Tie Knots – Choose The Right One For The Occasion


A prominent accessory men get to wear to brighten up their outfit is a tie. While suits are generally plain and standard on most occasions, ties come in various colors,lengths and multiple styles, lending variation to a man’s wardrobe. Indeed, a different tie can completely change the perception people have of you in a particular suit.

Huge Assortment Of Ties and Accessories At Ties.com

One of the challenges, however, is actually tying it. Not only can it be difficult at first to tie one, there are several types of knots that need to be considered for an occasion. We shall discuss three common tie knots and the occasions they are appropriate for.

Four-in-Hand Tie Knot

Four in Hand Knot For A Tie
A common knot is the Four-in-Hand Knot, which is also the easiest. This knot is asymmetrical so it does not convey an overly formal appearance and due to its smaller and slightly elongated shape, it matches well on shirts with narrow spread collars or button down collar dress shirts. Typically, the four-in-hand knot goes best with skinny or medium-width ties and is usually preferred by tall men. Therefore, this knot is best for a dressy occasion that is not highly formal, such as parties or social outings.

Half-Windsor Tie Knot

Half-Windsor Knot For Tie
The second knot is the Half-Windsor Knot. The half-Windsor knot is a symmetrical knot that looks like an inverted triangle with the tip cut off that goes well on shirts with medium-width spread collars. Due to its versatility and requiring less of the tie-length for the knot, big and tall men prefer it on a regular basis. It is more formal than the four-in-hand knot and therefore worn on more formal events, such as job interviews and business meetings.

Full-Windsor Tie Knot

Full Windsor Knot for Tie
The final knot is the Full-Windsor Knot. Full-Windsor knots go best with longer and wider ties. The shape of the full-Windsor is the same as that of the half-Windsor, but it is just larger than the half-Windsor. Since the full-Windsor is larger, it also appears highly formal and is usually worn with wide spread collar dress shirts and by men with larger necks. Full-Windsor knots go best at highly formal events, such as weddings or business meetings with highly important or powerful individuals.

Huge Assortment Of Ties and Accessories At Ties.com
The knots we discussed above are all meant for long ties. Bowties, which are also highly formal and go with tuxedos, and not suits, have a different method of tying.

Finally, anyone interested in ties should note that there are excellent silk alternatives available. Besides linen and cotton, there are also satin ties as well as those made from plant or synthetic materials. All these non-silk options offer something unique without killing thousands of silkworms in the creation process.

When looking for a tie, it is important to remember that you have a plethora of options to choose from and it is also important to choose the right shirt for your body type first.


Key Takeaway for Selecting A Tie Knot For An Occasion

  • Three common knots – four-in-hand, half-Windsor and full-Windsor- cover most occasions.
  • Also note the different collar types appropriate with the tie knot.
  • There are plenty of silk-alternative options when it comes to ties.

About Author

Dhawal Shah

Through Art of Style Club, Dhawal Shah is educating himself on lifestyle matters affecting everyday men and bringing a fresh perspective to answer their questions. He is also the co-founder of 2Stallions Digital Marketing Agency, and an expert on web development, SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation & Social Media.

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  • Anold Man

    Greetings. I have a few comments and questions regarding neckties, and would appreciate your help.
    1) Which is the Half Windsor, the one like the Full, or the one like a Four In Hand? I have seen it as both.
    2) Is it a fashion no-no to tuck in the ends of the tie under the belt. There are some (me included) when tying a Four In Hand, the ends come up a tad too far below the belt line. The alternative is the Half Windsor or the Prince Albert (no, thanks).
    3) Is it a fashion no-no to leave any part of the tie above the knot exposed. I was told it made the knot look weak. Funny thing, the one who told me tied his tie that way. But I give him the benefit of the doubt because some fabrics and widths of ties are only good enough for a Four In Hand or Pratt. Good example is military issue neckties, which is what the guy was wearing, and probably had a Prince Albert.
    4) My own personal preference is the Pratt with a pointed or slightly spread collar, with silk ties. I might do a Four In Hand or Half Windsor.
    5) I have seen very little about right sliding and left sliding knots. Kennedy was left FIH, Clinton was right FIH when in office. Is this personal preference, or is there more to this? Reagan’s was a Full Windsor, slightly to the left, which came from a left sliding Four In Hand in his early years?
    6) It is just my own personal opinion, but my reaction to most of the knots outside the four or so here is basically “what the…”
    Thank you for your time and help.

    • Hey Anold,

      I’ll try and answer your questions as best as I can-

      1) The Half Windsor pattern, when tying is closer to the Full Windsor but because it is a thinner knot than the Full windsor, it looks closer to the Four in hand, except it is not as lopsided.

      2) The ideal tie length is when the tip of the widest part comes to roughly the top of your belt. What you can try to do to shorten the tie is to add more length to the thinner end when tying so that it is longer behind (and use a tie pin to keep it neat). If, after tying, the thinner end is as long as or longer than the widest part of the front end, which is STILL past your belt, then you should probably switch to the Half Windsor knot (or try and get your tie lengths altered).

      3) If its having the lazy after-work casual look where the tie is loosened, and you’re specifically going for that – then it’s fine. However, most times, in order to look sharp, you should not have any part of the areas above the tie knot exposed when your collar is folded over your tie. Even your shirt collar shouldn’t be too loose – as a loose collar or an exposed knot gives a very lackadaisical appearance – that does not impress for most business situations.

      4) The Pratt is an excellent choice, however, for me personally, it always comes up too short for my liking. It definitely has a wide knot ideal for wide spread collars. Your face-shape should also determine the kind of tie knot you choose – check out the infographic I created: http://artofstyle.hucklebury.com/shirt-collar-tie-knot-infographic/

      5) That’s an interesting question I might explore in a future article – thanks for the idea.. I do not know at present about their preferences – probably something to do with habit and comfort – or even how their wives preferred them tying it or tying it for them! (;

      6) I tend to stick to the most common ones myself – namely the full and the half. At the end of the day, it comes down to personality as well – some people like constantly changing things around.. others are content with the one knot they learned early in their lives!

      I hope I was able to adequately answer your doubts!

      Thanks for all the feedback and ideas – truly appreciated!


      • Anold Man

        Thank you for the help. I forgot to add that I have an oval face, which, according to all that I have read thus far, I have the luxury of having a choice of collars, which is narrowed down to either pointed, slightly spread, or the button down.

  • Bastian

    I think the full windsor misses a step. If I tie it like displayed, it looks like a four-in-hand.

    • Hi Bastian, what step do you think is missing from it?

      • Gavin C. Lo

        Between step 3 and 4. Step 3.5 would be the mirrored version of step 2. After that continue as shown.

        • Thanks for your input Gavin!

          • dalton

            Yes, it’s definitely missing a step. Sorry 2 years late.

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  • RexRowland

    I am fairly old-school and I’m all for dressing nicely, and though I’m not proud of it, I do tend to turn my nose up at those who choose not to do so when it is within their means — dressed for the beach on an airplane, for example. That said, looking at how similar the three examples of tie knots are at the top of this page, it just shows how ridiculous and pretentious style can be. Hmm, look at that cretin wearing a four-in-hand instead of a Windsor… (eyeroll).

  • Robin Ford

    I disagree that the half Windsor is a symmetrical knot. I never use it because it is asymmetrical. I always use full Windsor because it is symmetrical and always looks better. The half Windsor always looks like the wearer doesn’t know how to tie a good looking full Windsor

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