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How To Tie A Tie: The Four-In-Hand Knot

How To Tie a Four In Hand Knot

The four-in-hand knot is probably the simplest knot to master. But, don’t confuse that simplicity for dullness. Its reign as the most popular of necktie knots isn’t just the result of its accessibility; the four-in-hand exudes a casual but classic distinction that makes it ideal for a wide range of occasions.

In this video, I'm going to be showing you how to tie a tie into the four-in-hand knot. I've also included a step-by-step guide with pictures below. You may be itching to try your hand at a more complex knot but patience young grasshopper; you have to master this classic first.

How To Tie A Pratt Knot

Now you’re ready to get down to business. Follow these steps closely and you’ll be well on your way to a four-in-hand knot you can be proud of.

  1. First you need to pick the right tie. Keep the occasion and what kind of attitude you want to convey in mind when making your choice. Red ties are typically power ties and best suited for occasions where you want to cultivate a sense of authority. Blue or striped ties are a slightly more restrained option and, coupled with the four-in-hand knot’s no nonsense everyman persona, make a nice choice. No matter color or pattern, the four-in-hand knot always works better with skinnier ties than with wider options.
  2. Once you’ve settled on just the right tie, you’re ready to start on the knot. Place the tie around your neck with the seam side against your body so the clean side of the tie is showing. Have the bigger end on your right and the smaller end on your left.
Four In Hand Knot Step 2
  1. Adjust the tie which is now around your neck so the small end has 6-10 inches of length giving the bigger end a couple feet of length.
Four In Hand Knot Step 3
  1. Bring the bigger end over and to the left of the smaller end. Pinch the spot where the two ends intersect with your left hand.
Four In Hand Knot Step 4
  1. Wrap the big end behind the tie knot (and your hand which is pinching the knot), going from left to right. The big end is now on the right side of the smaller end.
Four In Hand Knot Step 5
  1. Bring the big end of the tie up to your eye level.
Four In Hand Knot Step 6
  1. Run the big end over the knot going from right to left. Let it hang down on the left side of the knot.
Four In Hand Knot Step 7
  1. Now go up and through the gap which is between your neck and the tie knot.
Four In Hand Knot Step 8
  1. Run the big end down the wrap that you just created around the tie knot.
Four In Hand Knot Step 9
  1. Finally, cinch the tie by pulling down on the big end of the tie while holding the knot in place, then move the knot up to your neck by pulling down on the small end of the tie while helping the knot up with your other hand.
Four In Hand Knot Step 10

Congratulations! You’ve completed step one of your training! With the four-in-hand knot now in your bag of tie tying tricks you’re ready to move onto How to Tie a Tie: The Pratt Knot.

When Should I Wear A Four-In-Hand Knot?

The right tie knot is largely determined by your build and the kind of collar on your dress shirt. 

The four-in-hand knot offers a little more versatility than other types of tie knots. It will work with just about any type of collar, though some styles are better choices than others.

It’s paired especially well with narrow spread collars and button down collars. If you collar has a wider spread, a knot such as the Windsor might work a bit better though a four-in-hand is still passable.

The four-in-hand approach produces a smaller knot so it’s best suited for men with a narrow face and neck. The knot won’t be as flattering on a man with a face and neck of wider proportions.

History Of The Four-In-Hand Knot

The four-in-hand knot takes its name from the four-horse-carriage. Apparently, carriage drivers knotted their reins in a similar way to ensure their four horses remained in hand. 

Later, the four-in-hand knot lent its name to a prestigious London gentleman’s club who began wearing their neckties in this style. Their endorsement gradually made it fashionable and the four-in-hand knot has remained a staple of men’s fashion ever since.

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