What (K)not to Do - Know Your Three Essential Basic Tie Knots

What (K)not to Do - Know Your Three Essential Basic Tie Knots

Okay, so you've got yourself quite the healthy tie collection, or you're working on it at least.


Have you, however, given any thought to the fact that HOW you tie your tie is just as important, if not even more important than the actual tie you choose?
Most members of the general public won't notice the difference between a Half Windsor and a Full Windsor, but some people will. These people are the movers and shakers. These are the people for whom you're wearing a tie in the first place. This is mark separating an amateur from a professional.

Get on the bus kids, it's time for another Wise tip...let's get down to a few essential tie knots:

The Four-In-Hand

You probably already know this one. My father taught it to me before I was old enough to shave. I've taught it to quite a few younger co-workers and employees over the years, which made for some awesome blackmail photos. If you DON'T know this one, you're probably that guy who leaves a tie already tied, draped across a chair somewhere, waiting for its next use/abuse. (BTW, please don't be that guy. If you are, you may as well be wearing clip-ons!)

That being said, this doesn't mean this knot doesn't have its own perfect set of uses and best practices.

This knot pairs very well with slim ties and it's pretty much the only knot that works properly with skinny ties. It's also usually the best bet for knit ties, as its simplicity offsets the complex texture of the tie itself. (Side note: If you're not already rocking the occasional knit tie, you're missing out.) This knot also works well even with formal-width ties when you're wearing a button-down or narrow point collared shirt. Just make sure to tie the knot extra snug with wider ties to give it a nice pointy silhouette.


The Half Windsor

This is the ultimate multipurpose knot. It's thick enough to go with slim ties and thin enough to tame the widest of ties. It fits most shirt collars and it says you mean business without being over the top under virtually any circumstances. It's more symmetrical and wider than the Four-In-Hand, so it's the optimal replacement for it when you need a little splash of formality. It's probably not the best choice for skinny ties, knit ties, and narrow collars.

My personal favorite for this one is a formal-width tie with a semi-spread collar shirt. I push a dimple into the tie at the final stage of the knot, give it an extra tug at the end to smooth and tighten the knot, and secure it with a simple-yet-elegant tie tack under the waistcoat of a three-piece suit. It shows you're the real deal but you don't need to scream your worth.

This might just be your perfect fit, Mr. Middle Management!

Half Windsor

The Full Windsor (or Double Windsor)

Yes, it's a common misconception that those two names denote different knots/methods, but I just think this knot earned multiple names by taking so long to complete. All joking aside, this is the knot that opens doors and punches underlings in the face. This is (literally) almost always the knot of world leaders, CEO's and other men of stature and influence.

Use caution, however. This one's not going to look right if your execution isn't there, so do yourself a favor, swallow your pride, and give this a few practice runs in the mirror.

This is best suited for wider ties and collars (think spread collar, cutaway or Italian.) Don't use this with narrower ties, as they'll end up too top-heavy. Too narrow a collar will result in a tie knot bulging from underneath and raising up your collar tips...not a good look.

Also, use caution as to WHERE you wear this. This is not the knot (get it?) to use on a business luncheon with your boss whose a** you still need to kiss! Think of this as a VERY firm handshake.

Full Windsor

Got it? Seriously, do you? Don't take this for granted. Like I said, a lot of people won't notice whether or not your knot game is on point, but the folks who matter will. Practice makes perfect, so experiment with it until the muscle memory takes over.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite knot, out of these three or otherwise? Agree with my synopsis? Disagree? Comment below and tag a friend who could benefit from such higher learning. In upcoming blogs, we'll tackle more advanced weaponry such as the Trinity Knot and the Eldredge Knot. Until then, stay tuned and...


*Photo Credits: Imgur*

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