A properly tied necktie can make an outfit. Although clip-on ties are a quick fix for men who do not know how to tie a tie, these ties do not look as good as tied neckties. Different knots suit different collar styles. For example, the four-in-hand knot suits shirts with narrower collar openings, while the Windsor knot looks best with shirts with wide collar openings. Some men prefer their tie to emerge from the knot with a dimple, and others prefer the tie to hang straight. The dimple is created by placing an index finger under the loop of the knot and bunching the fabric of the tie around it while tightening the knot.
There are four common types of tie knots: the four-in-hand, the Windsor, the half Windsor, and the Pratt, or Shelby, knot. Learn how to tie these knots to ensure that the knot always suits the shirt. It is also handy to know how to tie a bowtie for formal occasions. Learning how to tie a tie takes practice and patience, but is well worth the effort. Ties are available from men’s clothing shops and department stores, and from online sources like eBay.
How to Tie a Four-in-Hand Knot
The four-in-hand knot is the easiest to learn and the most commonly used. As this knot forms an asymmetrical triangle it is not suited for shirts with wide collar openings. Drape the tie around the neck with the wide end of the tie hanging approximately 12 inches lower than the narrow end. Cross the wide end over the narrow end and bring it around the back, under the narrow end. Bring the wide end over the front of the narrow end again and, from behind, pull the wide end up through the space between the tie and the collar where the tie forms a V. Holding the front of the knot loosely, push the wide end of the tie through the front loop and tighten the knot slightly. Move the knot up to the desired position by gently pulling on the narrow end of the tie while guiding the knot with the other hand.
How to Tie a Half Windsor Knot
A half Windsor knot is symmetrical and more formal than a four-in-hand knot. It matches most collar types. However, it is slightly more difficult to tie than a four-in-hand knot. There are two different ways to tie a half Windsor knot, but only one is discussed here for the sake of simplicity.
Drape the tie around the neck with the broad end on one side and the narrow end on the other. The wide end should hang about 12 inches below the narrow end. Bring the wide end up, around and behind the narrow end. Lift the wide end up in a vertical position and pull it through the one side of the V formed by the tie, between the tie and the collar. Cross the wide end over the front of the tie from left to right before bringing the wide end up behind the tie once more. This should create a loop. Pull the wide end through the V again and slip it through the loop at the front of the tie. Tighten the knot and move it to the desired position by gently pulling on the narrow end and moving the knot with the other hand.
How to Tie a Windsor Knot
A Windsor knot is considered elegant and works well with wide collared shirts. The tie used should not be made of a thick fabric as the knot will be too bulky. This knot is not suited for shirts with narrow collar openings due to its size.
To tie a windsor knot, drape the tie around the neck and allow the wide end to hang approximately 12 inches below the narrow end. Cross the wide end over the narrow end before pulling it through the V formed by the tie, between the collar and tie. Pull the wide end forward and down in a gentle motion. Bring the wide end around and behind the narrow part and pass it through the V from the front. Bring the wide end across the front of the knot, moving from left to right to create a loop. Pull the wide part of the tie through the V to slip it through the loop. Adjust the tightness of the knot and move it to the desired position by gently pulling the narrow end down and using the other hand to move the knot.
How to Tie a Pratt, or Shelby, Knot
The Pratt knot, also known as the Shelby knot, is average in size and measures between the hour-in-hand and half Windsor knots. This is a neat, versatile knot that is suited to most shirt types. To tie this knot, start with the tie upside down (the bottom facing outwards) and the wide part under the narrow part. Bring the wide end towards the face before passing it through the V formed by the tie, keeping the narrow end of the tie to the left. Pull down the wide end while holding the point where the two ends of the tie meet to form the V. Create a loop by passing the wide end over the narrow end, pull the wide end through the V from the back before pushing it through the loop. Adjust the tightness of the knot and move it to the desired position by holding the narrow end of the tie and using the other hand to move the knot.
How to Tie a Bow Tie
A properly tied bow tie makes a man look dashing, but it is more difficult to learn how to tie a bow tie than a long necktie. To tie a bow tie, drape the tie around the neck with the right end falling approximately 1.5 inches below the left. Cross the longer end over the shorter end before bringing the longer end under the shorter one and bringing it out through the centre. Fold the short end horizontally and place the long end over the short end. Fold the long end horizontally. Push the long end through the loop at the back of the short end and pull both ends to tighten the knot. The longer the bow tie, the bigger the knot.
Buying a Tie on eBay
Finding the perfect tie on eBay is simple if you know how to shop with confidence. To search for a tie, type a keyword or search phrase, for example "blue silk tie", in the search bar that can be found on every page. Choose the most appropriate category and item characteristics to refine your search. For more control over search results, use the advanced search function.
Evaluate the Item and the Seller
Before you commit to a purchase or place a bid, take a moment to evaluate the item and the seller. The information you need to do this can be found on the item listing page, which is accessed by clicking on an individual listing. Here you will find details regarding the item, postage and packaging fees, the seller’s accepted payment methods, and the seller’s feedback information. Contact the seller by clicking on the "Ask a question" link if you have any queries about a particular listing.
The seller feedback feature shows you what other buyers think of a specific seller’s products and customer service. Additional information about a seller’s communication, the reasonableness of postage and packaging fees, the accuracy of item descriptions in listings, and the time that elapsed before items were posted can be found in the detailed seller ratings. To see this information, click on the number next to the seller’s username.
A neatly knotted tie rounds off a professional look with an elegant accessory. Tying a tie takes some practise and certain knots are more difficult to perfect than others. However, the benefits of wearing a knotted tie instead of a clip-on makes it worth the effort to learn how to do this. Different knots are suited to different collar types and occasions. The half Windsor is the most versatile knot as it looks elegant and can be worn with any collar type. The easiest knot to learn, the four-in-hand, is suited only to shirts with narrow collars as the knot tapers towards the bottom. Long neckties are suitable for most business and formal occasions, but learning how to tie a bow tie is essential for those who often attend black tie functions.
Whether the tie has a dimple or not depends on the taste of the wearer. Some feel that a dimple below the knot improves the drape of the tie, while others prefer a smoother finish. It is important to be patient and to practise when learning how to knot a tie. The first few attempts may not be perfect, but the skill will develop over time. To start with, learn one knot and perfect it before moving on to more difficult knots. A wide selection of ties is available from eBay sellers.