Learning to tie men’s ties and bowties is like a rite of passage for gentlemen. After all, the tie is quite significant in both formal and informal settings. But not everyone has the skills to create the perfect knot or bow. Sometimes it may end up too tight, too loose, or unsymmetrical. With a few expert step-by-step instructions, you’ll be on your way to tying a decent knot and bow, helping you look sharp for every occasion. 

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Tie a Tie

Tie knots come in different shapes, sizes, and levels of difficulty. The easiest to tie are the Four-in-Hand, Pratt, and Windsor knots. Once you learn the basic knots you can move on to more fancy knots like the Trinity and Balthus. We’ll show you how to tie a tie using three basic knots every gentleman should know.

ties on mannequins

Note: With all these knots, always start with the tie draped over your neck and the wide side hanging a bit longer than the narrow end. 

1. Four-in-Hand Knot 

This is a narrow knot also known as the schoolboy knot. It’s the simplest to tie, takes up less material, and pairs well with casual and official looks.

Step 1: Wrap the wide end over the narrow one then pull it up through the loop to create a knot.

Step 2: Insert the wide end through the knot and pull it downward.

Step 3: Your knot is complete. To tighten it, simply pull down the narrow end and slide the knot upward.

2. Pratt Knot 

The Pratt knot is also referred to as the Shelby Knot. It’s wider than the Four-in-hand knot and suitable for ties whose fabric is light to medium in thickness.

Step 1: In contrast to tying the other two knot types, don’t cross the wide end over the narrow, instead cross it under and then pass it through the loop and pull down to tighten.

Step 2: Next, cross the wide end over the knot and then again behind it.

Step 3: Now, pull it up behind the knot, through the loop, then pull it down. 

Step 4: Squeeze the knot on both sides to adjust it and finally slide it up to tighten.

3. Half Windsor Knot 

It’s also known as the Eton knot. It’s thicker than the Four-in-Hand and Pratt knots but smaller than the full Windsor. This knot pairs well with both formal and casual outfits. However, it’s ideal for long ties and wide collars since it takes up space.

Step 1: Place the wide end of the necktie over the narrow side and pass it underneath.

Step 2: Lift the wide side and pass it down the loop. Cross it over and again under the loop.

Step 3: Pass it down the loop and pull the narrow end down while sliding the knot up to tighten it.

Tips for Tying a Tie Perfectly

  • Ideal Tie Length: The tip of your tied tie should reach just above your belt.
  • Knot Placement: The knot should be centered and fit snugly. Not too tight nor too loose.
  • Adding a Dimple: Squeeze below the knot while tightening to create a stylish dimple.

By following these expert instructions, you’ll take a big step toward dressing well for any occasion.

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Tie a Bowtie

Tying a bowtie is a bit trickier than tying a long tie but not difficult at all.

brackish bowties

If you can’t seem to come up with the best way to tie a bow tie, follow these simple guidelines:

Step 1: Tie a half-hitch knot by wrapping the wide end over the short one and pulling it through, much like tying shoe laces.

Step 2: Fold the short end horizontally to form a bow then position the wide end to hang in front of the bow.

Step 3: Pinch the two ends of the bow together in front of the wide side then pass the hanging part through the loop.

Step 4: Pull out the wide end halfway so that it folds and forms a bow aligning with the one in front. The two bows should lay side by side to form a single thicker bow.

Step 5: Pull the two bows at the sides to tighten and then adjust so that they’re symmetrical.

To get more insight on how to tie a bowtie, watch this Rush Wilson video.

Step Out in Style 

Now you know the best way to tie men’s ties and bowties, but if you’re having a hard time tying while they’re draped on your neck, you can pre-tie them.

If you still can’t tie a decent knot or bow, schedule an appointment at Rush Wilson and learn while you take a look at our exquisite tie collection.