How to Tie the Perfect Tie… Every Time


Neckties can be cool when they’re not lopsided. ((c) fresh pesh)

His name was the “Egyptian magician.”

Well, that was his nickname, anyway. He lived down the hall from me my sophomore year of high school and delighted in laughing at my mangled attempts at wearing neckties.

I didn’t realize he was laughing at my ties until he decided to offer me one of his secrets. “Step inside,” he offered and waved a hand towards the mirror in his closet.

I never had a name for the solid gold me gave me–a method for tying the perfect tie every time–until two days ago. Here I am in humid North Carolina for a once-a-decade family reunion, and the dress code is–as luck would have it–strict southern gentleman: suit and tie after 6pm. “Nice Windsor knot,” my dad remarked two nights ago, and, thrilled to finally have a name for this technique, I now pass on what I learned 15 years ago.

Ladies, I encourage you to pay attention.

If you pass this on to any man who hasn’t found it–whether boyfriend, father, son, or stranger–they will love you forever.

So without further ado, I offer the little-known Windsor knot or, in homage to my friend whose name I cannot remember, “The Egyptian magician knot.” Enjoy…


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-A reminder not to take the 4HWW too literally. “The 4-Daughter Workweek” by John Jantsch.

Posted on: August 15, 2007.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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97 comments on “How to Tie the Perfect Tie… Every Time

  1. That video made me smile! It reminded me of the Eton Boys and their absolutely perfect Windsor Knots. After all could you imagine the trouble they would get in if they ever got it wrong…

    Would you mind if Girly Geekdom popped you’re video up for the readers. I think it would be an amusing and fun video to show how to smarten up your geek guy collegues ;)

    Keep up the good work and it’s nice to see the video’s. It brings a bit more of you to you’re blog!


  2. I started my first desk job when I was 17 (shakes head at stupidity…) and dad taught me the Windsor knot then. It is still the best knot and super easy once you practice it a few times.


  3. In Europe this tying method is well known as Windsor or Double Windsor Knot. But your explanation is really good.
    Originally the method was developed in the United States.
    One of the most famous “user” was Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor and so – misleadingly – this knot got the name Windsor Knot.
    Prince Edward became really famous as the King of the United Kingdom who abdicted in 1936 to marry the American commoner Wallis Simpson.
    Anyway – I love the great stories behind small things.


  4. ‘the little known windsor knot’.. Are you kidding me?
    If looking for further sartorial refinement, you would make a splash by losing those square American collars and get some Italian widespread love. And learn how to tie a ‘pratt knot’, it’s not necessarily a good thing you dad recognized your windsor right away ;-)


  5. I’ve been having to tie ties since sixth grade through college (football, frat) so I’ve become pretty experienced.

    Here’s the thing about the windsor (and I think you are referring to the half windsor but I can’t see the vid because I’m at work): it takes a lot more fabric than the four in hand, but it looks a LOT nicer.

    Since I’m pretty tall (6’7″), I can’t tie a good half windsor unless I’ve bought a tall tie…

    For other cool knots to hang around your neck, look at “The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie”


  6. Poll: Would you give up the last 5 years of life for $5,000,000 now?

    Sad thing is that a lot of people already have for a lot less…..

    Bugger! That would include me :o(


  7. Have fun in NC today – I think we’ll be around 100 F for the next two days. Definitely not suit whether.

    Thanks for showing folks the beauty and simplicity of the Windsor. My dad taught me how when I was in middle school and now it’s a mainstay of complements at work. I’ve passed on the knowledge to a few high schoolers who needed the help.

    Also, depending on how you tie it, and the type and thickness of the tie, a dimple is also a nice touch



  8. I lived down the hall from my parents in high school and the most valuable thing I took away from high school was my Economics class.


    Hi Don!

    I was kidding about this being my most valuable takeaway from high school. They were actually a year abroad, the independent problem-solving skills that teaches, and prioritization — I had classes from 8am to 6pm on most days and classes from Monday to Saturday, so lack of time management was fatal. I also lived down the hall from my parents for all of elementary school and part of high school until a classmate was stabbed. That was my cue to go to a different school.

    Economics is cool, though. I really recommend “The Beginner’s Guide to the World Economy” by Eppings.




  9. Nice! I have to give it a try. I read your posts on my Google Reader. Wondering why the embedded YouTube video didn’t show up on my feed. Perhaps enable it on your feed settings? I usually add a link to the video as well as embed the video on my blog. That way, if a feed reader doesn’t recognize the codes folks can click on the link.


  10. Hi Tim,

    I’m a girl and very happy that I don’t have to do it.
    So I just enjoyed your nice brown skin :-)
    There seems to be something to the book I want to say.

    Kindest regards


  11. What a nice video. This is my favorite knot as well. I often had trouble getting the length just right but I noticed there is a diagonal seam close to the collar on the wide end of most ties and if you line that seam up against the tail end it will generally give you the proper length. The other thing to keep in mind is that the Windsor is a pretty huge knot and it may be more or less appropriate depending on your build, type of collar, etc.


  12. I’ve been using the “Full” Windsor for many years with great success. Contrary to a previous comment, the half-windsor is not symmetrical … in fact, it’s probably the knot most Gents have used for years, and doesn’t look impressive in the least. The full Windsor rules and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Enjoy!


  13. Ah, yes, the storied Windsor knot! I, too, started wearing ties in 6th grade (not very well done in the beginning), and in 7th grade my prep school headmaster pulled me into his office, said “I can’t stand it anymore – I’m going to show how to tie a proper knot!” and proceeded to show me 4 ways to do so. His final remarks were: “When in doubt, refer to the half-Windsor”, which is what I’ve used ever since.
    By the way, I just finished your book this morning, and it’s a great read. Good job.


  14. Sorry, but “tie” means “crappy office job” to me.

    I have two things against ties: They are stupid (neither functional nor beautiful) and they are a safety hazard.

    A tie is a perfect icon for “We do it that way because it’s the way we’ve always done it.”

    At my important business meetings, I wear jeans and a t-shirt, (or whatever else makes me feel free and comfortable) thank you.