How to Tie a Tie: Easy Step-by-Step Guide & Video

Need to learn how to tie a tie or just add a few new knots to your arsenal? Our step-by-step guide is sure to tie your wedding fit together.
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
by
Tres Dean
tres dean Associate Menswear Editor
Tres Dean
Associate Menswear Editor
  • Tres writes and edits articles for The Knot, with a specialty in menswear and suiting.
  • He brings over a decade of expertise in the field garnered as a writer, editor, copywriter, and trend specialist.
  • Before joining The Knot he covered menswear for publications including GQ, AskMen, Men’s Health, Sharp Magazine, Highsnobiety, and Spy.
Updated Oct 25, 2023
THE KNOT ORIGINAL VIDEO

At some point we've all needed to know how to tie a tie. Whether it's a refresher on how to tie a Windsor knot, or learning for the first time because you've finally decided to retire your old clip-on, knowing how to tie a tie is a vital tool to have in your sartorial pocket–especially if you have a wedding on the calendar (and don't forget to learn how to tie a bow tie as well). Guests and grooms alike often need to slip one on for the big occasion and there are a variety of different ways to do it. From classic Windsor knots to more elaborate and elegant tie knots, here's everything you need to know about tying a wedding tie.

TL;DR: The Easiest Way to Tie a Tie

In a rush? Don't worry–there's a tie knot for that. The easiest way to tie a tie is to go with a simple Windsor Knot, likely the one that comes to mind when you think of the word "tie." It only takes a few simple steps and looks great with almost any suit.

Types of Tie Knots

There are a ton of different ways to tie a tie, varying in formality, style, and difficulty. What works best for you often comes down to the suit or shirt with which you'll be wearing your tie. Let's tie one on.

How to Tie a Full Windsor Knot

Featuring a polished triangular shape, the Windsor knot offers a good option for job interviews, presentations and social occasions. Because of its wide appearance, this knot looks best with a spread-collar shirt. Although it may appear complicated, tying the full Windsor knot is accomplished without much difficulty.

Difficulty: Easy

How to tie a full windsor knot step-by-step graphic
Illustration by Tiana Crispino for The Knot

Full Windsor Knot Steps

  1. To begin tying the full Windsor knot, raise the shirt collar and drape the tie around the neck, so the wide end is on the right side and extends about 12 inches below the narrow end.

  2. Cross the wide part of the tie over the narrow part.

  3. Pull the wide end up through the opening at the neck, then down.

  4. Pass the wide end underneath and to the right of the narrow part with the wrong side facing out.

  5. Cross the wide part over and to the left of the narrow part with the correct side facing out.

  6. Pull the wide end up through the opening at the neck.

  7. When bringing it down, pass it through the loop at the front.

  8. Holding the dangling parts with one hand, slide the knot carefully up toward the collar with the other hand until snug, then lower the collar.

How to Tie a Half Windsor Knot

Understanding how to knot a tie can give you a wealth of options to choose from when getting ready. Variations only further extend the possibilities. The half Windsor knot offers a triangular and symmetrical shape for a classic presentation. Because it's smaller than the full Windsor, it works best with wider, medium-weight ties and pairs well with any dress shirt. With a few simple instructions, the Half Windsor knot comes together easily.

As with the full Windsor knot, begin the process by raising the shirt collar. Drape the tie around the neck so the wide end is on the right and extends roughly 12 inches below the narrow end.

Difficulty: Easy

How to tie a half windsor knot step-by-step guide graphic
Illustration by Tiana Crispino for The Knot

Half Windsor Knot Steps

  1. Cross the wide part over the narrow part.

  2. Cross the wide part behind the narrow part so the wrong side is facing out.

  3. Bring the wide end up and over to the left.

  4. Pull it through the opening at the neck so it lays the wrong side out to the right.

  5. Bring the wide end over the narrow part from right to left with the correct side facing up.

  6. Bring the wide end up through the neck loop again.

  7. When bringing it down, insert it through the loop at the front of the collar.

  8. Adjust the knot by sliding it upward with one hand and holding the tails with the other.

  9. Lower the shirt collar to complete the look.

How to Tie a Four-in-Hand Knot

The four-in-hand knot works well for wide neckties in heavy fabrics. Learn how to knot a tie in this style if you're hoping to dress up a traditional look. It looks most attractive when worn with a standard button-down dress shirt. With a few easy steps, people can tie the four-in-hand knot in a matter of minutes.

Difficulty: Easy

 How to tie a four-in-hand knot step-by-step guide graphic
Illustration by Tiana Crispino for The Knot

Four-in-Hand Knot Steps

  1. To complete this knot, raise the shirt collar and drape the tie around the neck so the wide end is on the right side and extends roughly 12 inches below the narrow end.

  2. Bring the wide part of the tie across the narrow part.

  3. Then bring the wide part under the narrow part.

  4. Bring the wide side back over the top of the narrow part.

  5. Bring the wide side up through the large loop at the neck.

  6. With a loose hold on the knot, insert the wide end in a downward direction through the loop in front.

  7. Holding the bottom narrow part of the tie with one hand, slide the knot upward with the other until neat and snug. Lower the shirt collar to complete the look.

How to Tie a Trinity Knot

As you get more comfortable with the basics of how to tie a tie, you can graduate to more sophisticated options. The Trinity knot offers a stylish look patterned after the Trinity symbol. With a more complex design than the Windsor and four-in-hand knots, tying the Trinity knot is a little more complicated, but it makes a fashion statement for formal functions.

Difficulty: Medium

How to tie a trinity knot step-by-step graphic
Illustration by Tiana Crispino for The Knot

Trinity Knot Steps

  1. To tie the Trinity knot, raise the shirt collar and drape the tie around the neck with the wide edge hanging on the right side, just above the navel.

  2. Just below the collar, pinch the wide side of the tie long ways to form a dimple in the fabric.

  3. Take the thin part and cross it over the thick part.

  4. Bring the thin end up through the neck opening.

  5. Bring it back down toward the right side.

  6. Cross it under the thick part of the tie and to the other side, wrong side up.

  7. Bring the narrow end up.

  8. Pull it through the neck opening and toward the right to form a heart shape.

  9. Move it across the heart shape and bring it up through the neck loop.

  10. Pull it through the knot, keeping the top loop of the knot loose.

  11. Then move it behind the thick portion to the other side.

  12. Bring the now short end up and through the loose loop.

  13. Adjust the knot for tightness and symmetry and tuck the end under the neckline. Fold down the shirt collar for a finished look.

How to Tie a Pratt Knot

Also known as the Shelby knot, the Pratt knot offers a stylish look for any dress shirt. Because this knot is thinner than the Windsor knot, it works well when fashioned with lightweight to medium-weight ties. The Pratt knot requires just a few simple steps to master.

Difficulty: Easy

How to tie a pratt knot step by step graphic guide
Illustration by Tiana Crispino for The Knot

Pratt Knot Steps

  1. To begin tying the Pratt knot, raise the shirt collar and drape the tie wrong side up with the wide end hanging on the right side roughly 12 inches lower than the narrow end.

  2. Cross the wide part of the tie under the narrow part.

  3. Bring the wide end up and loop it down through the opening at the neck and tighten.

  4. Cross the wide end to the right with the correct side up.

  5. Pull it up through the neck opening.

  6. Bring it down through the knot loop.

  7. Slide and adjust the knot gently and lower the shirt collar to complete the process.

How to Tie a Kelvin Knot

This uncommon knot will certainly set you apart from the crowd. Thankfully, Kelvin knots are easy to learn and create an even, polished look. Follow a few basic steps, and you'll be a Kelvin knot expert in no time.

Difficulty: Moderate

How to tie a kelvin knot step by step graphic guide
Illustration by Tiana Crispino for The Knot

Kelvin Knot Steps

  1. Drape your tie around your collar with the seam out and the thick end on your left. Hang your end two or three inches lower than where you hope to complete the tie.

  2. Cross the thick end under the thin side left to ride. You should create an X underneath your chin.Take the thick end across the front knot from right to left. Wrap around the thin end and pass back underneath the knot from left to right.Bring the thick end horizontally across the front moving from right to left. Tuck a finger under the horizontal band you create.Tuck your thick end underneath the loop around your collar.

  3. Bring your thick end through the horizontal loop. Snug the knot down into place.

  4. Tighten by grasping the knot with one hand and pulling on the narrow end with the other.

How to Tie an Eldredge Knot

With its intricate design, the Eldredge knot makes a bold statement. Fair warning: learning how to knot a tie in this style can take time. While tying this knot involves a variety of steps, the process is not as complicated as it seems. While some knots are created with the wide portion of the tie, this knot is fashioned entirely from the narrow portion.

Difficulty: Hard

How to tie an eldredge knot step-by-step guide
Illustration by Tiana Crispino for The Knot

Eldredge Knot Steps

  1. To begin tying the Eldredge knot, raise the shirt collar and drape the tie so the wide end lays on the right side just below the navel.

  2. Pinch the thicker side of the tie near the collar to create a dimple, long ways.

  3. Bring the thin part over the thick part of the tie.

  4. Bring the thin part under the thick part of the tie, wrong side up.

  5. Bring the thin part up toward the neck.

  6. Bring it down through the neck loop to the right, wrong side up.

  7. Going left, take it around the front of the knot.

  8. Take it up through the neck loop.

  9. Bring it back down to the right.

  10. Take it behind the wide part of the tie to the left, wrong side up.

  11. Take it across the front to the right and through the loop created in the previous step.

  12. Tighten the knot by pulling the narrow end to the right.

  13. Bring the end straight up and through the neck loop to the right of the knot.

  14. Again, bring it up, over the knot to the left of the knot.

  15. Keeping the knot loose, bring the short tail up to the right and through the loop just created.

  16. Pull to tighten.

  17. Tuck the end behind the neckline on the left. Lower the shirt collar for a smart and finished look.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tying a Tie

Do I have to wear a tie to a wedding?

Whether or not you wear a tie to a wedding largely comes down to dress code. More formal occasions like black-tie and semi-formal tend to require some sort of tie to go with your wedding day 'fit. For more lax dress codes like dressy casual, you may not be required to wear one. When in doubt, wear one–you can always take it off.

Are certain tie knots more formal than others?

Yes, generally the more intricate the knot the more formal it comes across. An Eldridge tie should be reserved for black-tie and black-tie optional weddings, for example. Similarly, a knot like a Half Windsor is a bit more casual–save that for cocktail attire and semi-formal weddings.

Does your dress shirt determine the type of tie you should wear?

Definitely. As with all things in suiting, proportion is key. Thicker, wider knots should be worn with beefier shirt collars. Smaller, thinner knots should be worn with slimmer shirt collars.

Whether for business or social occasions, certain ensembles look better with a tie. Located underneath the shirt collar and knotted at the throat, a straight tie brings a level of professionalism and elegance to a suit, vest, or shirt and slacks. It adds a level of sophistication to almost any wedding guest outfit. Although clip-on ties may seem like the easiest route, hand-tied straight ties are the most attractive option. Knowing how to tie a tie can open up a number of new styles and looks. With six tie knots to choose from, there's something for every neck size and shirt style. If you prefer an easy knot, we suggest starting with the full Windsor. Our how to tie a tie videos and simple instructions allow men and women to sport a polished tie in minutes. People should practice tying knots in front of a mirror for best results.

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