Looking to learn one uncomplicated tie knot that will get you through all your formal and business casual events? This guide on the Half Windsor knot is for you!
The Half Windsor knot is an extremely popular and simple mid-sized knot. With a neat triangular look, it works on most collar shapes. It's fairly symmetrical (unlike the more asymmetrical Prince Albert knot) and appropriate for most professional occasions.
It grew in popularity in the 1950s as a smaller and quicker alternative to the Full Windsor knot.
Unlike the Full Windsor knot, where the wide end of the tie is passed through the neck loop on both sides, here it’s passed through only one side. This makes it a slightly smaller knot.
Half Windsor vs. Full Windsor
Here's a rundown of the key differences between the Half Windsor and Full Windsor.
- Less formal
- Smaller knot
- Looks great on men with small necks
- Works well on ties of all lengths
- Perfect for thin or skinny ties
- More formal
- Larger knot
- Looks great on men with long and wide necks
- Works better with a long tie, since it requires more tie fabric
- The perfect knot for a wide tie
If you're wondering when to use the Half Windsor knot…
When Should You Use This Knot?
Even though the Half Windsor knot is quite versatile, it looks best on spread collars, with ties that have light to medium weight fabric.
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Since the wide end of the tie here is passed through only one side of the loop around the neck, this knot is not fully symmetrical.
This asymmetry reduces its formality but makes it perfect for business casual events.
For flamboyant and colorful ties, the Half Windsor knot is one of your best options. It will hold its own against the tie’s design and color, and won’t fade into the background.
Skinny ties look great with this knot too. It gives them that extra bit of volume and presence they naturally lack.
The Half Windsor knot also produces better and more proportional looking end results on taller men, since it uses less tie fabric than the Full Windsor knot.
When Should You Not Use This Knot?
Since the wide end of the tie is passed through the neck loop only on one side in the Half Windsor knot, avoid it if you want something perfectly symmetrical. The Full Windsor knot is the better option for you in such a case.
Also avoid this knot if you have a long and wide neck. The Half Windsor knot won’t be as flattering on you as the Full Windsor.
How to Tie a Half Windsor Knot
Here's how to do it, step by step…
Drape the tie around your neck with the wide end about 12 inches below the narrow end.
Cross the wide end of the tie over the narrow end.
Push the wide end up through the loop near your collar.
Pull the wide end out and over the loop around your neck (to your right).
Now wrap the wide end behind the narrow end and pull it to the side (to your left). The back side of your tie’s wide end must be visible on the mirror.
Then pass it over the front of the loop to create a horizontal bar (the front face of the triangle). You can use your fingers to maintain some space behind this bar.
Now push the wide end up through the back of the loop around your collar.
Then tuck the wide end through the bar you just created at the front of the loop.
Pull down gently on the wide end to tighten your knot. Hold the narrow end and push the knot up towards your collar to finish.
To finish, push the narrow end of your tie through the keeper loop behind the wide end.
Your Half Windsor knot is now complete.
To produce a dimple in the fabric, fasten the knot tightly and slide it up towards the collar as much as you can. You can use your pointer finger under the knot to create a more pronounced dimple as you slide it up towards your neck.
When finished, your tie should hang around your belt line or slightly above it. If it’s longer than that, reduce the initial distance between the wide and narrow end when you first drape them around your neck. If it’s too short, increasing the gap should help.
The Half Windsor knot is a classic tie knot that works on most collars, tie lengths and fabrics. It’s appropriate for all formal and business casual events. And it's this versatility that makes it the one perfect knot that will get you through all your events.
It might take you a while to get it right every time, but you'll have a powerful tool in your style arsenal once you master it!