Most men spend a lifetime sticking to the casual Half-Windsor or the princely Balthus tie knot they learned as boys, without ever daring to experiment with something new. There's nothing wrong with that – a well-tied knot is never a faux pas – but, as with haircuts and glasses, changing knots often reveals a style that may better suit your look. Tie knots are a wonderful way to tinker with an outfit, creating something a bit punchier out of your older cravats. And a standout knot will always inspire awe because fanciful folding looks way harder than it actually is.
Here are 10 classic knots that are a cinch to master (and even easier to pull off).
It's easy to draw comparisons between an artist's canvas and the larger surface area of the Balthus, named for Polish painter Balthasar Klossowski. The Balthus makes it easy to showcase a tie's color or pattern, but, because the knot uses so much fabric, getting the right length can be tricky. (Remember the golden rule: Ties should end at the belt buckle.) Leslie Simon of the Tie Bar offers this pro tip: "The Balthus pairs well with vests or jackets that are meant to be worn closed. By covering your midsection, the vest or jacket may forgive some of the difficulties of getting the length right."
Credit: Photograph by Huckleberry McQueen
- Begin with the tie inside out, so the back seam faces outwards around your neck. Start with the wide end on your right, substantially longer than the narrow end – remember this knot requires a lot of fabric length.
- Cross the narrow end over the top of the wide end and hold it on your right side. The wide end should be on your left now.
- Loop the wide end up over the front, through the neck loop and behind the narrow part of the tie.
- Bring the wide end up from your right side, and bring it back down through the loop again over to your left side.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 once more – so you loop the wide end up and over the knot once more on the left, and once more on the right.
- Bring the wide end through the loop, behind the back of the knot once more, pulling the length of the tie through the loop.
- Bring the wide end down and pass it through the front of the knot. Adjust for desired tightness.