How to tie a tie: windsor, half windsor, bowtie and other styles step by step

how to tie a tie

We outline How to tie a tie with instruction steps for a windsor, half windsor, classic four-in-hand, bowtie and other popular styles.

Neckties and pocket squares are essential accessories for the well-dressed and stylish man. They work both on their own and in elegant combinations. We show you how to tie necktie styles easily and correctly, which knot goes with which shirt collar and reveal how you can style your tie.

There are more than 200 necktie knots. The most common knots that are tied with normal-length necktie (approx. 85 cm) are the four-in-hand, the small and large Windsor, the Kent, the double knot and the American Shelby. Each knot has characteristic properties and is tied in different ways, but we will explain how to tie a tie easy steps.

How to do a classic four-in-hand

The four-in-hand is a long and narrow necktie knot that helps to visually lengthen the neck area. It goes with all neckties and almost every collar shape (exception: very wide collars). The slightly asymmetrical knot is ideal for rounding off sporty, casual outfits. Since it is very easy to do, even beginners will have no problem with the four-in-hand knot.

Instructions for four-in-hand
  • Place the necktie around the neck so that the broad end is on the right and hangs down longer than the narrow end (1)
  • Hold the narrow end with your left hand, place the wide end with your right hand over the narrow end to the left (2)
  • Guide the wide end of the necktie behind the narrow end (3) (4) so ​​that it is on the left (5)
  • Bring the wide end up under the half knot (6)
  • Pull the wide end through with your right hand between the outer and the underlying layer of fabric (7)
  • Hold the narrow end and slowly pull the knot tight (8)

How to do a double knot

The double knot – also known as Prince Albert – is similar to the simple four-in-hand. However, it is tied with another wrap, which gives the knot more volume. Shirts with Kent or shark collars as well as models with widely spaced collar legs are ideal combination partners. The best way to tie the double knot is to use a narrow, supple tie. To start this knot, the wide end of the necktie must hang lower .

Instructions for a double knot
How to tie a tie
  • Wrap the wide end of the necktie around the narrow end below the collar (see steps 1 – 3 of the simple knot).
  • Fold the wide end around the narrow end a second time .
  • Pull the wide end up behind the necktie and tuck it into the loop created by turning it over twice.
  • Pull the knot straight, slide it up and center it.

How to tie Windsor knot / how to tie double Windsor

Success in how to tie a Windsor knot — also known as the large, full or double Windsor knot — is characterized by its resulting bulbous, conical shape. It looks very elegant and is particularly suitable for festive occasions. It looks particularly stylish with shirts with widely spaced collar legs (e.g. shirts with a shark or Kent collar). Learning how to tie a full Windsor requires a little practice, so it is particularly suitable for advanced skills. Also read how to style men’s hair withour guide for short, medium, long or curly styling

Instructions for a Windsor
How to tie a tie
  • Place the necktie around the neck so that the broad end is on the right and hangs down longer than the narrow end (1); place the broad end of the necktie over the narrow end and hold both ends
  • Guide the wide end under the necktie up through the neck loop (2), fold it to the front to form a loop (3)
  • Pass the wide end diagonally behind the knot and form another loop (4) by placing the wide end over the neck loop (5) and folding it backwards (6)
  • Place the broad end over the knot (7) and pull it up through the neck loop (8)
  • Hold on to the narrow end; pull the wide end through the loop created (9) and align the knot (10)

TIP: The double Windsor is more ideal for short men. For men who are taller than 1.80 m, the double Windsor is less suitable as it requires a lot of necktie length. Big men who don’t want to miss out on the big Windsor are best advised to wear extra-long ties.

How to tie a half Windsor

The small, simple or half Windsor knot is similar to its large counterpart. It also has a bulbous, conical shape. In how to tie half Windsor, the difference to the big Windsor is that the second winding is omitted. The half Windsor knot is more suitable for everyday use than its big brother and goes ideally with shirts with closely spaced collars. It also looks very good with shirts with a button-down collar. It is slightly larger than the four-in-hand knot, but narrower than the Windsor.

Instructions for a half Windsor
How to tie a tie
  • Place the necktie around the neck so that the broad end is on the right and hangs down longer than the narrow end (1)
  • Place the wide end of the necktie over the narrow one (2)
  • Guide the wide end under the necktie up through the neck loop, fold it over to form a loop (3)
  • Pass the broad end horizontally behind the narrow side (4), fold over and guide it back in front of the narrow side (5)
  • Guide the broad end diagonally upwards through the neck loop (6)
  • Hold on to the narrow end; pull the wide end through the loop created (7) and align the knot (8)

How to do a Kent knot

The Kent knot gets by with fewer twists and is accordingly smaller than the Windsor. It is ideal for tall men (from 1.80 m), as it does not require as much necktie length. The Kent goes wonderfully with small collar shapes with a close-fitting neckline, e.g. B. to shirts with Kent or button-down collars. The tying of this knot is not necessarily easier despite the few loops and requires a little dexterity.

Instructions for Kent knot
How to tie a tie
  • Place the necktie around the neck so that the broad end is on the right and hangs down longer than the narrow end; turn the wide end 180 degrees so that the seam points to the front (1)
  • Guide the wide end under the narrow end (2); fold over and place over the narrow end (3)
  • Guide the wide end diagonally upwards through the neck loop so that a loop is formed (4)
  • Pull the wide end down through the loop and align the knot (5)

How to do the American Shelby

The American Shelby – also known as the Pratt knot – is similar in appearance and shape to the Windsor, but it is easier to tie. The special thing about this knot is that it is tied with the seam facing outwards. In contrast to the Windsor, it requires less necktie length and is therefore very suitable for tall men over 1.80 m. You can also use shorter or heavier ties for the Pratt. It goes wonderfully with shirts with a wide neckline. Also read how to soften a beard with our smart methods and tips.

Instructions for American Shelby
How to tie a tie

Don’t forget the ‘dimple’

Don’t forget to pay attention to the “dimple” when tying your necktie. For the final touch of your necktie styling, give your accessory a small dimple – the so-called “dimple”. This is a small fold just below the knot. It is created when, before tying the knot, you gather the broad end of the necktie below the knot with your thumb, middle and index fingers. Then carefully tighten the knot to fix the fold.

How to tie a bowtie

Learning how to tie a bow tie correctly often seems difficult. But it is easy, if the following instructions are followed, to be able to tie the bow tie correctly.

How to tie bow tie – step by step

First, fold up the shirt collar and place the bow tie loosely around your neck. One end of the bow tie must hang lower because this stock of fabric will be needed later to tie the bow tie.
Now the longer left piece of the fly is placed around the top of the collar.
The shorter piece of the bow tie is now tied in as if a shoelace of the shoe wanted to be tied.
Now hold the folded end of the bow tie while tying the long end around.
Then the longer end of the bow tie is pulled both over and behind the half-finished bow tie. While the fly is now being pulled a little tighter, a small loop should remain in front of the fly, which is held open with a finger.
The long end of the fly is then pulled through this remaining loop. Now the bow tie is pulled tight and aligned until both ends appear symmetrical.

Where and when did the necktie originate?

It is said that there were forerunners of the necktie several thousand years ago. In ancient Egypt, for example, kings and high priests wore a colorful cloth over their shoulders, which hung as a triangle over their chests. Allegedly, this jewelry was a sign of their power. For the Phoenicians, a large red or yellow scarf was typical clothing.

A predecessor of the necktie has also come down to us from China: as with the Romans, the scarf was apparently part of military clothing there. The 7,500 life-size terracotta soldiers in Xi’an bear witness to this. Shi Huang Di, the first Chinese emperor, had the army made out of clay around 2,200 years ago: the warriors were supposed to protect his tomb. Their clothing was precisely shaped in detail and shows that every soldier, regardless of rank, wore a necktie-like bandage around his neck.

According to most fashion lexicons, the actual birth of the necktie did not hit until 1660: with the arrival of Croatian mercenaries in France. The “Hravatska”, a piece of long white fabric that was attached to the collar in the form of a rosette, was part of the costume. The ends hung loosely across the chest. Here, too, the binder was still not just a piece of jewelry, but primarily had a protective function. However, this has not been proven, and there is still plenty of speculation about the origin of the necktie. Also read how to prevent shaving rash with our smart methods and tips.

In any case, the French were apparently so enthusiastic about the Croatian scarf that they introduced it themselves, replacing their own cumbersome ruff. As croatta, croate or cravate they later spread it all over Europe.

Little by little, the entire French aristocracy took a liking to the necktie. It was now woven from the finest fabrics, from muslin or batiste ribbon. And at the ends it was sometimes even decorated with lace. The noble shawl was usually tied twice around the neck and fastened at the front with a large knot or with a colored, detachable bow: a pioneer of the bow generally known today as a bowtie. That was towards the end of the 17th century.

Then there was another war that temporarily introduced a new form of necktie: the so-called Steinkerke – named after the Battle of Steenkerke, which was victorious for the French in 1692. At that time, the French soldiers allegedly did not have the time to do up their necklaces properly. They just casually tossed the scarf around their necks and tucked the ends into a hole in their jacket or fastened them with a pin. This is how individuality came into necktie fashion for the first time. Perhaps these early tie individualists would have been less frivolous if they had suspected how many a psychologist today draws conclusions from a tie about the wearer.

Today, ties are one of the few possible forms of accessories for men. The serious man always wears a watch, a tie, and sometimes a pocket square — matching or coordinating. Also read how to create homemade hair gel.

Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels