How to Tie a Windsor Knot

If you are going to wear a suit to a formal dinner, you need to know how to tie a Windsor knot. Windsor knots are worn on formal occasions and suit-and-tie affairs. Formal events have rigid dress codes, so your tie needs to conform to the standards, or you’ll look like a boor.

What Is a Windsor Knot?

A Windsor knot is the most famous necktie knot there is. If you are thinking of a tie right now, you are probably envisioning a Windsor knot. You’ll often hear the Windsor-knot referred to as a “Double Windsor” or “Full Windsor”.

The Half-Windsor, a triangular knot that is not related to the Windsor knot at all, is another popular choice for those who wear ties. The Half-Windsor is neat and worked well for medium-weight fabrics and light-weight fabrics.

If you don’t think of the Full Windsor when you think of ties, you are thinking about the Half-Windsor knot.

The Windsor knot is named for King Edward VII of England, the son of Queen Victoria and the King of England from 1901 until 1910. Because Edward VII only ascended to the throne at the age of 60, and because he was excluded from politics during his mother’s reign, the Duke of Windsor (crown prince of England) was identified with a life of leisure. Edward VII was known to be affable and popular among the people and the leaders of Europe, so he was a man of fashion. Because he preferred a wide knot and thick cloth, the Windsor knot was invented as an influence of the Duke’s personal style.

To this day, the Windsor knot is the tie knot worn on formal occasions and dinners – just one step below the white tie on the scale of formality.

Many people believe the Windsor Knot was named for King Edward VIII, grandson of Edward VII. Since Edward VII was famous for abdicating, because of his marriage to an American divorcee, he was the more famous of the two to the 20th century public.

Tying a Windsor Knot

How to Tie a Windsor Knot

How to Tie a Windsor Knot

Here’s how to go about tying a Windsor knot. Keep in mind there is a definite long end and short end with formal ties, so these Windsor knot instructions should be easy to follow.

Wide End over Short End

The first move is to take the wide end of the tie over the short end of the tie. The wide end should drape over your left shoulder. Next, bring the wide end under and up through the middle of the loop in the necktie formed by these movements.

Once this is done, bring the wide part of the tie over the loop and out, carrying it to your right.

The Windsor Knot

At this point, you could pull and create a knot, but you don’t want to. You are only halfway through the Windsor knot instructions.

Take the long part of the tie around the short side to your left. Next, bring the short end of the tie over and around the back, pointing towards your right side. Once again, swing the short end of the tie over the long end.

Forming the Full Windsor Knot

Next, move the short end of the necktie over the back of the long side, creating another loop. Push the short end of the tie up and down through this loop. Pull the short end of the tie, which should have your Windsor knot just about formed.
You’ll want to begin adjusting both end of the tie, to get the length and shape just right for both. Remember that getting knot right is only part of tying a knot. You want to shape and adjust the tie until it is perfect. Shaping the tie once the form of the knot is ready is a huge part of your overall look.

Cinch the Windsor-Tied Knot

All that’s left is to begin cinching the knot, by tightening while you draw up the ends toward the color. The knot should be neat and tight, but look stylish and well-formed.

Practice Tying the Windsor Knot

Don’t wait until the night of the big dance, dinner or reception to start practicing your Windsor knot. Get out several of your ties and practice tying them in this style. Get the steps on how to tie a Windsor knot down by heart. If you are having trouble tying the knot, consider buying a thicker tie and seeing if this solves your problem.

By the time of your formal suit-and-tie event, you should be comfortable tying a Windsor knot. That way, you won’t have to have a father or other guy tying your knot for you. You’ll also feel more comfortable tightening and loosening your Windsor knot, if you know how to tie a Windsor knot in the first place.

Enjoy your big night out on the town.

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