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).
The Four-in-Hand dates back as far as the mid-19th century, when ascots and cravats gave way to narrow, rectangular strips of material, which in turn evolved into the ties we still wear today. The simple nature of this variety of knot makes it a great go-to option for everyday wear. With an asymmetrical shape, it suggests an effortless attention to detail, yet doesn't scream it the way a bulkier, symmetrical form would – think exclamation point–shaped knot here. The knot itself is on the skinnier side, so it pairs well with pointed or button-down collars, and in particular it's complimentary for men with skinnier or oval-shaped faces. It's also the best knot for heavyweight ties that are knitted or made of wool.
Credit: Photograph by Huckleberry McQueen
- Start with the wide end on your right side, about 12 inches longer than the shorter end.
- Cross the wide end over the top of the narrow end with the right hand, and then bring it back behind the shorter end from left to right.
- Bring the wide end to the left, over the narrow end once more.
- Bring the wide end under the knot, and pull it up through the loop in front of your neck.
- Pass the wide end through the front of the knot and pull it gently till it's firm.
- Pull down on the narrow end with one hand, and guide the knot up to the center of the collar with the other hand. Adjust for desired tightness.