Archives: tie

Four-in-hand knot versus the Windsor knot

If someone were to ask you what knot you use when tying your favorite neck tie and you couldn’t answer beyond ‘wait, there are other knots!?’ then there is a fair chance that you employ a four-in-hand Knot. This is the knot that our dads taught us when we were kids and the one that an amazing girlfriend will somehow know to tie.

It turns out that there are actually 4 official knots for men’s neckwear (and several more obscure ones). They are, in no order of importance, the four-in-hand, Pratt, half Windsor, and the full Windsor Knot. Each knot is said to have its own purpose, but a simple Internet search will reveal some very ambiguous descriptions. With the sole exception of the Windsor, which is as wide as the Panama Canal and suited for spread collar dress shirts, all other knots seem to be suited for, well, anything. Everyone seems to have their own opinion (we’ll get to mine soon) about what knot is best for which shirt, but there is more to picking a knot than just the collar shape and size – one must consider the occasion, level of formality, and especially the person wearing the knot!

Menswear has always been about playing off of the man’s shape. For instance, heavier guys will do well to wear vertical stripes to appear thinner. Conversely, thin guys may want to wear windowpane dress shirts to project a wider look. So, when choosing a knot, a larger guy may not want to go with a Windsor for every occasion. A wide knot will certainly not help in making him appear any thinner.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well, the namesake of the Windsor Knot is the Duke of Windsor. Aside from the British slant, this knot is symmetrical, but then again, suits are symmetrical, so are vests, trousers, pretty much everything. However, the tie, and the wonderfully chaotic pocket square, need not be. So, unless you are sporting the spread collar I don’t see any reason to hesitate tying a Four-in-Hand. The asymmetric, just right size is a staple. It looks fantastic when loosened on a Friday afternoon and can be a little unpredictable depending on the texture of your tie. After all, adding an element of spontaneity to your image is a good thing fellas.

Then again, what’s one guy’s opinion? My father and brother certainly have their own bias and will almost certainly refute this blog in a subsequent post, but in the end, you wear what makes you feel confident and to hell with the opinion of anyone else – always remember, the man makes the suit, so whatever knot you chose, wear it like a suit of armor! So there you have it, the four-in-hand knot versus the Windsor knot.

Or, you could try your hand at the Eldredge, but that’s a story for a different day.

Use our how to tie a tie guide to tie your next tie!

Matching: What should match and what doesn’t matter

When coordinating an outfit it is important to consider matching certain items, or at least be aware of what color combinations you happen to be using.  In fashion, there are few golden rules and sometimes good common sense will help you prevail.  Traditional dressers over the years would probably tell us that socks should match trousers, shoes match the belt, etc.  Today we see wardrobes that are put together with obvious thought and many with none at all!  Do understand that people around you are aware of the time and effort that you put into your clothing and appearance.  The following matching and coordinating tips I propose for discussion.


  • Match socks to trousers.  This does not mean that your sock color has to match the trouser perfectly, but try to bring in as much of the trouser color as possible.  Pattern socks with a contrast color background that have the trouser color in the print or design of the sock works too.  Patterns in socks like polka-dots, argyles, foulards, stripes, and other abstract designs are all fun accents that help create your own style and fashion taste.  Just use good sense if you have an important mission that day.


  • Match belt to shoes.  In men’s fashion it is important to coordinate your belt and shoe color as close as possible.  Never wear a black belt with a brown or tan shoe and the reverse would also apply.  Belts on occasion will have more than one primary color that may pick up the shoe color.  Sometimes introducing this contrast accent is a nice touch to a wardrobe.  It is fine to be creative in your combinations, but do realize that others will notice a stark contrast in colors.

  • Match tie to “?”.  Each one of us will have an opinion on this one.  Some may say that your neckwear should match the suit or blazer, while others may think the tie should coordinate well to your shirt, pocket square, socks, etc.  The fact is that some combination of all of the above will probably be successful.  I am a believer of adding some color to that necktie so often you will not be matching anything, but just accenting your outfit with some tasteful contrast.  However, the neckwear you chose can have multiple colors that may match the color of the suit, shirt, pocket square, socks….and it goes on and on!  Be creative and have fun developing your personal wardrobe!


How to tie a tie guide

Don’t know how to tie a necktie? Fear not, we are here to help. Use these simple instructions as a guide to tie your neckties. The necktie has become a strong focal point in today’s business wardrobes. Neck wear is often the first item of an outfit that others notice and that initial impression is always key!

So print this guide off, bookmark it, save it to your local drive, just be sure to have it handy and you’ll always know how to tie a tie.