The final article in the recent series of guest posts comes from Michael Carper over at ABC Neckties, providers of affordable men’s neckties since the year 2000.

Having checked out this multimedia extravaganza of a post, don’t forget to take a look at the ABC Neckties blog too!

Ask most men what knot they use to tie their tie, and they’ll reply, “Four-In-Hand.” Even If they don’t know the name, it’s probably the Four-In-Hand.

This is a downright shame, because the meeting of the shirt, collar, and tie frames your face. It’s quite important. A tie knot should be coordinated with your neck and face size, collar style, and tie thickness. Here’s a basic guide to choosing the appropriate knot:

Collar Size

The bigger the spread of your collar, the broader your tie knot should be. You don’t want to overwhelm a small knot with all that space. The Windsor is often the go-to large knot, though I’ve found that its dimple is quite a pain to adjust. Also, the narrow end has the bad habit of slipping out from under the wide end. I prefer the St. Andrews knot. It’s easier to tie, just as large, and adjusts more quickly.

Conversely, narrow or button-down collars require smaller knots, since you don’t want the collar to cover up the knot. The Four-In-Hand works fine, though if you want something a little more formal, try the more symmetrical Oriental or Nicky knot.

Bonus fun fact: the Oriental is even simpler, and easier, than the Four-In-Hand.

Tie size

Skinny ties should always be tied with a smaller knot. Since they give off a less-formal vibe, the knot chosen should be a little asymmetrical. If not the Four-In-Hand, try the Kelvin. The same advice applies for knit ties.

On the other hand, if you pair a knot smaller than the Half-Windsor with a tie that’s wider than 3”, I think it looks sort of silly. And yes, a Four-In-Hand is smaller than a Half-Windsor.

Face Shape

The size of your knot should complement your face – if your face is wider, pick a knot broader at the top, like the Plattsburgh. If it’s longer, pick a narrower knot that doesn’t sacrifice size, like the Cavendish, which is the Four-In-Hand but longer.


If you haven’t caught on, here’s the general rule. Large and symmetric equals more formal; smaller and asymmetrical equals less formal. If you’re interviewing, go for large and symmetric, like the Hanover. If you’re out on the town, go for small and slanted. The circumstances in the middle allow you a little leeway.

However, if you’re looking for a single knot (gasp!) for all occasions, I don’t recommend it. But if I had to, I’d pick the Pratt because of its medium size and symmetry. If you let me pick two, I’d go with the Four-In-Hand and Half-Windsor.

Great work Michael, and many thanks to all our guest posters from the last few weeks. Don’t forget to make your opinion of the guest posts heard via the poll on the right hand side of the page.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

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