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How A Zipper Tie Works

Man putting on a black zipper tie

Zipper ties are a super convenient pre-tied necktie. Unlike the clip-on or hook-and-loop fastener tie, they feature a one-piece loop that stays securely around the neck until you’re ready to remove it. Coupled with its consistent and authentic-looking knot, this pre-tied option provides a polished look for uniforms, groups (like groomsmen and dance teams) and, certainly, individuals who can’t or prefer not to tie their own ties.

While zipper ties are really quick and easy to put on, they do have one hang up: You have to know how to use it. Yes, there is a trick but it’s not hard.

When you first get your hands on a zipper tie, you’ll notice that the loop that goes around the neck is too small to fit over the head, like in the photo shown below. Don’t worry, with a few quick steps listed below, that loop will expand. (Scroll down to see our video of how to use a zipper tie, if you prefer.) So let’s walk through how to use a zipper tie.

A maroon and gold zipper tie on a wood background, with the neck loop fully tightened

This is how a zipper tie looks when you first get it. The loop will be too small to fit over the head.

Step 1

Grasp the zipper tie with one hand on the knot and one on the loop.

A maroon and gold zipper tie on a wood background, with hands on the tie's knot and neck loop

Place one hand on the tie's knot and one on the loop.

Step 2

Still holding the zipper tie as described in step 1, give a slight tug on the neck loop and pull it away from the knot. This should expand the loop. If it doesn’t, be sure not to pull too hard or the zipper could break. Instead, keep reading.

A maroon and gold zipper tie on a wood background, with the loop slightly expanded

We flipped the zipper tie around here to show you how the loop has started to expand. Notice how part of the unzipped zipper is now above the knot.

On a brand new zipper tie, the zipper may be locked and require an extra step to be released. With your hand still positioned on the knot, give a slight tug on each side of the neck loop one by one. Again, careful not to pull too hard, but you may need to repeat each side as needed. Once the loop starts expanding, it should be easy to use one hand to fully expand the loop away from the knot.

Step 3

Now that the loop is expanded, put it over your head and position it under your shirt collar. The knot will be too low on your chest, but we will fix that on the next step.

A maroon and gold zipper tie's neck loop fully expanded

This loop is now expanded and will fit over the head.

Step 4

Now it’s time to bring the knot into position. Put one hand on the zipper tie’s knot and your other hand on the tie tail. Simply pull down gently on the tie tail and the knot will move up towards your neck. Continue to pull until the knot is comfortable.

A maroon and gold zipper tie on a wood background, with hands on its expanded neck loop and tie tail

Tighten the loop around your neck by pulling down on the tie's tail.

When zipped back up, the zipper tie's tail will once again be closer to the tip.

Step 5

When it’s time to take your zipper tie off, keep one hand on the knot and reach under your shirt collar to grasp the loop with your other hand. (We find it easiest to grasp the loop right next to the knot in front, but anywhere will work.) Pull the loop away from the knot and it will once again expand to fit over the head.

Video Instructions

See how to expand a zipper tie with this easy-to-follow video. Here, we'll expand the loop on a red solid color zipper tie.

Watch as we expand and tighten the neck loop on a zipper tie.

In Conclusion

Zipper tie wearers often joke that the hardest part of wearing a zipper tie is keeping it on. Not because it doesn’t stay secure, but because you’ll want to show everyone how it works. (It’s like magic!) This fan-favorite pre-tied tie option is quick and easy to put on and stays securely in place—once getting over that initial learning curve, of course.

Disclaimer: By the way, a boys'-sized zipper tie is put on the same way, but in our step-by-step guide, visuals and video we refer to a men's zipper tie.

About TieMart

TieMart is an online retailer of men’s neckwear and their selection includes many pre-tied tie options including zipper ties. This family-run business carries men’s and boys’ zipper ties in solid colors, everyday business patterns and collegiate stripes. Large quantities are kept in stock at their Midwest warehouse so orders can ship quickly. Prices are affordable, too.


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We are a family-run tie company based in Illinois. We've been in the biz since the late 90s, so by now we know a thing or two about men's fashion and accessories. Tiepedia is our lil spot on the web to share that knowledge with you.