What is the Best Looking Tie Knot?

Last Updated: April 29, 2022

Tying your tie is often one of the last things you will do when putting together an outfit, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought. You’ve thoughtfully selected the rest of your outfit, so you should be carefully considering what is the best-looking tie knot to go with it.

There are many different options when it comes to tying a tie but the most attractive for your look will depend upon the occasion, the outfit, and the type of tie that you are wearing. For most formal occasions, the Half Windsor hits just the right balance between style and simplicity, though there are many other viable alternatives that you might prefer.

This article will go into detail about the different knots that you can choose from and when you might use them, so that you can make sure that your tie knot is always giving off the right impression.

Types of Tie Knots and When to Use Them

There is an almost absurd number of options out there when it comes to tying a tie. Realistically, most of them are simply too impractical or extravagant to be genuinely useful. You don’t want to spend hours perfecting your knot technique and, at the end of the day, you want to look effortless and not overcomplicated.

The best way to look at the different types of tie knots is by splitting them into two key categories: casual and formal. A tie might seem like an accessory that should always have a level of formality about it, but some classic and attractive knots are best suited to everyday, casual looks whereas others will show a bit more effort for a formal occasion.

Casual Tie Knots

Don’t be mistaken, a casual knot will still look stylish and highly presentable when done properly, they are just more simple and less showy. These knots are ideal for the workplace or semi-formal events and can be mastered and executed in no time.

Some of the most common knots that are not overly formal include:

  • The Simple Knot (aka The Oriental) – The smallest tie knot that you can use, the Simple Knot is similar to the Four In Hand and very popular in Asia.
  • The Four In Hand – Probably the most common tie knot in the world, very simplistic, quick to perform, and easy to learn.
  • The Prince Albert (aka Double Four in Hand) – Adding one extra turn to the Four in Hand but maintaining its asymmetrical appearance, the Prince Albert is simple but attractive.
  • The Kelvin – The Kelvin adds an extra turn to the Four in Hand to create a symmetrical knot.
  • The Half Windsor – Incredibly versatile, the Half Windsor is not too formal for casual occasions but still a classy and elegant option for more formal settings.

Formal Tie Knots

If you want to take your tie knot up a level and demonstrate a bit more elegance and luxury, perhaps for a special occasion, a formal knot might be what you are looking for. Some of the simpler formal knots are still wearable on a daily basis, whereas others are a bit more showy.

Some of the most popular formal tie knots include:

  • The Pratt (aka The Shelby) – The Pratt is not as wide as a full Windsor, and it is well suited to open-collar shirts.
  • The Windsor – Fashionable and timeless, you can’t go wrong with the full Windsor.
  • The Balthus – One of the more common specialist knots, the Balthus is a wide knot that has an artistic flair about it.
  • The Eldredge – Very complex but highly attractive, the Eldredge creates an unorthodox pattern that certainly draws a lot of attention.
  • The Trinity – Another innovative and complicated knot, the trinity is large and flashy with a pleasing three-part design.

Classic Tie Knots

The most well-known, classic tie knots should be a fundamental part of anybody’s repertoire. They are not just versatile and attractive options for a wide variety of occasions, they also form the basis for all other knots. The three most important classic knots to be aware of are the Four In Hand, the Half Windsor, and the Windsor.

If you understand these classic tie knots and execute them well, you can’t really go wrong. These knots are not going to stand out from the crowd – but they always look good as an accompaniment to any outfit. If you want to get more extravagant with your tie knots, you need to know these three first.

Four in Hand

This tie knot is easy to put together and quick to learn. It matches almost any style of tie or collar, but it is generally better suited to less formal occasions. Four in Hand is the best tie knot to use for skinny tie and also for tall guys, as it doesn’t take up so much of your tie’s length.

how to make a four in hand tie knot

  1. Cross the wide end of the tie over the thin end, from right to left.
  2. Wrap it under and bring the wide end back to the right-hand side.
  3. Cross it over the front once again.
  4. From the left-hand side, tuck the wide end inside of the neck loop, bringing it upwards from below – leaving a small gap at the front.
  5. Pass the wide end down through the last loop you made in the front.
  6. Tighten by pulling the wide end down and sliding the knot up to adjust.

Half Windsor

Not as thick and complicated as the full Windsor, this elegant knot is relatively simple to execute but well suited to most formal or semi-formal occasions. It can be slightly asymmetrical and works best with fine ties.

how to make a half windsor tie knot

  1. Cross the wide end of the tie over the thin end, from right to left.
  2. Wrap it under and bring the wide end back to the right-hand side.
  3. Bring the wide end upwards to the center, above and in front of the neck loop.
  4. Pass it down through the neck loop and out to the left-hand side.
  5. Cross it over the front and back to the right-hand side.
  6. Tuck it backwards and up through the neck loop from underneath, leaving a small gap at the front.
  7. Pass the wide end down through the last loop you made in the front.
  8. Tighten by pulling the wide end down and sliding the knot up to adjust.

Windsor

The most iconic and classic of all tie knots, the Windsor is ideal for when you want to give your outfit a bit more gravitas. It is a little more complicated than the other classic styles and can be quite bulky, so it works best with fabrics that are not too thick.

how to make a windsor tie knot

  1. Cross the wide end of the tie over the thin end, from right to left.
  2. Tuck it backwards, inside the neck loop and upwards from underneath.
  3. Lay it down to the left-hand side.
  4. Loop it around the back of the thin end to the right-hand side.
  5. Bring the wide end upwards to the center, above and in front of the neck loop.
  6. Pass it down through the neck loop and out to the right-hand side.
  7. Cross it over the front and to the left-hand side.
  8. Tuck it backwards and up through the neck loop from underneath, leaving a small gap at the front.
  9. Pass the wide end down through the last loop you made in the front.
  10. Tighten by pulling the wide end down and sliding the knot up to adjust.

Most of the fundamentals that all tie knots are built on are present in these three classic knots. If you’re comfortable with these knots, the rest will come a lot more easily.

Best Tie Knot for a Wedding

If you want to try out a tie knot that has a bit more flair or class, a wedding is a great place to do that. With the expectation of formality and style, but room for personality and creativity, there are many different options that are great for a wedding.

First and foremost, you want to make sure that the knot you are choosing suits your outfit as much as it suits the occasion. A wedding might be the perfect opportunity to show off a flashy knot like the Eldredge, but pairing it with a vibrant shirt or a patterned tie can look overcrowded and messy.

With an understated outfit, you might want to experiment with something a bit more complicated, but the simple elegance of a silk tie in a Windsor knot is undeniable. If you opt for the Windsor, you’re sure to stand out for the right reasons.

Which Tie Knot is Most Professional?

professional looking tie knot

The most professional look is always going to be the one that best matches the formality of the situation. Going too far with something complicated can look as unprofessional as a Four in Hand if it’s not handled properly.

Spend some time getting a classic knot to look as tidy and presentable as possible rather than learning a complex alternative. Having a go-to that you can execute perfectly every time is always going to be preferable to a knot that is trying too hard. At the end of the day, there are very few professional environments where you wouldn’t be comfortable sporting a tidy Four In Hand.

The Half Windsor is probably the knot that is best suited to most professional environments, though you may want to step things up to a Full Windsor if you’re attending an annual board meeting.

What Tie Knot is in Style?

Though style and fashion are always changing, some things are simply timeless. Like brown brogues or a classic suit, the Four In Hand, the Half Windsor and the Windsor are always going to be in style. If you want to do things a little differently, however, a few of the more complicated tie knots have been gaining popularity recently.

The Eldredge and the Trinity are relatively recent innovations that definitely have a different level of flair to them, and other adventurous knots like the Van Wijk or the Murrell will certainly set you apart from the pack.

When it comes to looking stylish, however, your outfit should speak for itself. Simple elegance is always going to exude more style than anything extravagant. Like ironing a shirt, the art of tying a tie is all about properly exhibiting the outfit and accessories that you’re wearing – your tie knot doesn’t have to make a statement.

Final Thoughts

So, what is the best-looking tie knot that you can go with? It all depends on the outfit and the occasion. Some ties look better with some knots and some knots look better for some occasions.

At the end of the day, the best-looking tie knot is one that is tidy and executed properly. The classic tie knots look great with a well-selected outfit and they are easy to learn. Get the basics right and any knot can look elegant and impressive.