The act of tying a tie is usually the finishing touch on a carefully selected fashion statement. From the color of the tie to how it coordinates with the suit and other accessories, this one slim piece of fabric always gets the most attention from everyone who sees it. So it’s understandable to have a little anxiety about whether or not you’re getting the most out of your tie with the right knot.
Most all men know how to tie the four-in-hand knot – it’s that basic once-around wrap and pull-through version your dad, uncle, big brother, or grandfather taught you when you were a teenager. And despite its basic execution, it is still a valid fashion choice in certain situations. Because it’s a single knot, it doesn’t take up a lot of space – so it works well with button-down collars (which may be required for work uniforms or that work well in casual settings.) It also works well for the man who needs to remove and re-dress his tie throughout the day. It is simple and fast to execute, and as many men can attest, easily slides part-way down and up without having to be completely untied or retied.
In dressier occasions, however, the Windsor knot gives more presence to the tie by presenting a larger, more prominent knot. So if you’ve spent a good deal of money on that tie and it’s the centerpiece of your wardrobe, a Double Windsor is a good way to showcase it. However, you don’t want to take on the DW with a cotton or rough-textured tie. For starters, it won’t cooperate with the more complex tying process. More importantly, it’s not the kind of tie that deserves the spotlight. Stick with your nice silk ties or silk blends that have either compelling solid colors or interesting patterns (not to be confused with novelty patterns). Pair with a properly-fitted collared shirt... one with French cuffs will give you the chance to coordinate the tie with the color or pattern of your cufflinks. If you’re not wearing a jacket or the event is semi-formal, you can opt for a single or Half-Windsor which offers similar centering and symmetry but less physical presence.
Want to learn to tie these knots? Visit youtube and search the name of the knot you want demonstrated.