Three smart ways to knot your tie

shirt collar and smart tie knot

A classic knot adds the finishing touch to a smart outfit
Image source: Shutterstock

Are you looking for a new way to knot your tie? Here are three simple step-by-step video tutorials, complete with commentary and subtitles, to show you how to tie the Windsor, Half-Windsor, and Pratt knots.

Find out which collar style goes best with each knot, and the most suitable occasions at which to show off your favorite neckwear. Ready to have a go? Grab yourself a rich country tie or a luxury silk tie, and let’s get busy…

How to choose the right tie knot

The knot The collar The occasion Face shape
Windsor Spread collar Formal:
• Weddings
• Christenings
• Funerals
Rectangular
Half Windsor Medium spread collar All-purpose knot:
• Job interviews
• Business meetings
• Events
Diamond
Pratt Narrow/ Point collar Less formal:
• Parties
• Work
• Evenings out
Round

How to tie the Windsor knot

The Windsor knot was invented during the 1930s as a way for poorer people with cheaper neckties to emulate the wide necktie knots favored by the UK’s hugely popular Prince Edward. Edward never actually tied the Windsor knot himself – he didn’t need to because his ties were already thick and opulent enough for a single tuck to create a big knot.

Later, Prince Edward was briefly to become King Edward VIII of Great Britain and India, but abdicated his throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson who, as a divorcee, was not considered queenly material by the stuffy British establishment.

Following his abdication in 1937, nobody knew what to call Edward, so his brother, now King George VI named him Edward Duke of Windsor – hence the name of the knot. But though the Duke of Windsor was forced to retire in ignominy to a luxurious chateau on the outskirts of Paris, France, the knot which bears his name continues to serve its country.

The Windsor knot is the only one British Royal Air Force personnel are allowed to wear and, as if that wasn’t reason enough to sport a full Windsor, James Bond also wears one in the Ian Fleming novel, From Russia With Love.

Windsor knot step-by-step guide: 

  1. Start with the wide end in your right hand and the narrow end in your left
  2. Make sure the wider end is longer
  3. Bring the wide end across and over the narrow end
  4. Feed the wide end up through the loop from behind
  5. And back down to the left
  6. Bring the wide end across and behind the narrow end
  7. Check the seam is facing forward
  8. Bring the wide end down through the loop to the right
  9. From right to left, bring the wide end across the front of the knot
  10. Tuck the wide end back up through the loop
  11. Feed the wide end down through the knot, and pull to tighten
  12. To adjust, pull down on the narrow end and move the knot up
  13. Fold your collar down and you’re ready to go

How to tie the Half-Windsor knot

The Windsor knot’s little brother, the half-Windsor, is better suited to lighter tie fabrics and produces a slimmer knot than the full Windsor. This is a good knot to go for if you’re of an average to slim stature. The half-Windsor looks sleek and elegant, and is suitable for all but the most formal of occasions.

Half Windsor knot step-by-step guide: 

  1. Start with the wide end in your right hand and the narrow end in your left
  2. Make sure the wider end is longer
  3. Bring the wide end across and over the narrow end
  4. Then bring it back across underneath
  5. The wide end should be on your right, with the seam facing forward
  6. Bring the wide end up, over, and back down through the loop
  7. From right to left, bring the wide end across the front of the knot
  8. Pull the wide end back up through the loop
  9. Feed the wide end down through the knot, and pull to tighten
  10. To adjust, pull down on the narrow end and move the knot up
  11. Fold your collar down and you’re ready to go

How to tie the Pratt knot

Nobody really knows the true origins of the Pratt Knot. Some say it was US Chamber of Commerce employee Jerry Pratt, who came up with it, but whether he did or not, Pratt certainly knew how to tie it because he went on to teach it to T.V. anchorman Don Shelby.

The Pratt knot is a little different from most necktie knots in that you begin it with the seam facing out, but for Shelby, who felt his usual knot wasn’t smart enough for TV work, it proved to be a winner.

Lauding it as ‘the first new knot in over 50 years’, he wore it from then on which is perhaps why the knot is also known as the Shelby knot. The Pratt knot produces a small neat knot best suited to a narrow or pointed collar.

Pratt knot step-by-step guide:

  1. Start with the wider end in your left hand and the narrow end in your right
  2. Make sure the seam is facing forward
  3. Cross the wide end under the narrow end
  4. Bring the wide end up and tuck it down to make a loop
  5. The wide end should be on the right, with the seam still facing forward
  6. Moving right to left, bring the wide end across the front of the knot
  7. From underneath, tuck the wide end back up through the neck loop
  8. Feed the wide end down through the knot, and pull to tighten
  9. To adjust, pull down on the narrow end and move the knot up
  10. Fold your collar down, and you’re ready to go

What’s your favorite tie style? We’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a line via our Facebook page.

Posted in Men's Style Inspiration.

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