If you Google “best tie knot” you’ll find about 1,475,899 different options, but how many of these do you actually need to know?
Okay, there aren’t that many ways to tie a tie, but there are a bunch of wacky “novelty” knots that 99% of guys would never use.
In fact, I recommend staying away from novelty knots altogether, unless it’s part of a costume. I’ll explain why:
If you’re wearing a tie, it’s usually for an important occasion like a wedding, funeral or job interview. Novelty tie knots have no place at such events.
So, rather than making some ridiculous “listicle” style article that shows you 101 ways to tie a tie, I’m just going to show you the five most practical methods.
Realistically, you’ll probably only need 1-2 of these. Most guys can get away with using the Four in Hand knot whenever they wear a tie.
Some men prefer a Prince Albert or Half Windsor, both of which produce a bigger knot.
But if you master the Four in Hand and one other method – say, the Half Windsor – you’ll definitely be good to go.
So, without further ado, let’s run through the top five ways to tie a tie, from smallest to largest:
#1: Simple Knot (a.k.a., Oriental Knot)
Pros: Simple, fast, small, asymmetrical
Cons: Too small for some collars; not good if tie is too long
This simple tie knot is easy to learn, and I guarantee you’ll be able to master it quickly and tie it perfectly in just a few seconds.
For more information about the Simple Knot, along with a more detailed tying tutorial, check out this guide:
If this knot is too simple or small for you, you’ll love the next one. It’s a classic!
#2: Four in Hand Knot
Pros: Easy; works with most collars
Cons: Too casual for some situations
The Four in Hand is the most common tie knot. If your dad taught you how to tie a tie, he probably showed you this one.
For more information about the Four in Hand Knot, along with a more detailed tying tutorial, check out this guide:
Most guys could get away with using the Four in Hand knot for their whole lives, but if you need something more substantial, check out this next knot…
#3: Prince Albert Knot (a.k.a, Double Four in Hand)
Pros: Not too big or too small
Cons: Can look sloppy if done poorly
If you love the Four in Hand but need something just a little thicker, the Prince Albert Knot (or Double Four in Hand) is your best bet.
Just like the standard Four in Hand, it’s a quick and easy knot that anyone can master.
For more information about the Prince Albert Knot, along with a more detailed tying tutorial, check out this guide:
The Double Four in Hand is especially great for shorter guys who like the shape of the Four in Hand but need to use up some excess tie.
But if you need to use up more length, consider this next knot…
#4: Half Windsor Knot
Pros: Formal; symmetrical
Cons: Slightly more difficult to tie
The Half Windsor is a classic tie knot. A bit more difficult to tie, this knot is a nice alternative to the more casual Four in Hand that most guys use.
For more information about the Half Windsor Knot, along with a more detailed tying tutorial, check out this guide:
If you’re a bigger guy who prefers a jacket with sider lapels, the Half Windsor will suit you perfectly.
But if you really want the mack daddy of all tie knots, read on…
#5: Full Windsor Knot
Pros: Very formal; symmetrical
Cons: Too big for some collars/people; more difficult to tie
Want a formal, weighty, attention grabbing tie knot that won’t go unnoticed in any room? Look no further than the Full Windsor.
For more information about the Full Windsor Knot, along with a more detailed tying tutorial, check out this guide:
This knot should be reserved for guys with wider necks, heads and shoulders, as it’s going to look a bit oversized on small, skinny men.
If you’re short and stocky, you can definitely pull off the Full Windsor.
Speaking of which, let’s look at the best tie knots for different body types.
Best Tie Knot for Short Men
Are ties always too long for you? You can’t have the blades hanging down past your waistband, or else you’ll look like a kid playing dress up!
Even thought the Full Windsor uses up a lot of length, it’s still not the best choice for slim guys since it’s such a thick, bulky knot.
The good news is, you have other options. The Half Windsor, for example, requires more length than the Four in Hand, so it’s a great choice for shorter guys.
If you like a narrow knot but need to use up some excess length, the Prince Albert Knot is your best bet.
Best Tie Knot for Tall Men
If you’re way above average height or just have a long torso, you may find that most neckties are too short for you.
It can look a bit silly if the thick blade ends several inches above your waistband!
The solution? Tie your tie in a way that uses up the least amount of fabric.
Specifically, the Simple Knot (or Oriental) is your best option. If it seems too small, go with the Four in Hand.
How to Tie a Skinny Tie
While skinny ties aren’t as trendy now as they were in years past, chances are they’ll make a comeback sometime down the road.
Fashion is cyclical. Sometimes wide ties are all the rage, and sometimes skinny ties are in vogue.
Then again, some guys just like wearing skinny ties, regardless of what’s trending.
What’s the best way to tie a skinny tie?
You want to use a method that produces a small to medium-sized knot.
Why? Because it’s going to look a bit odd if you tie your skinny tie with a Full Windsor Knot. It just wouldn’t make sense.
If the tie is made from very thin material, or you need to use up more length, the Half Windsor also works just fine for skinny ties.
How to Match Your Tie Knot to Your Shirt Collar
Don’t overthink this. Most of these popular tie knots work with most dress shirts and collar styles.
But there are some cases where a specific knot just doesn’t work with a specific collar.
Here’s a handy graphic that shows you which combinations are okay and which ones you should avoid:
Most contemporary dress shirts have medium spread collars. It’s sort of a middle-of-the-road collar style that flatters pretty much everyone.
If you’re rocking a widespread or cutaway collar, feel free to use a bigger knot like the Full Windsor (but not if you’re a skinny guy).
If you prefer a narrow point collar (or spearpoint), go with a smaller knot like the Oriental or Four in Hand.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tie Knots
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about tie knots:
Which tie knot is most professional?
Purists will say that a Full Windsor knot is the most professional tie knot, but these days a Half Windsor is usually more appropriate (and more universally flattering).
The truth is, any tie knot (excluding weird novelty knots) is professional enough for work, job interviews or formal events.
What is the hardest tie knot to tie?
Excluding wacky novelty knots like the Trinity Knot, the Full Windsor is the hardest traditional tie knot to learn. On our list, the Half Windsor is the most difficult knot to learn.
What’s the easiest tie knot to tie?
The Four In Hand is often touted as the easiest tie knot, but I think the Simple Knot is actually easier (even though it’s less popular).
What tie knot does James Bond use?
More often than knot (see what I did there?), James Bond uses the Four In Hand Knot to tie his ties.
What’s the best tie knot for a button down collar?
The best tie knot for a button down collar is the Four In Hand. Other small knots, like the Simple Knot and Prince Albert, also work well with button down collars.
What’s the best tie knot for a funeral?
There is no “best” tie knot for a funeral. It depends on your height, the material from which your tie is made, the rest of your outfit and – most of all – personal preference.
Any tie knot (other than novelty knots) is perfectly fine for a funeral.
If you’ve skipped down to this section and just want the bottom line, here it is:
You can never go wrong with the classic Four in Hand knot. It will work with most body types and collar styles, and it’s very easy to tie.
If you don’t know how to tie this knot, be sure to check out the full tutorial.
What’s your go to tie knot these days? Let me know in the comments section below!