Tie a Tie: How and Why?

With the recent demise of the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association, which represented American tie makers, I think it’s an apt time to overview the various styles of knot tying and the shirts with which they go along.  Tying a tie is first and foremost and exercise in context; the questions to ask are: what collar style am I wearing, what is the thickness of the tie material and what is the width of the tie?

Now for the good stuff…wait, I have to thank the gentlemen at Skikk og Bruk for their helpful videos…

Four in Hand

This is the most common tie knot, it yields a narrow, slightly asymmetrical knot.  It works best with wider, heavier fabricked ties and with the following collar styles.

Half Windsor

This is a good tie knot to have in one’s repertoire.  It’s adaptable to many different collar styles but make sure that the tie is made from a medium weight fabric.


The Windsor is a knot for the confident man.  It’s thick, wide and triangular and is well-paired with spread collar shirts.  I would recommend avoiding this knot if the tie is made from too heavy of a fabric or if the tie width is narrow.

These knots can be paired with most of the collar styles that exist and can be used with ties of various widths.  But with narrow ties I would recommend sticking with the venerable four in hand.  Lucky for us there are other knots out there, quite a few of them are shown in the videos posted by Skikk og Bruk.  I’m going to quickly classify them so that they can be put into context.

Four in hand-like: Christensen knot, Cavendish knot, Victoria knot, Oriental knot

Half Windsor-like: Nicky knot, Pratt knot,

Windsor-like: Plattsburgh knot, St. Andrew knot

I hope this helps, but if I’ve made any mistakes or horrendous omissions please let me know.

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About Dapper Alchemist

The Dapper Alchemist is an amalgam of my interests in science, design and (men's) fashion.

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