In life, we undergo certain learning experiences that mark stepping stones in our growth: the first time you ditch the velcro sneakers for shoes with laces that you tie yourself; the first time you lose the training wheels for a two-wheeler bicycle; the first time you unhook a girl’s bra… you know. As a man, it is imperative that you have certain skills and capabilities, one of which is knowing how to tie a tie.
You might be able to get away with it if you have a lady in your life who will do it for you, but at some point you’re going to have to do it yourself. Whether you wear ties every day or once every blue moon, it doesn’t hurt to know how. In fact, you’re a grown man. You need to know how.
If you already know how to tie one, then step it up and learn about other knot styles and when and where they are appropriate to be worn. Different fabrics, collar styles and occasions call for different knots. Here are the six basic knots to know, along with great YouTube tutorials to help you follow along!
Also known as the full Windsor or double Windsor, this knot is usually worn for formal occasions. Think job interviews and presentations. It is a wide, symmetrical knot that suits wide collar shirts. Avoid this knot for narrow collars and stick to lighter fabrics as heavier fabrics will result in large, bulky knots.
The half-Windsor is a more modest version of the above: still symmetrical and triangular, but smaller. This tie works well with light and medium weight fabrics and can be worn for any occasion.
The name speaks for itself. The small knot is best used with heavier fabrics (such as wool or woven silk) and close-cut collars.
The four-in-hand is perhaps the most classic and popularly used knot. Slightly asymmetric and narrow, and appropriate for all occasions. Best suited for standard dress shirts and collars.
The Prince Albert knot, similar to the four-in-hand, is compact and narrow but slightly thicker than the above because it entails a second wrap-around. This knot works well with thin ties and soft fabrics.
Skip the clip-on and embrace your inner James Bond with this one. The bow tie was typically reserved for more formal occasions such as “black tie” events but this is not necessarily the case today. The bow tie is cool again. Wear it on a night out, or, if the mood strikes: just wear it on your next lunch date with a dress shirt and leather jacket.