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Tie Styles: An Easy How-To Guide

Updated on October 2, 2009

All men have the potential to look classy when wearing a tie. Unfortunately, the wrong tie can also make you look unimportant, immature, or even sleazy. If you’re a business professional, your tie makes a statement about you before the first handshake is even made. But here’s something you probably don’t know – ties are sexy. I love watching a man put one on – and I absolutely drool when he takes it off. I’d love to explain why that is, but I can’t. Just know that it’s something many women thoroughly enjoy watching. So let’s get you sexy. We’ll start with the basic knot styles:

The only time a bow-tie is sexy!
The only time a bow-tie is sexy!

Bowtie

See that pic of hawt, hawt Daniel Craig right there? The James Bond promo? That’s the only way this looks good. Yeah, I know, what else are you going to wear with a tux? Fair enough. Go ahead and wear it, it will do. But do not wear one with a regular suit unless you’re related to Orville Redenbacher. And plan on sleeping solo, if you do.

That said, if I see you wearing one of these at the end of the evening, with your bowtie undone and your collar open just a bit.. I'll probably find you rather delicious looking!

Double Windsor: The Real Man
Double Windsor: The Real Man

Double / Full Windsor

This is the knot real men wear. This knot tells your client you’re confident and competent the second they step into your office. This knot also appeals to women. If you took 6 cloned men, used a different tie knot on each of them and then asked a woman to choose the man she’d prefer to sleep with, I’d bet the farm on Mr. Windsor. Why? It’s just a theory, but I think it has to do with size. Oh, it’s subconscious, to be sure. Ties are not traditional phallic symbols. However, as a female, I can tell you it’s the tie’s wide, thick appearance that appeals to me. I always find myself admiring the knot, for some reason. Sometimes I have to stop myself from asking if I can touch it! They are just sexy, somehow. Perhaps it’s because they make the other styles look a bit.. well.. limp.

Tip: If you can’t master this technique, you can still achieve the look by using a thick fabric and tying a Four In Hand Knot (see below)

Excellent Instruction For the Tying the Full Windsor Knot

Half-Windsor: The Beta Male
Half-Windsor: The Beta Male

Half Windsor

This one is less complicated and many men prefer it. Obviously, I prefer you take the time to sort the Double Windsor out. But if you’re totally against it, this is the next best thing. Just remember, you’re going to look smallish and less important whenever Mr. Windsor walks into the room.

Do you really want to be second best?

I didn't think so!

Prince Albert: The Drone
Prince Albert: The Drone

The Prince Albert

Eh, sometimes this looks good, most of the time the material’s too thin to produce a good sized knot. I’ve seen a few politicians pull it off, but generally this doesn’t do much for me. The objective is to produce an elongated shape. You’ll recall I was just telling you the width is what gets you noticed. The more elongated, the less wide it’s going to look.

Four In Hand: The Boy
Four In Hand: The Boy

Four In Hand

This is also called the schoolboy knot – that ought to tell you something. Real men do not wear these. Whether you’re too unskilled or just too lazy to manage one of the Windsor knots, this is not going to inspire confidence. Nor is it going make a woman think naughty thoughts about you.

The Clip-On

Mark Valley’s gorgeous self wears nice ties on the TV show Boston Legal. He looks studly in them. Which is why I was completely stunned to see him remove one of them during an episode. Yes, he was wearing a clip-on! I don’t know if he normally does that on the show, or if that was just for comedic effect – but the man was wearing one. Surprisingly, the tie looked pretty damned good! Now, that doesn’t mean I recommend you run out and buy one. If you ever have to remove it in front of someone, they will probably tinkle their panties with laughter. I know I nearly did. But if you’re sure you won’t get caught, it’s an option. Just know that you are one lazy man if you go that route!

Other things to consider:

  • Width – You don’t want a super-wide tie unless you’re going to a disco. You also don’t want a skinny tie, unless you want to look like a kid. You want a nice medium width – and don’t forget to take your chest and shoulders into account. Just because it’s wide on the mannequin doesn’t mean it’s going to be wide on you.
  • Length – For God’s sake, pay attention to how long your tie is. Do not wear a tie that stops above your bellybutton, you will look ridiculous. And don’t wear one that can get stuck in your zipper, either. Down to your belt will suffice.
  • Stripes – You really can’t go wrong with a nice diagonal stripe.
  • Patterns – I love when men spice a sharp suit up with something fresh and colorful. I would advise staying away from paisley, however. Just doesn’t look very masculine to me.
  • Solid Colors – I’m not a fan of solid color ties. I don’t know why. I’m just not. If you wear one of these, make sure they are high quality, because they tend to look way too simple for my taste.
  • Novelty – Unless your kid is begging you to wear the Moo-Cow tie she gave you for Father’s Day, I’d say no to the wacky stuff.
  • Accessories – Tie tacks, tie chains, tie slides – avoid these unless you’re King of a small country, or CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Otherwise you will just look like you are trying too hard.

There are a few other tie knots out there, but I think these are the ones most men are familiar with and use. If you’re not familiar with the top 3 styles, I’ve included video instructions, complete with posh, English narration! No more excuses – go get sexy!

xx Isabella

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