What I am wearing today (18 March 2014)

Today I am wearing a light mustard colored windowpane single-breasted 2-button peaked lapel suit, a contrast and spread collar blue/white striped cotton shirt with French cuffs, a brown silk tie with small white flowers and tied with a Shelby knot, a white linen pocket square with brown borders, a pair of dark brown monk-strap shoes, and the same watch I wore yesterday.

My normal tie knot is the Four-in-hand. However, as I am wearing a spread collar shirt, I thought a Shelby knot is needed to cover the wide angle of the spread collar.









Gruen Swiss Automatic

The tie knot

What tie knot do you use. Or rather I should ask how to determine which tie knot is appropriate for you. The answer depends on a number of factors like, your height, length of the tie, thickness of the tie, and the spread of your shirt’s collar.

As explained in a previous post, when you wear a tie, at a minimum it should touch your trousers’ seam or extend a maximum of one to one  inch and a half beyond the seam, as shown in the following photographs below:

Ideally,  the length of the narrower width of the tie should be the same as the length of the wider part of the tie.

The standard length of a tie is 60 inches. However, I have some ties that are 62 inches and also 63 inches. Therefore, you are fairly limited in your choice of tie knots.

Tie knots

Having considered all the factors, now is the time to discuss the actual knot. There are basically two types of tie knots: Asymmetrical and Symmetrical. As the name implies, in an asymmetrical the tie is tilted towards one side, while in a symmetrical version, the knot is perfectly symmetrical.

Examples of symmetrical and asymmetrical knots are shown below:


As you can see, the Pratt and Windsor knots are symmetrical while the four-in-hand is an asymmetrical knot.

Be aware that many people frown on too elaborate and symmetrical knots like the Windsor knot. They think these knots and showy and pompous. However, my view is that it depends on the four factors discussed earlier: your height, length of the tie, thickness of the tie, and the collar spread. You will look ridiculous to wear a Windsor knot with a narrow collar. On the other hand, you cannot use a Windsor knot with a thick woolen tie—the only option is to use very simple knot like the four-in-hand.

Now let’s learn the important tie knots. But I suspect that you will find the four-in-hand knot as the most practical and useful of all the knots. Also, be aware that there are many other tie knots and if you want to know them, search the Internet and you will find many sites describing these numerous variations of tie knots.

The Four-in-hand knot

The Pratt knot


The Half Windsor knot

The Windsor knot (also known as Full Windsor knot or Double Windsor knot)