AlbertGerald shares crucial tips for the fine art of necktie-tying, from mastering the four-in-hand knot to getting your bow tie just so;

Whether you are a 24/7 suit wearing type of guy or a lover for urban clothing, it is unlikely that you are going to get through your adult life without wearing a necktie at least once. Men have been wearing ties since the 17th century, when King Louis XIII of France first spotted the look on visiting Croatian soldiers, stole it, wore it, and announced it fashionable. 

Today, the necktie might not seem to have much purpose other than covering the buttons of your shirt, but that doesn’t mean it can not be a source of fun as well as formality. A well-chosen tie, tied with the right knot for the mood, shirt and occasion, can be a wonderful way of adding personality and uniqueness to a tailored outfit.

To make sure you have all the necessary tools to make this happen, we collected all the important knowledge in one place for you. Scroll down to get to the how to tie a tie guide and which knots to choose for your outfit. 


In this guide, we are focusing on knots for a standard necktie. Should that be a bit too dull for your, there are some other options as well. 

All ties are cravats, but generally when people say “cravat” they are referring to a silk tie fastened around the neck with a rudimentary know and tucked info the open collar of your shirt. Or, confusingly, an Ascot tie.

This is a type of cravat with a thin neckband and wide, pointed ends. The main way that you can spot an Ascot is that it is worn over the collar. It is considered less formal than the type of cravat described previously, but it is only really worn as part of morning dress at a wedding.  Both Ascots and other types of cravats have their fans, but can seem rather affected if worn on a daily basis. 

This tie is a metal-tipped string that is fastened by a sliding brooch or clasp around your neck. It originated in Arizona in the 1940s and since around 1970, it has been the official neckwear of the American southwest. It has been fashionable every now and then, but it is probably not one for the everyday office look.  

The necktie as e know it today emerged in the early 20th century, as men’s fashion became increasingly casual and comfort oriented. It is defined by its length, which allows for the trying of many kinds of knot, and outwardly tapering shape. The two main types we recommend at AlbertGerald are woven ties and knit ties. The more formal ties are stiffer and shiner, while the ones that are a little less formal have a charm that feels more contemporary. This is the tie you will be wearing most of the time and is what we will focus on below.



Before you start tying your tie you have to figure out which knot is going to make the most of it. There are so many different tie knots out there, and some of them (the Kelvin knot, Pratt knot, or the Nicky knot) have funny names, but in most cases, sticking with the classics is much easier. To become a professional in all things knots, scroll down and read the info carefully. 


Look at the length of your tie

This one is pretty straightforward, but not to be overlooked. If you have a long tie, chancer are it will look better with a more complex knot such as the half Windsor or Windsor. If the tie is on the shorter side, you might need to go for a four-in-hand. 

Look at the width of your tie

The width of a tie fluctuates wildly with trends. For example, in the 1970s ties were roughly the size of a wild salmon, but during the time Mr Slimane was at the Dior Homme fashion house, ties were as thin as a pencil. These days however, we have so many different options. Generally speaking, we would say that a tie with a width of 2.7 inches and above is a wide tie, and a tie that is less than that is a skinny tie. The wider the tie, the bigger the knot should be to keep it balanced. Most slim ties look best with a four-in-hand or half Windsor.   

Look at your shirt collar

In the distant past, the function of the tie was to hold a shirt collar together. Now we have buttons, but it is still important to match your knot to your collar. The rules here are pretty simple. Cutaway and spread-collar shirts will look better with wider, bigger knots, and button-down collars should be worn with a four-in-hand.

Consider the occasion

When it comes to choosing the right tie knot for the right occasion, always keep in mind that the more complex the knot is, the more formal it will seem. A full Windsor knot is likely to be a bit over the top for most occasions other that weddings or very fancy dinner parties and even then you may decide that a half Windsor looks less pretentious. The four-in-hand is a great knot for the office and other day to day scenarios, but might come across as a bit scruffy if you landed the role as a best man or convinced the love of your life to marry you. 



How to tie a four-in-hand tie knot

This knot is the one most men already know. It is the simplest and smallest, and if you went to a school where you had to wear uniforms, you probably wore your ties with this knot a whole lot. 


When to wear it: day to day in the office, or for smart-casual situations.

Best for: button-down shirts or those with narrow, pointed collars with a small spread.


How to tie a half Windsor tie knot

This one is very similar to the four-in-hand, but with an extra step, resulting in a wider and larger knot.



When to wear it: for smart-casual and formal situations, depending on the size and shape of your shirt collar.

Best for: large, pointed shirt collars with a small or medium spread.


How to tie a full Windsor tie knot

This classic knot is a little on the chunkier side, but it is very much like the half Windsor, except the wrapping behind and across happens twice before the knot is completed. You will need a long, wide tie for this, otherwise you are going to run out of fabric half way through. The only time you gonna wanna use this knot is for a very formal occasion and a wide collar. 

When to wear it: if you’re getting married 

Best for: spread and cutaway-collar shirts. Do not attempt it with anything smaller. It will look preposterous.


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