How to Tie a Four-in-Hand Necktie Knot: Your 60 Second Visual Guide

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 14, 2012 · 123 Comments

in Accessories, Dress & Grooming, Visual Guides

Start with narrow side nearly to the waist. Cross wide side over.  Cross the wide side underneath the narrow side. Cross over the narrow side again; bring wide side up under chin.  Push wide side into loop made from crosses.  Tighten and straighten your tie. Pinch tie under know (optional). The four-in-hand is a simple and easy tie knot that works well for thinner ties with traditional patterns, and pairs best with dress shirts that have narrow spread and button down collars.

If you liked this visual guide, let us know, and we’ll do some for the more “sophisticated” knots as well!

{ 123 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brian Hoch March 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I like the note about what collar type this works best with. I usually wear bow ties, myself, but having a few good necktie methods is always a safe thing to have.

2 dan March 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I love these guides. The more, the better!

3 Stephen March 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm

This is my go-to knot, mostly because of its simplicity. However, if I could have such clear diagrams of other knots I would love having access to a wider variety of styles.

4 Jacob March 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm

More Please! These are great!

5 Nate D March 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Easily the clearest explanation/visual that I’ve seen of this. I would gladly accept more.

6 Jim W. March 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I’d like to see one like this for the bow tie. The four-in-hand doesn’t give me any trouble, but I’ll admit a true bow tie can give me fits.

7 Jason March 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm

More please! I like that you mention the type of collars with which to use this knot.

8 Brad Czerniak March 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

The ascot knot is the same as the four-in-hand, except the front end goes over the loop instead of through it.

9 Mark March 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Excellent guide, thank you again, Ted for a great illustration. Would love to see the Pratt-Shelby demonstrated.

10 Dr.Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff March 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm

This is how I tied my tie as a child at school. Windsor knots are where it’s at these days.

11 Justin March 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm

The Art of Manliness is a great father figure! I’d love to see more of these, the illustration style is perfect!

12 A.J. March 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Amazing! – More Please!

13 Marc March 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Great stuff! Keep it coming.

14 Hal March 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Let me be the first (and I’m sure not the last) to say that once you graduate middle school, the four-in-hand should fade into obscurity. For those who insist on staying with neckties, either the Windsor or half-Windsor (depending on your collar) are the only ones worth knowing.

I only wear neckties for more reserved settings like funerals and job interviews these days, and I shouldn’t need to go to a job interview ever again unless I need a hobby that pays in my retirement. Everything else deserves a bow tie.

15 Russ March 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Four in hand?! WTH, I think that was actually in my Cub Scout book.

For grownups, Hal is dead on. Windsor or half-Windsor.

16 Hunter March 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Can you do the Shell knot?

17 James March 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm

For what it’s worth, my favorite place for tie knots is http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~tmf20/tieknots.shtml. It has 85 different knots, with some good info about the more common/notable ones, plus extra info on ties generally. The notation may take a little getting used to (the four-in-hand is “Li Ro Li Co T”, for example), but it’s nicely illustrated and once you get it, you’ll see how easy it is to tie any tie using the notation that page does.

18 Brad Warren March 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

This is super awesome so I have deemed it Sawsperome.

19 Mario Braganza March 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Sir, I’d like to have some more :D

20 Alexis March 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Thanks for this guide. I have a similar one stuck to the fridge for my boys to look at as they get ready on Sunday mornings. More please!

21 Andrew March 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Ha. That’s excellent and so easy. Much better than this post which is more of an example of how NOT to tie a tie:
http://www.dailyvowelmovements.com/2010/05/how-to-tie-tie.html

22 jaybone March 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm

My guide for pre-tied length is the WIDE end reaches the crotch of my trousers. But I have a long torso.

23 Annymous March 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I need one for a bow tie! But this was awesome.

24 Tony March 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Great illustration! I,m waiting for the half-Windsor so I can print it out, frame it and hang it next to the hallway mirror.

25 Dan March 14, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Another comment requesting a bow tie “illu-structional” here.

26 Kevin March 15, 2012 at 12:44 am

I would say definitely do one for a double-windsor, which is my favorite neck tie knot and I wish more people would use it – it just looks so balanced.

Also, please do a bow tie one as well so people will quit using those pre-tied monstrosities. It actually is a fairly simple knot and it bugs me to no end that no one does it – a real bow tie looks soooo much better than a pre-tied one.

27 Duane Stephen Povey March 15, 2012 at 2:18 am

Good job on the tie explanation. That’s the way I do my ties.

28 chris scott March 15, 2012 at 5:38 am

This visual was great … I’d love to see the same setup for how to do a bowtie. On a separate note, the name ‘four in hand’ … I’d always heard of this particular knot referred to as a ‘single windsor’ … Are they one in the same, or is there a difference?

29 chris scott March 15, 2012 at 5:39 am

This visual was great … I’d love to see the same setup for how to do a bowtie. On a separate note, the name ‘four in hand’ … I’d always heard of this particular knot referred to as a ‘single windsor’ … Are they one in the same?

30 Matthew Huxtable March 15, 2012 at 6:00 am

I always remember this tie as “One, Two, Up, Through”.

31 Caleb March 15, 2012 at 6:44 am

Well done! I really like the simplicity, and appreciate the comment about the shirt style to pair it with. I would enjoy more in the same vein, as it would allow me to increase my tying styles.

32 Vinson March 15, 2012 at 6:46 am

Great illustration. Keep them coming!

33 Cpt Lars March 15, 2012 at 8:02 am

Yesterday I learned that a shirt with a button-down collar is a sport shirt, not a dress shirt (it comes from Polo players buttoning their collars down to stop them flapping in their faces), and you’re not really supposed to wear a tie with it.

Captain Pedant, awaaaaay!

34 Esz March 15, 2012 at 8:27 am

Love it. Can we learn the proper knot for spread collars? And where can we buy some of this artists peices? I really love his style.

35 Jrs March 15, 2012 at 8:39 am

Great!

36 Mark March 15, 2012 at 8:49 am

definitely! it would be great to have more tie visuals! I enjoy this series…

37 Nathan March 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

I enjoy these visual guides! Great stuff & helpful reminders!

38 Xavi March 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

Please make more! They are very clear and the guy’s satisfaction expression at the end is great. Skinny ties rule!

39 Ed March 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

One thing I hate, but notice all the time, is when you can see the part that goes around the neck off to the sides of the knot! This gives the tie an awful Y shape. At the collar, ONLY the knot should be visible!

40 Chris March 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

Liked the guide a lot. More please

41 Ed March 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

Good stuff. Keep them coming!

42 Alex Devlin March 15, 2012 at 9:40 am

Thanks for posting this. I love articles like this about basic skills we all should have, but most of us just never learned them properly.

I use this site to refresh my memory when I want to change which knot I use. http://www.tie-a-tie.net/

One thing I don’t do that seems to be the thing these days is pinch the tie under the knot. For some reason it doesn’t look good to me. I prefer a tie to be smooth under the knot. Not all full of dimples.

I also like the knot to be placed properly and hide the tie behind it that’s going to the neck. I don’t like to see the knot lopsided or to see any of the knot behind the front part. I think that is why more people use clip on ties. They look good and are easier to wear. In some jobs you have to wear those for safety, like if you’re a LEO for example. But the rest of us should learn how to tie one properly so we can pass that skill onto our kids when they start dressing to impress.

Thanks again for the article. Good info as always.

43 Jason March 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

A nice drawing, but agree with a lot of comments here, Windsor and half Windsor are what I wear. I need a refresher now and then and a diagram like this for those knots would be great.

44 Jason March 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

Great post, more tie diagrams please.

45 Sunil March 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

This is the only tie knot I use. Love to learn others, please post more!

46 Jon March 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

Please post more, great stuff.

47 Matt March 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

Preach it Hal – this knot needs to die away from your repitoir as soon as you start grooming yourself. No Disrespect to AOM but once I learned how to tie and wear a half and full windsor I started looking down on those whom wear a 4-in-hand – it’s just plain sloppy and poor form.

48 Josh L. March 15, 2012 at 11:32 am

It amazes me how many guys my age don’t know how to tie a tie. Even and easy knot like the Four in Hand. I had to help a random guy on the sidewalk in Boston right before his girlfriend/wife/female friend was going to kill him. This was one of the first things that my grandfather had taught my brothers and I as a kid.

I haven’t tried doing a windsor or half windsor knot but I’ll have to try it next time I have to wear one.

49 Rod IP March 15, 2012 at 11:32 am

Though I already know this one, I’d like to see more. I have no idea how to even get started on a bowtie for a tux.

50 Jeremy March 15, 2012 at 11:45 am

Man, these comments…..I didn’t think snootiness–especially about a man’s choice of tie knot!–was part of the “art of manliness.”

According to Brooks Brothers:

“Also known as a simple knot, the four-in-hand is believed to be the most popular method of tying ties due to its simplicity. The knot dates back to England in the days of the coach-and-four where the men driving the coach knotted their ties in this manner to help prevent them from flapping in the wind. The knot produced by this method is on the narrow side, slightly asymmetric, and appropriate for all occasions. It works best with wide ties made from heavy fabrics and should be worn with a tab, button-down or regular spread collar. It’s a classic knot for any occasion and is most widely used.”

Four-in-hand is a fine knot. Other knots are fine as well. Getting your panties in a bunch about knots is not fine. Blech.

51 speak March 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Bow tie please.

52 Ed March 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Matt, speaking of “sloppy and poor form”, you used “whom” when “who” was correct. You’re in no position to look down on anyone, mate. Nothing says sloppy thinking like sloppy use of grammar.

As for the Four-in-hand tie itself, it is perfectly acceptable in the right context. I find that the Windsor is overly formal for some daily uses.

53 Geoff Casavant March 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I will echo the comments posted above — can someone explain the difference between a four-in-hand and a half-Windsor?

@Jeremy, you are right, the four-in-hand is an acceptable knot, but generally only with the materials mentioned in the Brooks Brothers descriptions. If it’s done with a narrow tie, or one with a light material, it looks shoddy and juvenile.

I can recall my days in Navy officer training, teaching my other class members how to tie a full Windsor, which was the perfect knot for the Navy standard issue necktie.

54 Matt March 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I know better than to feed the trolls but I must rush to my own defense on this Ed.
http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/who-versus-whom.aspx
According to the Grammar Girl I’m right.
Nothing says your argument smells like attempting to deflect the topic to Grammar. Try a half-Windsor if you think a full-Windsor is over the top – the varied size of the knots, when properly tied, is remarkable.
Regards,
-The Moron

55 Evan March 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

This is great! More please.

56 Steven Long March 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

A lot better than ‘how-to videos’. This simple guide is easy to understand and makes learning how to tie a tie much quicker.

57 Ed March 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm

No, Matt. You’re wrong. “[...] those who wear[...]” is a subject, not an object. Here is a hint: if what you’re replacing would have been “they”, you use “who”. If you are replacing “them”, you use “whom”. In this context, you would have said “they who wear”, not “them who wear “.

No, I am not trolling. I’m pointing out a fairly obvious mistake. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but you apparently misunderstood your own supposed supporting link!

58 Phil Haney March 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Full and Half-Windsor, please?

(Thanks for the Four-in-Hand. It’s been so long, I’d forgotten how to do it)

59 John Hosie March 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Looks like it is just the half-Windsor to me. My tendancy with dress shirts is wrinkle-free cotton-mostly with button-down collar, and when there is a necktie, it is full Windsor – which I think looks much neater (probably because of the balanced appearance) than the half-Windsor.
Flannel shirts, button-down collar is also preferable – and no light-weight flannel. Free flying collars are for Hawaiian shirts.

60 John Hosie March 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Four-in-hand…Is that worth 8 in the bush?

61 jimmm March 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Yes, more, please. I’d like to see 1 or 2 more useful methods. Thx

62 J. Douglas March 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Thank you, More please.

63 Steve M March 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I really enjoy these Visual Guide. Keep them coming!

64 Karl March 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Great guide, please do others. Especially of lesser known knots we are not as familiar with.

65 CJ March 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm

In my experience, all the other knots for a traditional neck tie are pretty much variations on the 4 in hand. Also there’s a couple of really good (funny, but still useful) videos on youtube on how to tie a windsor (double and single) knot.

66 Casey March 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Another poster agreeing that these are fantastic, and would love to see one for bow ties.

67 Matthew March 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm

This post is great. I am dyslexic, and used to have trouble tying my school tie. As a result, I have never worn a tie since I left school over ten years ago (my job does not require one).

Please do make some more of these instructive drawings for the other tie knots.

Thank you

68 Fred @ One Project Closer March 15, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Yep. Liked it! Would love to see more complex knots. This is the one I use right now, and I know its not the most “sophisticated” of knots.

69 J March 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm

More please!

70 Jody March 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm

My only problem is finding ties that are long enough to do anything other than a four-in-hand. I may have to start looking in the big and tall department …

71 Stephen C Berry March 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm

To all those posting that the four-in-hand should fade away after middle school, etc…

I say this knot can still be used quite well. I love to use in on days when I still want to wear a tie, but don’t want to be too formal.

Since the triangle of the knot itself usually ends up slightly crooked, it has an air of casualness to it.

A little “artful dishevelment” if you will.

72 Dr. Mike March 15, 2012 at 10:24 pm

This was a great illustration of tying a simple knot!

It would be great to see other knots as well!

Also, have a detailed drawing of what the knot should look like when it is done would probably help.

Nice Work! Thank You!

73 Josh March 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I’d love to see more visual tie knot guides … Right now this particular knot is the only one I know for my ties.

74 JTG March 16, 2012 at 8:51 am

The four in hand is the most versatile knot out there. It has the perfect amount of imperfection, something the half and full windsor are lacking. The windsor family of knots are perfectly fine, but can be overdone (Merril Hoge?). A slighhtly askew four-in-hand is perfect for all but the most formal occasions. Don’t take my word for it…Style bloggers tend to agree:

http://putthison.com/post/1022450856/why-the-four-in-hand-since-we-released-episode

http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2010/08/dimple-minded.html

75 Jesse March 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

more please

76 Claude March 16, 2012 at 10:50 am

I love how guys put this down like its unsophisticated or not fashionable. Get over yourselves.

Having said that, I would love to see instructions for the windsor knot. The one illustrated here is what I’ve always used, but would like to change things up.

THanks.

77 Tom March 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

I love the four-in-hand. I wear a tie almost every day, and unless I am going to a setting where a more formal look is explicitly called for, I go to the four-in-hand.

I have to confess to being semi-picky on the matter. I think a man ought to always wear good pants. Jeans or shorts are only acceptable if you’re doing work or some other sort of physical activity. A shirt and tie are necessary. A tie works well all the time with a nice shirt. Some say that ties are not for button-down collars, short-sleeve shirts, or that ties must be worn with a jacket or coat. I disagree.

My advice to all guys out there, wear dress pants or khakis, ties, and shirts that go well with these. You can find a lot of nice ties for next to nothing in second hand stores if your budget is limited.

The prevailing culture has pressured us into going casual for decades now. Go a few steps up and women will pay more attention to you and people will generally treat you with more respect.

Just don’t go to the opposite extreme and dress overly formal. And for heaven’s sake, no fedoras if you’re under 45.

78 Tom March 16, 2012 at 11:48 am

To clarify, when I say “ties must be worn with a jacket or coat. I disagree”, I mean that a coat or jacket is not necessary to wear a tie.

Some insist that you ought not wear a tie unless you have a full suit to go with it; I’m saying that such a thing is nonsense. Wear it with or with out a full ensemble.

79 jeff March 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

It’s funny but I have been using this knot for almost forty years and never knew its name. Cool. And thanks.

80 Steven Horvat March 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

My father showed me this when I was 11 and I never forgot. Now if he would have shown me a Windsor or something more classier I might have done more with my style of clothing.

81 Shawn March 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Great illustration, but like many have already said Windsor and Half Windsor are classier and should be shown. My senior drill sergeant in AIT showed us the Windsor for our Class A’s. He referred to this knot as the “poor man’s knot” because of its sloppy appearance and the tendency for it to pull to one side.

82 Tom March 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

The four-in-hand does not look sloppy or totally askew if you do it right. I think a lot of guys just do a half-hearted job. The windsor is big enough that size alone helps to hide a poorly done version.

Also, a thicker tie helps to keep the four-in-hand knot from looking too asymmetrical.

83 kenneth March 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I like the vis guides. more please.

84 Sven Raphael Schneider March 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Don’t forget the dimple!

85 Daniel March 17, 2012 at 10:37 am

More, please!!! I’m glad to see that you are encouraging the use of ties. I’m a bit strange (by most people’s standards) as I wear a tie much of the time. In fact, I will wear a tie during the day at home while I study, then take it off in the evening when company come over so they don’t think that I am TOO dressed up!

86 Native Son March 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Goodness, but there be a plethora of “necktie snobs” busy judging folks on what type of tie they wear and how the tie is knotted!
All that matters is the tie is straight, the ends are even, and it falls to an appropriate length on one’s torso.

87 Mike S March 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I appreciate the guides and would like more of them. I end up tying all my co-workers ties for them during their first few weeks after we hire them as they aren’t accustomed to wearing western clothing (they are all Arabs), and these would be great to have as a reference.

One thing I’ve noticed living abroad is that each culture has a different preference when it comes to ties. The vast majority of people I see wearing a four-in-hand in the Gulf region are British or Australian, while most Americans I’ve seen tie a half-Windsor. I usually wear a full-Windsor but my preference is a skinny tie with a tight knot so it doesn’t get too big under the collar nor look unbalanced.

Anyway, thanks for the article and I would love to see more.

88 lion March 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hi,
I am familiar with all kinds of tie knots.
I like the small and the four in hand knots but I cant get them
symetrical and with a nice pinch. Do you have a way do it right?
Another thing is the lenght of the tie.
How to tie it just above the waist line?
Thanks folks.

89 Jon March 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm

As someone who can do this knot, but stinks with others, I’d love to see more!

90 Greg M March 18, 2012 at 12:05 am

Great guide. I have a lot of narrow buttoned collar shirts, so I will give this a try. Am I alone in disliking the Half-Windsor? I find the lopsided knot is visually unappealing and acceptable only for junior high grocery baggers.

91 FiH FTW March 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I am shocked at the lack of love for the four in hand. As an article someone else linked to it is really the only knot you need to know (other than a bow tie). Contrary to what has been said on here, it is not amateur; what is amateur is thinking you are superior for wearing a half windsor.

@lion you do not want the knot to be symmetrical. A dimple is nice but not necessary and I find that the ease of making one depends on the tie. The length is really the only think you need to worry about.

92 Nick March 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Simple and effective — excellent guide. I wish I had these a few years back when I needed them most. Keep them coming!

93 JMS March 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

A full series of these guides would be great!

I think you have to teach other knots since you started with the four in hand. The four in hand knot is for children and people that consider themselves a DJ. Now you need to live up to your name and show knots that Men wear.

94 Jonathan March 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Definitely a useful illustration. I would encourage most men to advance to the half-windsor, because it sets one apart, and is yet appropriate in nearly every social situation that calls for a tie. The full windsor over-does it, in my opinion.

I have my own variation (perhaps someone else has done it and claimed it already, if so props to them). When I tie my half-windsor, I double wrap the left side of the collar (instead of just doing it once). Pull it tight both times, then cross under, cross over, up and through. It gives a better crease and slightly fatter knot without the opulence of the full windsor. Wear it high and tight with a tailored spread-collar shirt, and people will automatically respect you.

95 GJD March 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm

My father taught me the half-windsor as a kid and I didn’t even know other knots existed until I was older. For those of you wondering how to tie it, it’s not too difficult. After the first time around, go back in through the ‘V’ from the front before going around a second time from the opposite side. It gives a slightly larger and more symmetrical knot.

I think the most important thing is to pick the knot that fits your shirt and style. It should be wide enough to cover the part of your tie that goes around your neck and under the collar. I rarely use a four in hand but like the calculated “askewness” of it. I’m also a fan of the St Andrew which gives a tight knot with good drape. The full Windsor is a bit large for my taste. Also just started rocking the bow tie and loving it.

96 Ian March 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Great guide! This really shows how to put your hands to maximize the dimple, as opposed to most other guides which don’t even suggest how to hold your hands. This is really cool to get beginners to tie-tying off on the right start.

97 Nick March 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I want to see guides for other knots! No need to stick with ties either. Why not show how to tie various knots with rope?

98 Ian March 21, 2012 at 4:11 am

I use this every day largely because other knots result in a tie that is too short. Can you buy longer ties?

99 Thom March 21, 2012 at 6:22 am

This looks like the way I was taught to do the half Windsor by my Mother. My father was a farmer and went straight into his Dad’s trade as was expected in his day so didn’t really learn to tie a tie.

My Mum taught me that there were three types of knots for a tie; a Half Windsor [ok for women, and men in casual situations] the full Windsor [for men in formal situations] and the Alcatraz which went out of fashion after hanging was outlawed.

100 Matt B March 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm

My dad taught me this knot when I was a teenager. I’m 27 now, and have since added the Windsor and Pratt knots to my repertoire. The Half-Windsor I don’t care for, as it takes too much tie to make. One thing though, the Four-In-Hand-Knot is a simple knot to learn, and takes maybe 10 minutes of practice to get down. The reason my dad taught me this one is because it was the only one he knew. He know wears a zip tie if he has to wear a suit, and I actually have a couple for those times when I don’t have time to tie one.

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