Even if you consider your style to be understated, knowing how to knot a tie is an essential adult skill. There’s more than one option here, too, and understanding the full range of knots (both the “how” and the “when”) is key to achieving a dressed-up look. Sure, personal preference plays a role - but so does the occasion, your face shape, and shirt and necktie styles.
This everyday knot can be executed in seconds. It’s the go-to approach for the collegiate look seen on Ivy League campuses, a great way to knot a knit tie and the best mode for neckwear being paired with a button-down collar.
This knot is more standard in its proportions than the slightly asymmetrical four-in-hand. Once you get the hang of it, it’s just as easy to tie.
Also known as the Shelby, this is a lesser-known knot with US military roots and a distinct tapered triangle shape. Due to its extreme width at the top, it’s much more appropriate with a spread collar. Since it uses less fabric than a full Windsor, it’s a good option for shorter ties.
Learning this knot can be tricky, but it’s still one worth learning, especially for wedding season. Unless you’re using a larger bowtie (normally reserved for special occasions) you’ll want to use this particular piece of neckwear with discreet collars, such as a traditional button-down (for a professorial vibe) or a smaller spread collar. For formal events you might also consider a wing collar, which is the only true way to do classic black tie.
Take a breath and prepare yourself for a few tries. Chances are you’ll have to start over a few times either to work out the handiwork or, at the very least, do some length adjusting on the bowtie.
Your goal is a bowtie that’s not tilting up or down - but only about 70-90% symmetrical in terms of front bulge and back, left end and right. Wear these imperfections with pride; after all, they let everyone around you know that your bowtie did not come pre-tied.
A richer, sturdier tie knot with a distinctly British flavor to it. This more formal approach is best employed using a silk tie of a certain thickness. It looks particularly debonair with a spread collar. A bigger knot like this one requires a bigger collar – and perhaps a wider face – for purposes of proportion. Your jacket’s lapel width should also follow suit.