While tie knots have varied since the beginning of their use to secure a shirt or jacket collar, most people today would be very surprised to discover the true number of tie knots that exist. Since most of us only use one or two types of knots, some may find it unnecessary that there are so many variations.
However, ties have always been a centerpiece of a suit, the place where one can typically have more personal style and fashion decisions. Because of this, ties have grown incredibly in the types of shapes, sizes, fabrics, colors, and patterns. On top of all of those possible characteristics, the final touch is always how you tie it.
With this in mind, we will spend this post exploring some of the most well-known tie knots, as well as some lesser known knots. Enjoy!
Types of Ties
Before we get into different types of tie knots, we thought we would quickly run through the different types of neckties that you will typically find.
- six/seven fold ties
- Skinny ties
- Pre-tied and clip-ons
Bringing Science to Fashion
Interestingly, in the 1990s there were two researchers at Cambridge that wanted to know if there were a limit to the number of knots that could be used for neckties. Using mathematical models, researchers Thomas Fink and Yong Mao discovered that in fact there was a limit to the number of “moves” (essentially the different movements you make when tying a tie) that could be used to make a tie knot.
With this in mind, they concluded that there are 85 total knots that are possible with a standard necktie. Out of the 85 total tie knots available, the two researchers picked 13 of them that they considered the most aesthetically pleasing.
Out of these 13, there are 4 that are the most common types used across the world, and 9 more that are rarely seen yet are still recognizable. Here’s a short list of the most common types, as well as several of the lesser known types that we wanted to highlight:
Most Common Tie Knots
- Four-in-hand knot – Arguably the most common style of tie knot that you will find, which is why it is also known as the “simple knot” and “schoolboy knot.” There are disagreements about the origin of this knot; some say that it was the knot used by carriage drivers to tie their reins, others say these carriage drivers actually were wearing a cravat style necktie and this knot is how they tied it around their neck. Despite these origin stories, most historians believe that the name originated from the Four-In-Hand Club in London, where elite members of society began expanding their fashion and wearing neckties tied with this knot. If you are ever unsure about which knot to use for your tie, the four-in-hand knot is always the safest and easiest way to go.
- Pratt knot – This type of knot originated in the 1950s by a man named Jerry Pratt. It actually gained more popularity under the name “Shelby knot.” As the story goes, Pratt, in old age, taught it to a well-known television reporter named Don Shelby after making a remark on how poorly Don’s tie was tied. Altogether, Don Shelby wearing it on television, as well as notable figures picking it up for interviews, the Pratt knot has become a standard knot across America.
- Half-Windsor knot – We are sure that you have heard of both the Windsor and Half-Windsor knots, they are two of the most popular knot styles across the world. With the half-windsor, you will end up with a nice and neat triangle that is a little larger than the standard four-in-hand knot.
- Windsor knot – Obviously similar to the Half-Windsor knot, the classic Windsor is simply a larger version of the Half-Windsor. Historically, the name is usually attributed the Duke of Windsor. However, it is unsure whether he actually tied his necktie this way, or if the larger and thicker fabrics he used caused the larger looking knot. Regardless, many people began to copy this look with the Windsor knot.
Less Common Tie Knots
- Small knot
- Nicky knot
- Atlantic knot
- Prince Albert knot
- Christensen knot
- Ediety knot
So Many Knots, So Little Time!
Regardless of the occasion, expanding your tie knot inventory always provides the chance to add some extra flair to your suit. Hopefully this post will serve as a good starting point to start practicing!
In this post, we have listed some of the most and least common types of tie knots that you will find. Can you believe that there are approximately 75 more knot styles than the ones listed here?! We think that pretty crazy too. Join us later and we will continue our exploration into tie knots. Thanks for reading!