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How to Tie a Tie in Full Windsor, Shell and other Knots

Updated on March 14, 2011

Tie knots that you should know

I'm going to show you how to tie several different tie knots. Try each one until you memorize how to do it. Some of these you will never use, but it's always nice to find a tie knot that you're comfortable with.

I will be showing you how to tie the following tie knots:

  • four in hand knot
  • windsor knot
  • half windsor knot
  • shell knot

The Windsor Knot - aka The Full Windsor

The full windsor knot starts with the wide end of the tie on your left side, about 12 inches further down than the skinny side. Cross above the skinny side with the wide side, then put it under and up through the neck loop. Now bring the wide end back down to your right side and cross it tightly under the skinny end. You should now have the wide end pointing to your left with the wrong side (with the seam in the middle) facing outward. Cross this back over the skinny side (which should basically be hanging straight down this whole time) and back under and up through the neck loop again. Now thread it down and through the loop you just created when you crossed the wide end back over. Tighten the knot. The big part of the tie should be longer than the skinny part and its tip should touch the top of your belt. Here's a video of the whole process:

The Half Windsor Tie Knot

The half windsor is actually a much different knot than the full windsor, but they can often come out looking similar. Start the same way, with the wide end on your left side hanging about a foot lower than the skinny end. Now bring the wide end over the top across the skinny end. Bring it back across under the skinny end. Bring it up through the neck loop and back down to the left side. Now bring it across over the skinny side and up and under through the neck loop. Now bring it back down and thread it through the loop you just created. Tighten the knot and your set.

The Four in Hand Tie Knot

The four in hand knot is really an easier version of the full windsor knot. Start exactly the same as before, bring the wide end across over the top and then back across underneath. Bring it back across over the top again to the right and up and under the neck loop. Now bring it back down and thread it through the loop you just created. Tighten. This knot looks a little sloppy and is best for casual occasions when you want to wear a tie but don't want to look too formal.

The Shell Tie Knot

This is a rarer knot that you don't see too much. Start with the tie facing the wrong side out (the middle seem should be facing away from your body) and with the wide end on the left like before. Bring it under the skinny end, then up, over and through the neck loop and back down to the right side. Bring the wide end over and across to the left side, then up and under the neck loop. Now bring it back down and thread it through the loop you just made when you crossed over to the left. Tighten and you're done. This is the only of the major tie knots that will leave the unseen skinny end of the tie with the wrong side (with the seam) facing outward. That's ok, because nobody should see the skinny end, especially if you use a tie bar.


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