101 easy ways to dress better. No 7: A properly tied tie

Sunday, February 28, 2010
If the best way to judge a man is by his shoes, then the second-best way is probably by the knot of his tie. I'll assume that anyone reading this knows enough to keep their tie tied and the top button on their shirt done up, and I'll not go into those points in detail. However, what is worth mentioning is choosing the best knot for your collar, and your tie, and avoiding the sort of knots that will make you look like a used-car salesman.

There are lots of different ways of tying a tie but really only two that are worth considering: the half-windsor and the four-in-hand. The full windsor is, famously, only worn by cads. Looking like a cad might not be such a bad thing, but looking like a used-car salesman is, and the massive knot created by a full-windsor suits noone.

Four-in-hand. Pint-in-hand.

The four-in-hand creates a relatively small and asymmetric knot, which may well be why people, especially if they are wearing a cut-away collar, tend to avoid it in favour of larger knots. That's really not necessary though, as the idea that a knot needs to 'fill' the collar is generally nonsense, and a slightly asymmetric tie will actually look better than a perfect, neat, triangular knot.

If your tie is made of especially thin material, or you really think a larger knot will suit you better, then a half-windsor is a reasonable alternative. Just never, never, anything bigger.