand creates a small, asymmetrical knot which resembles a slanted letter ‘V’.

How to Tie a Four in Hand Knot

Step one: Begin with the wide portion of the tie on the right side. This should dip about eight inches to a foot below the narrow piece.

four-in-hand knot

 

 

Step two: Start on the right side, bring the wide end of the tie over the narrow end once.

how to tie four-in-hand knot

 

 

Step three: Bring The Wide end under the Narrow end. The wide end should end on the right side, once again.

how to tie the four-in-hand knot

 

 

Step Four: Tuck the wide end of the tie around the back of the loop that was just formed.

how to tie a four-in-hand knot

 

 

Step Five: The wide end of your neckwear should occupy the space between the necktie and shirt collar

knot tying guide

 

 

Step Six: Hold the front of the knot loose with your first finger, slip the wide end of the tie through the loop.

necktie knot infographic

 

 

Step Seven: Create a dimple under the knot in your neck tie by gently pressing in with your index finger. Pinch the sides of the knot with your thumb and middle finger and squeeze them together as you pull the knot tight. The dimple creates a look of sophistication that finishes the overall portrait of your neck-wear.

infographic

 

When to Wear the Four in Hand Knot

First, examine the collar of the dress shirt. One sign of a truly well-dressed gentleman is that he knows how to match his tie knot with his collar style.

Are the points narrow or wide spread? The four in hand works well with narrow spread collars – those with collar points which angle 60 degrees or less. Button down collars also work well with the four-in-hand. If the collar spread is wider, a knot such as the half Windsor, the Double Windsor or the Shelby may serve better.

Now, examine the proportions of your face and neck. A gentleman with a wide face and neck combination should opt against the small knot of the four in hand due to its smaller knot size. On the other hand, a man with a narrow face or neck will find that the four in hand tie knot flatters his proportions nicely.

Lastly, the style of the tie should be taken into account. Traditional patterns, such as clubs or stripes may look best with the four in hand knot. In addition, thinner ties wear the four in hand knot the best. Thicker ties, such as ones made in Italian silk, look better with a wide triangular knot such as the Double Windsor.

The four in hand knot is probably the most widely known of all necktie knots.

If your dad ever taught you how to tie your necktie (and he only taught you one method), this was probably it.

Prized for its convenience, the knot gets its name from horse grooms, who could tie it in both their reins and their scarves one-handed — hence, “four-in-hand,” or tied while holding a team of four horses in one hand. It does still see use in equestrian circles as a convenient tie-off, as well as on business neckties.

While convenient, the knot is not all that aesthetically pleasing. The finished product is small and slightly asymmetrical, making it easy for the whole thing to be tugged up into an uneven little lump beneath the wearer’s chin.

Use a broad tie with lots of body to give the four-in-hand some needed heft, and pair it with a relatively narrow collar spread. Tall men may find it useful, as it uses very little length up, but men who have some tie length to spare are generally better served with a slightly heftier knot like the half-Windsor.

Size: Small

Symmetry: No

Difficulty: Easy

Formality: Business appropriate

Recommended Collars: Point collars, button-down collar

four in hand knot

 

 

Four In Hand Knot Step 1

Loop the tie around your collar with the thick end on the left. The thick end should hang three or four inches lower than the thin end.

Four In Hand Knot Step 2

Cross the thick end in front of the thin end, making an X-shape below your chin.

Four In Hand Knot Step 3

Wrap the thick end around behind the thin end and cross horizontally from right to left. You should finish this step with the thick end pointed to your left, seam facing outward.

Four In Hand Knot Step 4

Bring the thick end horizontally across the front of the knot from right to left. This creates a straight horizontal band across the front — slip a finger beneath the band, as you’ll be tucking an end through it in the next step.

Turn the tip of the thick end upward and in, sliding it beneath the loop around your neck to emerge point-upward, with the seam facing out.

Four In Hand Knot Step 5

Turn the tip of the thick end point-downward and feed it through the loop you’ve held open with your finger.

The tip should emerge pointing straight down, with the thick end atop the thin end.

Four In Hand Knot Step 6

Pull the thick end all the way through the loop and snug the knot down tightly.

At this point the thick end should be lying flat atop the thin end, with both pointed straight down the center of your body.

Four In Hand Knot Step 7

Tighten the knot by holding it gently in one hand and tugging on the thin end with the other.

Properly done, the thin end should be just a few inches shorter than the thick end so that you can slip it through the loop or tag on the back of the necktie. The tip of the thick end should stop right around your belt buckle, without leaving any shirtfront or buttons bare.

Today, we’re going to learn how to tie a four-in-hand necktie knot. One of the most common necktie knots out there. I personally learned how to tie this necktie knot when I was fifteen years old.

The main characteristics of the four-in-hand are: One, relative to other tie knots it’s small and asymmetrical. Two, this imbalance makes it slightly less formal than a symmetric knot. And, three, it works best with point collars.

Now, let’s get to the step by step instructions. Start by draping the tie over your neck, adjusting it until the wide end hangs longer than the narrow end. The exact length will vary by person and necktie length.

Cross the wide end of the tie over the narrow end and then, bring it behind the narrow end. Wrap it across the front again, this time going to take the wide end and bring it up through the opening near your neck.

Now, pull the wide end through the loop in the front. To tighten the knot, pull on the wide end while holding the knot until you are satisfied with the look. Bring the knot up to your neck by holding the narrow end while pushing the knot up with your other hand. Keep your tie looking tidy by putting the narrow end through the keeper loop on the back of the tie.

When finished, your tie end should rest between the top and middle portion of your belt line. If it’s too short or too long by more than half an inch, I recommend you try again. If it was too short at the start, raise the narrow2015 end to make it just a bit higher. If it was too long, make the narrow end just a bit lower when you get started.

That’s it, gentlemen. The four-in-hand is great tie knot that every man should have in his arsenal.

Be sure to check out the infographic that accompanies this video for a detailed step by step look at how to tie a four-in-hand. Make sure to like this video, subscribe to our YouTube channel and let me know in the comments what you thought of this video.

2. The Half Windsor Tie Knot

If you are starting out as a tie-tying novice, the Half Windsor should be your starting point. This knot is the perfect choice for medium-width and thick ties. It is the most versatile and popular tie knot.

Because the half Windsor requires less of the tie’s length than the larger Windsor knot, it is also a great choice for big and tall men trying to wear a regular length tie.

half Windsor knot

  1. Start with the wide end of the tie on the right and the small end on the left. The tip of the small end should rest slightly above your belly-button.
  2. Cross the wide end in front of the narrow end to the left. This results in an X-shape below your chin.
  3. Loop the wide end of the tie horizontally around and behind the thin end.
  4. Take the wide end over from the top and through the opening of the X-shape created in Step 2.
  5. Hold the wide end with your right hand. Wrap it in front over the thin end, from your right to your left.
  6. Bring the wide end towards your chest and from behind the loop, pass it over the X-shape at the center from behind.
  7. Using the index finger of your left hand, create space in the triangle that has now formed over the X-shape. Pass the wide end through the loop created and pull it all the way through.
  8. Your tie-knot is created. Hold the knot and pull the wide end down until taut. Tighten the knot by pulling down on the wide end. Slide the knot up and adjust.

3. The Full Windsor Tie Knot

Also known as the Double Windsor, the Full Windsor is has a large, triangular symmetric shape and is perfect for wide spread collars, and on men with a large neck.

Additional tie length is required for the Windsor knot because of the two wrappings. Tall men with a larger neck size will need a tie that measures between 61 – 64 inches.

full Windsor knot

  1. Start with the wide end of the tie on the right and the narrow end on the left. The tip of the narrow end should rest slightly above your belly-button.
  2. Cross the wide end horizontally in front of the slim end, making an X-shape just below your chin.
  3. Tuck the wide end up and beneath the loop around your neck, coming out point-upward behind the newly-formed X-shape.
  4. Pull the wide end all the way down. Make sure the X-shape and the loop you just formed are snug and tight.
  5. Bring the wide end around behind the knot and pass it horizontally from right to left.
  6. Flip the wide end tip upward and tug it diagonally across the front of the knot.
  7. Loop the wide end over the top of the loop around your collar and bring it back down, emerging to the left of the thin end. At this point the wide end should be pointed tip-downward, with its seam facing out.
  8. Bring the wide end horizontally across the front of the knot, from left to right. You should end up with the tip pointed to your right and the seam facing inward. This forms a horizontal band across the front of the knot.
  9. Bring the wide end underneath the loop one more time, around the collar with the tip aiming upward. The seam should be facing outward.
  10. Turn the wide end downward and slide the tip through the horizontal loop created in step 8.
  11. Pull the wide end all the way down and smooth out any creases or slack in the knot. Adjust the tie by holding the knot with a thumb and forefinger while pulling on the slim end with your other hand.

4. The Bow-Tie

If you can tie shoe laces, you can easily learn how to tie a bow tie.

A black bow-tie is a symbol of formality. The most elegant knot suited for a black-tie event.

It is not a challenging knot and you definitely should avoid a clip-on version.

how to tie a bow tie knot

  1. Start with one end of the bow tie longer than the other by a few inches. The longer end should be on your right side.
  2. Place the longer right end over the shorter left end, making an X-shape just below the chin
  3. Loop the longer end behind the ‘X’ to create a simple knot similar to the first knot while tying shoelaces. Leave the longer end resting on your shoulder for the next step.
  4. Fold the shorter end horizontally against the top button on your shirt collar.
  5. Bring the longer end down off your shoulder in front of the folded shorter end.
  6. Using your right hand, fold the longer end back towards the chest and pinch the fold.
  7. Keeping the longer end hanging in front of the shorter end, tuck its folded center through the small loop you formed when you first passed it up behind the knot.
  8. With the wings in place, tug the loops behind them to tighten the vertical front knot.

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