How To Tie A Perfect Tie Knot (According To Three Menswear Experts)
— Updated on 15 June 2023

How To Tie A Perfect Tie Knot (According To Three Menswear Experts)

— Updated on 15 June 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

Often pronounced DOA by a cavalcade of (mostly self-proclaimed) men’s style experts, I often think that it’s more helpful to describe the place that neckwear has settled in 2023 as one of comfortable hibernation.

Granted, your average silk necktie is no longer the ubiquitous accessory that it used to be for every manner of white collar professional.

To wit: I’m sure if you surveyed any nominal gaggle of bankers, commercial lawyers, and forensic accountants today, at least half wouldn’t be obliged by official codes of conduct to wear ties — much less of their own volition.

how to tie a tie
(Image Credit: The Armoury)

RELATED: The Bolo Tie Revolution – How To Wear & Where To Buy

Far from the death of good taste that so many are decrying, we treat this is an opportunity to deploy different tie knots when and where they truly matter.

For much of the 20th century, artfully woven/printed strands of cloth were a formality, a chore, a banal necessity in an age when sartorial expression was confined to a really narrow set of predetermined garments.

Today, as more and more men discover the joys of what acclaimed style writer Derek Guy described as “happy tailoring,” there is a notion — however niche in its appeal — that you can wear ties purely for the sake of enjoyment. Scandalous.

Pictured: A couple of notable masters of the casual necktie from over the decades, including Wes Anderson and beloved French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

On city holidays, out to a nice dinner, and of course, to the usual assortment of formal celebrations, the fact of the matter is that you’re going to want to have at least one or two tie knots handy for when the opportunity arises.

In the style of our bow tie focused “How To” feature, here are three popular variations you can begin practicing immediately as taught to you by some of the biggest experts in classic menswear. Tie bar not required.

RELATED: How To Tie A Bow Tie (According To Three Menswear Experts)

Tying A ‘Bertie’ Tie Knot With Kirby Allison (The Hanger Project)

A nice modernisation of the classic, full-bore Windsor so many readers will remember from their days in Year 9, the “Old Bertie” — named for its supposed inventor, the infamous Duke of Windsor — is a medium sized knot sporting a firm hold that works well with a point or spread collar shirt. Note that it’s also sometimes called a half Windsor knot.

It’s one that Kirby Allison, the congenial founder of The Hanger Project, wears often due (in his own words) to the flattering “long, asymmetric shape” that you’ll get a sense for in the video above.

This particular style features a neat appearance in which the front and rear blades are usually of equal length, meaning you don’t have to use the horizontal loop to keep things in check.

Tying A ‘Four-in-Hand’ Knot With Mark Cho (The Armoury)

If you’re one of the (relatively few) men still diligent and/or insane enough to wear a tie on the regular in 2023, then you’re almost certain to have done so on multiple occasions by tying a four in hand knot.

Sometimes disparagingly referred to as the “schoolboy knot,” a good four in hand will knot gently, is ideally suited to narrow collar styles (e.g. the tab or button-down), and has a pleasing, somewhat dishevelled elegance when imperfectly executed.

Due to the minimal number of folding actions that are initially required, this is a knot that benefits from occasional on-the-fly adjustment. In the vid above, Mark Cho (of The Armoury and Drop 93 fame) gives a very learnable demonstration of how to execute this knot in the cleanest possible manner.

Side bar: to illustrate just how individual the act of tie-tying can be, Cho has compiled a full playlist of YouTube videos on the subject — a handy resource if you’re in the mood to master multiple knots.

RELATED: 10 Of The Best Tailors And Suit Shops In Sydney For 2023

Tying A Full Windsor Knot With Sven Raphael Schneider (Gentleman’s Gazette)

Another tie knot attributed to the short-lived British monarch Edward VIII, the Windsor knot is a style that is as applicable to daily life as the Trinity knot or the Eldredge knot.

Still, when worn with tailored clothing of the right a persuasion — think big lapels and even bigger glenplaids — it can be a very interesting way to wear neckties, recalling the excessive styling cues of the seedy 70s.

Interestingly, in A Family Album (Edward VIII’s own authorised biography), the Duke of Windsor contends that he never wore the tie-tying style that became synonymous with his name. Instead, achieving a large neatly dimpled effect through “an extra thickness of material.”

If anything, that apocryphal history serves to drive home the importance of construction on a tie’s final appearance. Beyond good technique, be sure to consider the number of folds your tie is made with, whether it is lined vs unlined, and if the fabric is unusually thick.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


Share the article