Let's face it — these days, most men don't wear a tie every day and probably haven't put on a bow tie since prom (and that was likely a mock bow tie anyway). To help out your groom, we asked custom suit tailor and fashion expert J. Toor for step-by-step instructions for the various tie options, from a classic Windsor knot to a unique Eldredge knot to an unexpectedly casual ascot.
The Full Windsor
The full Windsor knot is one of the most common knots in the tie world. While most men perform a half Windsor, simply adding an additional knot creates a fuller, wider knot. Pro tip: When tying a tie, never flip up your collar — flipping the collar can damage the perfect crease. Instead, slip your tie through the collar and slide it up.
1. Begin by placing the wide tail over the thin tail.
2. Bring the wide tail behind the thin tail and down through the loop between your neck. The wide tail should now be on your right hand side.
3. Bring the wide tail through the loop, behind the knot. The wide tail should be inside out at this point.
4. While your finger is placed over the knot, move the wide tail over the knot and back up the loop again.
5. Bring the wide tail back through the loop your finger created in the center of the knot.
6. Tighten the knot using both hands and draw it up to the collar.
The Eldredge is all about impact. The bold knot pattern makes a statement on any suit and can be used for practically any occasion. Although it may look difficult, this intricate design is simply a repetition of one knot.
1. Start by pinching the wide tail of your tie, creating the dimple that will appear in the end. This first step will ornate your tie slightly, resulting in a more dramatic effect in the end.
2. Take the thin tail and wrap it over the dimple and up through the loop (the area between the knot and your neck).
3. Bring the thin tail down to its original position. Cross over the knot again and back towards the loop.
4. Create a loose knot by bringing the thin tail behind through the loop. Pull the thin tail through the loose loop that was just created and tighten.
Repeat steps 2 through 4 as many times as you like, going the opposite direction. It's recommended you repeat the process at least twice. The Eldrege knot can be as ornate as you want it, depending on how many knots you create. The remaining thin tail can be hidden underneath your collar.
The Skinny Tie
The skinny tie — a style that is more modern than the Winsor or the Eldredge — has been increasing in popularity. The skinny tie’s strength is in its simplicity. Pro tip: Always keep the knot of your tie proportionate to the peak of your collar. The peak is described as the length the collar comes down your neck. A shorter peak is a more modern style, which better complements the simplicity of the skinny tie.
1. Start by taking one tail (Tail 1) and wrapping it over the other tail (Tail 2).
2. Take Tail 1 and bring it behind Tail 2.
3. Placing your finger over the intersection, wrap Tail 1 across and over your finger.
4. Bring Tail 1 up and behind the knot through the loop.
5. Bring Tail 1 through the hole created by your finger and tighten the knot.
The Bow Tie
Partly sophisticated, partly preppy, the bow tie is able can completely transform your look. The bow tie can be worn casually, with bright colors and dramatic patterns, to give your outfit a pop of color. And for more formal events, the classic black bow tie is still the staple.
1. Start by draping the bow tie around your neck so it rests flat on your chest. One end should be slightly longer than the other. If you are right handed, it may be easier to have the shorter end on your right-hand side.
2. Move the longer end of the bow tie over the shorter end.
3. Take the same end (the longer end) and bring it up and over the loop, between your neck and the bow tie.
4. Fold the shorter end sidewise so it resembles the shape of a bow tie.
5. Bring the longer end over the bow shape you just created and loop it back behind the bow tie.
6. Discover the “tunnel” created behind the bow tie and loop the longer end through it.
7. Tighten the knot by holding both ends and pulling slightly.
If your bow tie doesn't look perfect, don't fret — part of its charm can be the slight imperfections. Bow ties tend to be harder at perfecting, so don’t feel intimidated if yours is slightly flawed.
The Ascot: Under the Vest
The ascot has been making a comeback in men’s fashion. You can choose to wear your ascot more casually with a loose knot, or tighten the knot for a more formal look. If you're wearing the ascot with a vest, opt for a tighter knot.
1. Start with the ascot just like you would with a regular tie, with one end laying slightly longer than the other.
2. Move the longer end of the ascot over and back under to the other side.
3. Placing your finger over the knot, wrap the longer end over the shorter end.
4. Bring the longer end up behind the knot.
5. Loop the longer end through the hole created by the placement of your finger.
6. Straighten the knot using both hands.
The Ascot: Under the Shirt
Now, to get the more casual, loose-fitting ascot, follow these steps. Remember, it’s better to unbutton your shirt a bit with this particular style. The casual fit of the shirt will complement the style of the ascot.
1. Leaving the first few buttons on your shirt unbutton, lay the ascot loosely around your neck.
2. Place one end of the ascot over across the other end.
3. Bring the same end and pull up through the loop between the knot and your neck.
4. Drape the ascot down over the knot and adjust to your fit.
Tell us: Which will your groom try on the big day?
—Kristen O'Gorman Klein