To Tie a Tie

Having chosen a handsome silk tie to finish your suit, the next choice may seem so obvious as not even to exist: how to knot your tie. For most men, the choice is passed from their fathers, who daily crossed thick over thin side in one of the easiest and most common of knots, the asymmetrical and somewhat off-center knot known as the Four-in-Hand, or the slightly-more-challenging triangular knots known as the Half-Windsor and the Windsor (sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Full Windsor or Double Windsor).

For those with a sense of adventure or artistry, knots exist that are as simple as these or far more complex and will add flare to your tie while you still maintain dignity and class. Fair warning, though: some of these knots are quite challenging and may take some time to perfect.

The Atlantic Knot

A fairly simple knot to master, this lightly-braided look is a beautiful way to show off textures and small, repeated patterns in a solid-colored tie.

How to tie it

The Pratt/Shelby Knot

This medium-sized, compact knot is likewise simple to master and can be worn easily to business or casual events. The knot, favored by Milanese tailors since the 1920s, starts with the seam-side out and creates a perfectly symmetrical squarish knot in four moves.

How to tie it

The Prince Albert Knot

Almost as simple as the original, this variation of the Four-in-Hand loops the large end of the tie around a second time to produce a larger, more symmetrical knot. Taller men should be sure to adjust for the second wrap that will inevitably shorten the length of the tie.

How to tie it

The Grandchester Knot

A handsome knot with a broad base, this knot will function well in any situation. Being made with ten moves, the Grandchester is quite large and will be larger still with thicker fabrics, so silk ties work best.

How to tie it

The Onassis Knot

Simple, elegant and classic, the Onassis is the perfect way to show off the full beauty of your tie. It bears no visible knot as the large side of the tie is left to hang in front, as in this photo. To add a bit more mystery and sleekness of the Onassis while achieving the look of the traditionally-known knotted ties, invest in a few gold and silver tie pins to pull the sides in at the throat, with the bar of the pin hidden behind the knot.

How to tie it

Adaptation of the Onassis Knot

A beautiful and unusual look made famous by Lambert Wilson in 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded, this knot is achieved by first tying the Onassis knot and wrapping the remaining thin end around to be fixed behind the thick end. Looking stylish couldn’t be easier.

The Ediety Knot

Another knot made famous by Wilson’s character, the Merovingian, the Ediety knot is sure to be noticed and receive comments, revealing the thin end of the tie in front of the thick, hanging from a neat braid. Worn with a three-piece or high-breasted suit, this knot is handsome in any occasion, but it looks shockingly unfinished worn with anything less.

If these aren’t enough for you, you can find several other handsome knots listed in The 85 Ways To Tie A Tie by Thomas Fink and Yong Mao, two young physicists taken with the beauty and elegance of men’s ties; and still more knots by simply browsing the Web.

YouTube is an excellent resource for instructional videos from both amateurs and professionals; or check the links listed below for move-by-move printable instructions for several of the ties mentioned above, and more.

Special thanks to Christian Contardi for his photos of the tie knots he wears to work every day. See alternate photos of the knots above and more at


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