Friday, February 25, 2011

To Tie A Tie Or Not To Tie A Tie - How To Tie A Tie

The Windsor Tie Knot


About a half a billion neckties are assembled around the necks of men everyday!  85% are tied as the simple “Four in Hand” Tie Knot (known as the Regate in France)

To tie a tie, or not to tie a tie? - that is “knot” the question.  It sounds better than what the question should be.  The question is, how to tie a tie, or how not to tie a tie, not why.  

However, it doesn't have that fancy ring to it, like the famous opening phrase from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, 1602.  I have exhausted myself lately with the ever so annoying question - why to tie a tie.  So I decided to make fun of the serious matter of wearing neckties or not which actually has become a topic of great passion among men and, or gentlemen.  If you have read some of my recent blog posts then you probably already know about my extensive and sometimes outrageous answers are; Why to tie a tie or not?  If not, then just scroll down and read some of the posts, some of them are very funny, very serious, and some a little of both.  Also, check out I Love Ties a post I made about a year ago that was in part originally a comment to a hateful blog named “die necktie, die!    

Back to what this article concerns, is the confusion over how to tie ties, especially the Windsor necktie knot.  The knotting of the very fashionable and stylish Windsor has eluded many men over the last 70 years or so for mostly dumb reasons.  It is easy to master, once you know the simple way to do it.  I do not think that it is just being lazy or not caring enough to learn how but much of trouble is partly due to confusion over how to do the Windsor.  Apparently, there is more than one method to tie a tie into a symmetrical knot with the cute dimple below. And, at least one is a really difficult method to manage the hand movements to execute a knot with any form at all.  It is just a clumsy way to do it, period.  I have a theory about this method which is part of an essay I have written on our retail site ( link below ). 

Going through page after page on Google searching for necktie knotting advice and diagrams I found a really great video that actually illustrates how to do what I consider the real Windsor Necktie Knot.  That's right - I said real.  If anyone wants to fight about that – I am, waiting. In the past and in this instance, I found web pages and videos that not only demonstrate a difficult method of tying a tie; some are simply not the Windsor at all.   It is no wonder that it is a frustrating tie knot to learn when in addition to complicated knotting techniques, completely false presentations of how a Windsor knot are made.   One very established "how to" site I found about a year ago highlighted a special guest speaker with credentials to die for, explaining and demonstrating the half Windsor knot or something else, claiming that it is the Full Windsor tie knot.  I will not name that web-site, or the mistaken expert, but he is a style correspondent for a really big men's fashion magazine, go figure.  I sent them an email and they removed that video and now only have a video on how to do the "Four in Hand" tie knot or the "Regate" a knot that the French love - especially Pierre Cardin.   

The Duke Of Windsor
Going through page after page on Google searching for necktie knotting advice and diagrams I found a really great video that actually illustrates how to do what I consider the real Windsor Necktie Knot.  That's right - I said real.  If anyone wants to fight about that – I am, waiting. In the past and in this instance, I found web pages and videos that not only demonstrate a difficult method of tying a tie; some are simply not the Windsor at all.   It is no wonder that it is a frustrating tie knot to learn when in addition to complicated knotting techniques, completely false presentations of how a Windsor knot are made.   

One very established "how to" site I found about a year ago highlighted a special guest speaker with credentials to die for, explaining and demonstrating the half Windsor knot or something else, claiming that it is the Full Windsor tie knot.  I will not name that site, or the mistaken expert, but he is a style correspondent for a really big men's fashion magazine, go figure.  I sent them an email and they removed that video and now only have a video on how to do the "Four in Hand" tie knot or the "Regate" a knot that the French love - especially Pierre Cardin.   Check out our post that illustrates the Four In Hand Tie Knot with a diagram and a cool video. 

The Full Windsor Necktie Knot is really not that hard to make. It will take a little practice and some self-esteem and most important, the simple and what I consider to be the correct method of how to make the Windsor Tie Knot. You will need a few things besides some time and before long you'll be a pro - just like scrambling eggs. When you were young watching your mom in the kitchen that seemed like a really hard task - just breaking those eggs without breaking them all over the place seemed impossible. I'm sure that most people - even guys master that one. Tying ties is about as simple, once you know how. Below is the link to the fabulous video I found, a link to a page on our retail site Nice Tie Store called the Mystery of the Windsor Tie Knot where you can find my diagram how to make the Windsor Necktie Knot - the way I was taught, along with the romantic story about how this knot came to be so appreciated and elusive. Additionally, I’ve added a couple of other Internet pages that may be useful.  



Here is the list of what you will need to learn how to tie a Windsor tie knot.  My simple Windsor Necktie Knot Diagram is below. 


1. A tie, obviously - but, more important a proper necktie in length. If you have a neck larger than 17 inches or you are taller than 6 foot you will need an extra long tie 61 – 63 inches. Normal ties are about 57 inches in length. If you try to make a knot with a tie shorter than your body calls for you will not have enough length to start the tie knotting when wrapping around your neck and shirt collar - before you even begin. This is true especially with the Windsor tie knot as it involves more passes or wraps than other tie knots. That is why some guys do the half Windsor as this knot is similar and works when a longer tie is not available. When you read the directions on my diagram about calibrating the tie for yourself - it is ultimately important concerning the eventual end result.  You will understand the length issue better after you practice a few times.

2. A mirror - tying a tie without a mirror is only possible after you've learned how to do it correctly. Still, it is always a good idea to do the knotting in front of a mirror, just in case you are not at your best or worse, you’re tying the wrong tie, etc.

3. A shirt with a collar - the collar has to be the right size neck for you or forget trying to do this.

4. A pair of pants that has belt loops, ( a pair of dress slacks ).-  The wide tie blade that hangs from your neck is supposed to end just about covering the belt buckle. If you tie your tie while you are still in your boxers you’ll be ditched.

5. A half hour or so - maybe two or three times to perfect the hand movements and the calibration of where to start regarding how much tie length is in your right and left hand, and where the wide blade is in relation to your right knee, ( see my diagram directions )

6. My Windsor Necktie Knot diagram on how to do it taped to the mirror.- My diagram is drawn in reverse and since I am a "righty" I am not exactly sure what a lefty can make of it. It is not as hard as programming a television remote control so don’t be scared.


The Easy Way - Learn How To Tie The Windsor Tie Knot Diagram and Lesson

The You Tube Video - How To Tie A Tie: The Full Windsor 


Tying a Windsor Necktie Knot
The Windsor knot, also sometimes referred to as a Full Windsor or erroneously as a Double Windsor to distinguish it from the Half Windsor, is a method of tying a necktie around one's neck and collar.  The Windsor knot, compared to other methods, produces a wide symmetrical triangular knot. The knot is often thought to be named after the Duke of Windsor ( King Edward VIII before his abdication ). It is, however, named after his grandfather Edward VII.  read more Windsor Knot - Wikipedia. The Internets Free Encyclopedia   - the page has a very similar diagram to mine ( link above mine has a few extra steps to make it a little easier to see the moves.  Wikipedia has my friend Thomas Finks diagram - Illustration on how to make a Windsor tie knot.  The 85 Ways to Tie A tie by Thomas Fink and Yong Mao

I must have found half dozen pages, videos and blog posts explaining and illustrating how to tie the Windsor knot incorrectly as I searched for a few new pages here.  Some were not the Windsor and some maybe an alternative way to tie the Windsor tie knot.  The ways other than what is illustrated in the video link above, on the Wikipedia's page, on Thomas Fink's Web Site - the 85 Ways To Tie A Tie and on our retail web site Nice Tie Store may actually produce a knot that looks like the Windsor, but that may not be the Windsor ( I've often said that there are a million ways to skin a cat ).

One video not only stresses the mirror – shirt, etc. but the guy is funny and really good at the "dog and pony show," He is seen tying the tie poorly in an exaggerated way to to show how the tie looks tied too short or too long - however his method is a confusing method concerning hand movement and will leave an inner knot tied when the tie is taken off. This can easily lead to damaged and ruined ties if the extra inner knot is not carefully un-done which is not always easy as they are usually tight and hard to loosen. There is a different move concerning the direction of the wide blade before its final wrap that causes this “inner knot.” That inner knot creates a lot of stress on the length of your necktie that becomes the knot over and over again so matter if you un-do it every time you remove your tie, damage is taking its toll. The next time you are at a thrift store or garage sale and you see a tie that has one of these unnecessary inner knots left or a tie that has a strange twist, wrinkle or the inner lining is twisted you’ll know what I mean. The method illustrated on our retail site in the You-Tube video and the other pages in the above links produce a Windsor knot that come off with almost no effort and without a nasty “inner knot” to deal with.

Close your eyes and try to remember your egg scrambling lessons. There was more than one way to get that to work out for the best. I finally learned the technique of trying to solve the removal of a stray piece of shell as the eggs were cooking from my wife as an adult, and, a better way to break them too. So if you’ve learned the wrong way to tie a Windsor Tie Knot or you never learned at all - think “scrambled eggs.”

Planned for this blog Find Ties - About Neckties is an article about the most popular tie knots, with the history of how they came to be along with diagrams and videos.

The Simple way to tie a Windsor Tie Knot
The Simple way to tie a Windsor Tie Knot