Necktie knots: what you need to know to dress your best for any occasion.

Necktie knots: what you need to know to dress your best for any occasion.

The holiday season is the perfect time to talk about neckties.

If you think you only need one necktie and only learn one way to tie it, we are here to tell you that just is not the case!

With social gatherings filling up your calendar there are plenty of opportunities to wear all the ties.  

It can get a little tricky- there are so many options of ties and knots out there! The type of necktie and knot you choose depends on a few factors -  type of shirt, what kind of collar you have, what you intend to wear over the sport shirt (if anything) and what occasion you are dressing for.

So how do you decide which knot to use?

When is your traditional knot acceptable and when should you try something more polished (like a Windsor)? What are the different knots called and when should you wear them?

This is our how-to on different necktie knots and when you should wear them.

First up - let’s talk about neckties. There are so many great neckties out there. Your standard tie, purchased right from the store, is a great tie. Ties come in so many colors and patterns it’s hard to choose just one tie to add to your collection! Ties are so versatile and can be tied in a multitude of different knots.

We’ve seen necktie size trends come and go but the two sizes that stand the test of time are a new standard size, which is 3.25-3.5 inches, and your traditional size, which is 3.75-4.0 inches.

The knots we outline below can work well on either of these size ties. The knots we outline are easy to learn, so make sure you read up on all of them!

So how do you decide what knot to use and when? It really depends on what style and occasion you are dressing for.

It’s important to remember - not all knots are swappable and not all knots are used for the same situation.

Proportions, shape, and uniformity can vary greatly from knot to knot and it’s important to take that into consideration when choosing your necktie and knot. Our suggestions below outline which knots are appropriate for which situations:

Situation: Casual brunch with the family.
Outfit: Sport coat with jeans and a dress shirt.
Necktie knot: Simple Oriental knot.
Why we chose this: This knot is very classic and is casual in nature. It’s perfect for those times you want to sport a tie but don’t want to appear too dressed up.

Situation: Every day at the office.
Outfit: Sport coat with dress pants and a dress shirt.
Necktie knot: half-Windsor knot. Most common knot.
Why we chose this: This is standard for the office or any other business casual setting. This knot is very versatile and can be worn with a suit or dressed when you remove your suit coat. It’s also a smart and stylish look so it can instantly take you from office to boardroom with killer confidence.

Situation: A trendy dinner with your spouse.
Outfit: A fitted suit with a thinner tie.
Necktie knot: A four-in-hand knot.
Why we chose this: This slender and easy to tie knot works awesome with wide neck ties made from your heavier fabrics. This is best saved for semi-formal events and in a situation that feels a little more dressed down. The asymmetrical look of this makes it fun.

Situation: An elegant event.
Outfit: A true three piece suit.
Necktie knot: A Windsor knot.
Why we chose this: This knot is triangular and wider so it’s sure to make a statement. It’s symmetrical so pair it with a great three piece suit and you will look and feel stylish and polished. Make sure you have the right shirt though. A wide spread collar is best for this knot.

Situation: A black-tie event, where a tuxedo is required.
Outfit: A tuxedo.
Necktie knot: If you don’t opt for a bow tie, this is absolutely the time to play with the extreme knots, like a Eldredge or Trinity knot.
Why we chose this: They can add interest to your classic black tuxedo. Watch out- people may think you are James Bond!  

So what are some takeaways from this post?

Thick ties looks best when the wearer makes use of smaller knots like the Four-in-Hand or the Simple knot. They are smaller knots and don’t add extra bulk to a tie. Thin ties generally work best when the wearer opts for larger knots like the Pratt or Windsor. The thinner tie allows for a more fancy knot that requires a bit more use of the tie.

Each style sends a different message and suits a different shirt collar. There are tie knots for tall guys and short guys, big guys and thin guys. There are knots for occasions and knots that evoke emotions.

Think of how powerful lawyers look in thick ties tied in a power knot like a Windsor knot. You can also think of how trendy someone looks in a well-fit suit and a thinner tie tied in a four-in-hand knot.

Being educated about what knot works best with what necktie will help you purchase the best necktie for your style and your wardrobe. Making informed decisions makes your neckties (and wardrobe) work for you, not against you. Effortlessly stylish is so easy when your clothes are easy to wear.