How to Tie a Tie – The Classics

There are basically four tie knots that can be classified as the classics, namely the Four in Hand, Half Windsor, Full Windsor and the Shell Knot. I will describe how to tie them individually in this post as well, but feel free to copy the following diagram to your computer, print it and put it up on your wall or memorize it if you like.

Classics

1. Four in Hand

The easiest one of the classics is the Four in Hand knot, doesn’t take much time at all to learn. It looks alright and is a handy one to know. The negative thing about the Four in Hand knot is that it is asymmetrical, which gives you a slanting line at the top.

four-in-hand

Here is how you tie the Four in Hand:

  1. Begin by crossing the wide end over the narrow end.
  2. Fold the wide end underneath the narrow end.
  3. Pass the wide end horizontally over the narrow end again.
  4. Take the wide end up and through the loop around your neck.
  5. Take the wide end through the knot in front. Proceed to tighten the knot and pull it up to your collar.

2. Half Windsor

The second one of the classics that everybody should know is the Half Windsor. It looks fantastic, it’s symmetrical and it suits almost all occasions. This is your go-to knot most of the time. The Half Windsor works very well for ties made of thick fabric.

half-windsor

Here is how you tie the Half Windsor:

  1. Begin by crossing the wide end over the narrow end.
  2. Fold the wide end underneath the narrow end.
  3. Pull the wide end up.
  4. Take the wide end back down through the loop.
  5. Move the wide end horizontally over the narrow end.
  6. Take the wide end up through the loop.
  7. Pull the wide end through the knot in front. Proceed to tighten the knot and pull it up to your collar.

3. Full Windsor

The third classic knot is the Full Windsor. It looks great, it’s symmetrical and it suits almost all occasions and looks more business style than the Half Windsor knot. This is the one to use when you go to the office or if you have a thin fabric tie.

full-windsor

Here is how you tie the Full Windsor:

  1. Begin by crossing the wide end over the narrow end.
  2. Take the wide end back through the loop around your neck.
  3. Take the wide end over the narrow end in the same direction you crossed it at step 1.
  4. Fold the wide end underneath the narrow end.
  5. Take the wide end up…
  6. And back through the loop in the same direction as step 4.
  7. Fold the wide end horizontally over the narrow end.
  8. Bring the wide end up through the loop once more, like you did in step 2.
  9. Pull the wide end through the knot.

4. Shell Knot

The last of the classics is the Shell Knot, also known as the Shellby Knot and Pratt Knot. It’s easy to make, it’s symmetrical and doesn’t feel as imposing as the Windsor knots. This knot can be used almost at any time. In size it’s roughly between the Four in Hand and Half Windsor knots.

shell-knot

Here is how you tie the Shell Knot:

  1. Begin by crossing the wide end under the narrow end, while the tie hangs inside out around your neck.
  2. Pull the wide end up over the narrow end.
  3. Take the wide end down through the loop and tighten the knot.
  4. Move the wide end horizontally over the narrow end.
  5. Pull the wide end back up through the  loop.
  6. Pull the wide end through the knot in front. Proceed to tighten the knot and pull it up to your collar.

These are the classic tie knots that everybody should know. There are several ways of tying the Half and Full Windsor knots, so if you’re interested, feel free to roam the web in search of more.

I hope you have learned a lot! However, there are still a lot of other styles of tie knots, if you are interested. In the next post I will teach you how to make even fancier and more exotic knots! Check it out here!

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Josef Wigren

is an active guy who loves learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He is a passionate language learner, traveller, cellist, martial artist, scientist, thinker and writer among many other things.

3 thoughts on “How to Tie a Tie – The Classics”

  1. Fantastic. ( :

    Thanks so much…these are really good diagrams and instructions. A great start to my rebooted tie-wearing efforts…

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