Tie knots: all the most famous knots and how to make them

Tying a necktie is something that every man should know, yet it is a task that seems to trouble even the most determined gentleman in the world. That’s why we at Lanieri have put together this easy and quick guide, enriched with infographics and many useful tips.

You will learn to choose the right knot depending on the tie and the occasion (work, wedding, ceremony) and gradually you will begin to become familiar with the art of knotting the tie.

Choose the knot based on the type of the tie

The fundamental aspect of wearing a tie is certainly the knot. If this is done with care and correct method, it is able to emphasize the characteristics of the necktie itself and can give a touch of refinement or, on the contrary, deteriorate the look.

When asked what the “perfect” knot is, it can only be answered in one way: it depends on the width of the tie, on the fabric and, above all, on the consistency of the interior. In order to choose the right knot, it is therefore important first of all we have to understand how the tie chosen tie was made.

For example, a complex knot like the Trinity is not recommended if the interiors are heavy or if the tie is in tweed fabric, so in that case, better opt for a simpler knot. If, however, there are no interlining and the upper material is rather slippery, well then you can opt for knots consisting of a greater number of turns, which can even become four if the fabric is easily extendable like knit jersey or a very fine silk.

Knots: tips for before and after

Have you chosen the tie to wear and are you ready to start making a knot? First of all, close the top button of the shirt and turn the whole collar upwards. After making the knot, let it rise up high, and tighten it so that it hides both the collar and the first shirt button. Check that the wide and front part of the tie is long enough: neither too high nor too low, it should come just above the belt buckle.

Refined men will make sure to make a small dimple at the knot of their tie; make it before tightening the knot, just place a finger under it, so that it makes a small fold. If you are successful, the dimple will be perfectly in the center.

Verify that the knot is centered, then lower the collar of the shirt. And voila, you’re good to go.

The 4 most common tie knots

If there is something in which men have gone wild over the years, this is the way to tie a necktie. The variations of tie knots are way too many and you can find dozens of styles online (more than 85), called each time with different names. Although the choice is so wide, fortunately, the type of knots that can really come in handy in common situations are very less. In fact, the most used tie knots are only 4: the Windsor knot, the half-Windsor, the simple and the small.

The Windsor knot is reserved for great formal occasions. Compared to the simple and small knot is the most difficult to make but perfect for long ties. The half-Windsor knot is simple to make although a little more complex than the simple knot, is suitable for more formal occasions and celebrations. The so-called simple knot is the easiest to make and is suitable for almost any occasion, it easily adapts to any type of shirt collar and any type of tie. It is considered the most modern and young among knots, and in fact, it is perfect for a casual look. The small knot is, as the name implies, limited in size. It is especially worn with thick ties or narrow-necked shirts. Very elegant and refined, it is suitable for any occasion.

All 13 knots for the tie: how they look and how to make them

Here is the complete list of the 13 tie knots that every man should know. Of each, you have available the instructions to learn how to make the knot in the right way, plus some small tips on how and when to use it.

1. Windsor knot (or Double Scappino or Windsor)

The knot of the British style par excellence, it derives its name precisely from the Duke of Windsor. Although the Duke has never used this knot specifically, he was a lover of a similar type of knot: broad and triangular. According to some theories, the Windsor knot was invented at the beginning of the twentieth century, precisely to imitate the style of this type of real knot.

This knot is also defined as the “Double Windsor knot” or “Scappino knot”, which derives from the surname of Domenico Scappino, entrepreneur and founder of the homonymous company and – according to some – inventor in 1930 of this type of knot.

The Windsor is a triangular knot, symmetrical and often goes very well with French collar shirts or open collar spread shirts since it takes up a lot of space. It is the perfect knot for big occasions, to be made with elegant fabrics and not too thick ties(silk is the best choice here). Since the number of knots requires a large part of the tie and it is often difficult to reach the belt, it is better to choose a long tie and/or wear a waistcoat.

The Windsor knot in short

  • It’s the knot for great occasions
  • It is suitable for shirts with open and wider collar
  • You can wear it with a waistcoat
  • Ideal with long ties

How to make the Windsor knot

Windsor knot steps
How to tie the Windsor knot: all the steps

2. Half Windsor Knot

The Half Windsor knot resembles the Windsor knot, but it is less thick and easier to make because it requires fewer steps. It is an everyday knot, elegant and triangular, and should be worn with a wide-collared shirt. It is opposite of the classic Windsor knot, it is usually asymmetrical, but ideally, it is put together with fine and rather slippery textured neckties.

The Half Windsor knot in short

  • Classic, perfect for formal occasions
  • It is suitable for shirts with an open collar spread
  • Suitable for fine ties
  • It pairs up with all the fabrics

How to make the Half Windsor knot

Half Windsor knot steps
How to tie the Half Windsor knot: all the steps

3. Simple (or Oriental) Knot

The Simple knot is the great classic of knots for the tie, it is very easy to make and for this, it is also the most used. Suitable for virtually all ties and all shirt collars, it is perfect for men of medium or very high height. Tight with fine ties and wider with thick ones, in general, it has a tapered and elongated, slightly symmetrical appearance.

The Simple knot in short

  • It matches well with casual and business looks
  • It is paired up with collars and ties of all kinds
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Perfect for tall men

How to make the Simple knot

Simple knot steps
How to tie the Simple knot: all the steps

4. Small Knot

A classic knot suitable for every day, very easy to make, the Small knot is particularly suitable for tall men, with a long torso and a rather wide neck. Ideal for shirts with tight collars and ties in thick fabric, as it is very cramped. For this reason, in fact, it is recommended to use silk ties weighing more than 70 grams.

Small knot in short

  • Perfect for any occasion
  • It is suitable for shirts with a tight collar
  • It adapts well to thick ties
  • Suitable for very tall men

How to make the Small knot

Small knot steps
How to tie the Small knot: all the steps

5. Double Knot (or Simple Double Knot or Prince Albert Knot)

Perfect for every day, easy to make and very elegant. It is the same style as the simple knot, but with one more lap or turn. The asymmetric appearance is apt for all kinds of physiques, it adapts to any shirt collar and can be made with any type of tie, except for the very thick ones.

The Double knot in short

  • Perfect for any occasion
  • It matches with collars and ties of all kinds
  • It adapts to thin ties
  • Quick to achieve

How to make the Double knot

Double knot steps
How to tie the Double knot: all the steps

6. Atlantic Knot (or Ventaglio or Cafè)

Original and with an additional refined effect, this tie knot was widely used at the beginning of the 20th century. A knot suitable for the most special occasions, for an aperitif, an informal party, and reserved for lovers of a composed and retro charm. It is a knot to be used with a casual outfit, an elegant sporty jacket, and wide collar shirts. To be avoided at work or at any kind of formal event.

The finished knot is not complicated like a Balthus but requires a tie of an important length to be able to complete it. Given the number of steps, it is not a beginner’s knot (several attempts may be needed to get the right result) and is not particularly practical, beyond its decorative purpose.

The Atlantic knot in short

  • Suitable for casual occasions
  • Matches with open collar spread
  • Difficult to achieve

How to make the Atlantic knot

Atlantic knot steps
How to tie the Atlantic knot: all the steps

7. Balthus knot

It is said that the Balthus knot was invented around 1930 by Balthasar Klossowski, a controversial Franco-Polish artist. Legend has it that he invented it a bit out of boredom, and it seems he never bothered to wear it regularly. That has not changed nowadays: the Balthus is a special kind of knot to wear only once in a while.

It is among the largest tie knots, significantly larger than the Windsor, and if properly executed it comes out as a conical shape. Because of the huge number of steps necessary to complete it, it is advisable to use a rather long tie, preferably of 155 cm.

Size does not make it a good choice for men with narrow faces or particularly thin and long necks and is also a little bit flashy and extravagant for the most important business occasions. When to choose to wear it? For refined dinners or theatrical performances and art events.

The Balthus knot in short

  • It goes well with the less formal exclusive looks
  • Suitable for very long ties
  • Not suitable for beginners

How to make the Balthus knot

Balthus knot steps
How to tie the Balthus knot: all the steps

8. Eldredge Knot

The Eldredge knot is the most complex of the tie knots mentioned here, an unorthodox, complex and captivating knot, which includes many separate passages. It is a newly invented knot that, in contrast to the overwhelming majority of knots, is produced using the small part (called tail) as an active end.

The Eldredge knot is quite large and creates an effect similar to a tapered braid. A choice reserved for elegant gentlemen who are not afraid to turn heads and draw attention to themselves. The seductive effect of the knot is better enhanced by plain-coloured ties or with delicate patterns. To avoid the stripes patterns that would make it look out of balance and intricate.

Remember, this is an overly extravagant knot that should only be worn for non-professional situations, combined with open or wide collar shirts and very simple and discreet suits.

The Eldredge knot for short

  • It’s the most complex knot
  • It is suitable for shirts with open collar spread
  • Pair with non-showy garments
  • Ideal with solid colour ties

How to make the Eldredge knot

Eldredge knot steps
How to tie the Eldredge knot: all the steps

9. Onassis Knot

Chic and very simple to make, it takes its name from the great Greek ship owner and magnate Aristotle Onassis, who invented it in the 60s making it a distinctive feature of its elegant and refined style. It is similar to the Simple knot with the difference that in the end the wide part of the tie is not passed through the knot but is left free, like a scarf. Onassis used to squeeze the top with golden tweezers hidden under his tie. The Onassis knot is perfect for wide ties to wear on vests, waistcoats, and suits.

The Onassis knot in short

  • It’s an easy knot to make
  • It is suitable for shirts with open or semi-open collar spread
  • To pair with waistcoats and suits
  • Ideal with wider ties

How to make the Onassis knot

Onassis knot steps
How to tie the Onassis knot: all the steps

10. Four in Hand Knot

The Four in Hand knot is one of the simplest and probably is among the most well-known knots. Fast and effective, very similar to the Simple knot, it has a slightly asymmetric appearance and can be combined with all shirt collars. It is therefore universal and easy to combine. The name “four in hand” derives from a knot used by coachmen to fix the reins of a 4-horse shot or perhaps a famous London club, the “Four in Hand”. It is considered less elegant than a knot like the Windsor and is therefore not particularly suitable for very formal occasions.

Four in Hand knot in short

  • It’s an easy knot to make
  • It matches with collars and ties of all kinds
  • It is suitable for less formal occasions

How to make the four-point knot

Four in hand knot steps
How to tie the Four in hand knot: all the steps

11. Pratt (or Pratt Shelby or Shelby) Knot

The Pratt knot is a symbol of the all-American menswear. Made popular by a famous television presenter overseas, it was invented by Jerry Pratt, from which it derives its name, in the 80s of the twentieth century. Similar to the Windsor knot, but less wide, it is worn with open-collar shirts. The tie you choose should not be too thick or too thin (about 60 grams). A small tip: remember to start with the tie in reverse, or with the seams facing forward.

The Pratt knot in short

  • Perfect for any occasion
  • It is suitable for shirts with open collar spread
  • It adapts to thin ties

How to make the Pratt knot

Pratt knot steps
How to tie the Pratt knot: all the steps

12. Kelvin Knot

The Kelvin knot is a small-sized knot, similar to the Four hand knot, but with one more turn that makes it symmetrical. The name may have been inspired by William Thompson, commonly known as Lord Kelvin, a nineteenth-century scientist famous for his contribution to the mathematical theory of knots.

The Kelvin knot works well when you have a little length to work with, and you may need a thicker tie to reinforce it. Knotted with a very light and narrow tie, in fact, can be reduced to a minimum, making the wearer’s head appear disproportionate.

The Kelvin knot in short

  • It’s a medium-sized knot
  • It is suitable for shirts with a narrow collar spread
  • To pair with business suits and casual looks
  • Ideal with thicker ties

How to make the Kelvin knot

Kelvin knot steps
How to tie the Kelvin knot: all the steps

13. Trinity Knot

The Trinity knot, very similar to the Eldredge knot, is a relatively recent style innovation. Slightly larger than the Windsor knot, it is an unmistakably flashy knot, complex to make and perfect if you want to stand out. Tied using the small end as an “active” end, this knot must initially be tied with a certain softness, tightening it all at the end.

Surely the Trinity knot is too “opulent” for work scenarios and can be excessive if combined with pattern ties. So, select a relatively simple tie in the pattern and with less thickness, since the knot is quite voluminous.

The Trinity knot in short

  • It’s a complex knot
  • It is suitable for shirts with open collar spread
  • Pair with non-flashy garments
  • Ideal with thin and plain ties

How to make the Trinity knot

Trinity knot steps
How to tie the Trinity knot: all the steps