Your Necktie Knot

UntitledI hope this will be a short article because I tend to see guys tie their necktie wrong.  Even if you’ve got a great outfit, your tie knot can make or break it.  

How Most Guys Are Doing It Wrong

Guys tend to tie their knot way too big, which is usually the result of using the full-windsor knot.  People see this as a “conservative” knot, but that’s completely false.  All this knot does is leave you with a huge, gigantic, triangular mass at your neck.Untitled

UntitledWant to know why it’s called conservative?  This type of knot reached its peak in the 70s and 80s, which is when your grandparents were in their late 20s and 30s and probably wearing suits.  I know because my grandpa, who moved here in the early 70s, uses the full-Windsor exclusively. UntitledThe other way guys make their knot too big is due to the new “creative ways” there are to tie the tie.  You’ve seen them:  the eldrige knot, the trinity knot, and many others.  The intricate knots pull the fabric and again result in a huge wad of fabric at your neck.  The concept is cool in theory, but ties should still look streamlined and the knots should be subtle, unlike the following example. UntitledCurrently, characters like Hannibal Lecter and Mordicai flaunt their huge knots.   An overly triangular shape makes just makes your neck look heavy and provides no real flourish to the tie.   Even though Hannibal wears great suits, his tie knot is just too distracting.  Untitled I have nothing against the Windsor knot per say, but simply against huge tie knots (which result from guys using the Windsor).  When you wear a huge knot with a small collar, the collar will “hover” off your shirt, since it can’t contain all that stuffed fabric.   Even when using skinny ties, guys still tend to wear their knot overly large and triangular, which to can seem off, since the knot will not be proportional to the rest of the tie.

How To Do It Right 

If your knot is large no matter how many ways you try, you might be better off choosing ties made of a lightweight material.  Please avoid those heavily padded silk ties from the 70s-2000s.  This is one reason I prefer to wear vintage ties:  they are often unlined!   If you don’t want to selectively choose tie fabrics, you can also use the only knot that is appropriate for every situation:  the four-in-hand.  It’s casual and cool, unlike the chunky and clumsy full-Windsor.  Here’s a small graphic on how to do the four-in-hand: Untitled Courtesy of  If you’re concerned with the knot being too loose (or too small), you can always wrap it around one more time.  I often wrap my tie twice just to give the knot a good width.   People assume that you need to “fill up the space” on a spread or cutaway collar by using the Windsor knot; this only makes the knot look that much larger.  In any case, the four-in-hand is the only good way to tie your necktie.  The equilateral triangle resulting from the Windsor knot contrasts sharply (in a bad way) to the angles of any shirt collar. As the four-in-hand goes for a more rounded edge isosceles triangle, it goes much better with all collars.  People have been using the four-in-hand since the 1930s since this knot allowed them space to wear a collar bar.  You simply can’t use a collar bar with a thick knot!   Untitled  See, the key is in a smaller, more cylindrical knot!  Here’s some great examples of the Team rocking the Four-In-Hand! Untitled   Untitled      IMG_9547


Not overly fat or triangular!  Even if you choose not to wear collar bars, to four-in-hand will serve you well.  People complain that it looks too “casual or informal”, but that’s the attitude you should have when dressing up!  The concept of sprezzatura is to make your style look effortless yet put together.  One step is to move away from the windsor knots and start trying the four-in-hand.


Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza

*Pictures not of the Team are not owned by Street x Sprezza 

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