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What Is A Pre-Tied Tie?

Black pattern pre-tied zipper ties displayed flat on a wood floor

You Didn't Tie That?

Pre-tied ties get a bad rep, but frankly, they are quite ingenious these days. There are some really cool pre-tied tie options available and, truth be told, they look identical to standard ties when worn. Let’s take a look.

Definition: Pre-Tied Tie

So that we’re all on the same page, let’s discuss what a pre-tied tie is. A pre-tied tie is a tie that’s already tied. It’s pre-knotted and always ready to wear. The knot does not come undone, so you don’t need to know how to tie a tie to wear one. (You just need to know how to use one, and we'll get to that.)

Styles Of Pre-Tied Ties

Pre-tied ties come in several different styles. If you’re in the market for a pre-tied tie, it’s really a personal preference as to which style you wear. There are pros and cons to each, so it’s difficult to say what the best pre-tied tie is. Let’s take a look at the options.

Clip-On Ties

The clip-on tie is probably the most well-known pre-tied tie. This style of tie consists of a permanent knot, the length of the tie and a tie tail, which may or may not feature button holes that attach to a dress shirt. (These button holes are one of the added perks of pre-tied ties and help to keep the tie in place. Not every pre-tied tie has these button holes; you’ll find them more often on pre-tied uniform ties than your everyday, wear to the office, pre-tied ties.)

The clip-on tie uses a clip (typically metal but sometimes plastic) behind the tie knot to attach to a shirt collar. It’s really easy to use a clip-on tie. Simply lift the clip up, place it behind the top button of your shirt (as far as possible), press the knot back down and adjust to make sure the knot is straight. The clip sort of snaps open and shut without much effort. In fact, you really only need one hand to put on a clip-on tie.

As long as you attach a clip-on tie correctly, it’s going to stay in place securely throughout the day. The key is to make sure the clip goes down as far as possible behind that first button of the shirt. It’s easy to tell if it’s too far up once you secure it though. The top of the knot should be level with your collar bone, just like any tie knot. If it’s up higher on your neck then it needs to be adjusted down.

Clip-on ties are the most popular style of pre-tied tie and can be put on with one hand.

Zipper Ties

Zipper ties are a really neat option and the most secure pre-tied tie. Despite how cool a zipper tie is, they are less popular than the clip-on tie. However, we think this is for two reasons. 1) People didn’t know they exist and 2) people don’t know how to use them.

Unlike the clip-on tie, the zipper tie features a loop that goes around the neck. You’re probably wondering where the zipper comes in, right? There is actually a zipper in the tie tail that allows the neck loop to expand and tighten.

When you first buy a zipper tie, the neck loop is going to be pretty small and it needs to be adjusted to fit over the head. This is where most people get stuck. A zipper tie works like magic, and if you don’t know the secret you’re never going to get it on. So, secrets out, here’s how you put on a zipper tie:

  1. Hold the knot with one hand. With the other, give a slight tug on the neck loop. (Just a slight tug. Too hard could break the zipper.) Expand the loop wide enough to fit over your head.
  2. Once the loop is placed around your collar, pull down on the tie tail as you push up slightly on the knot with the other hand. This will tighten the loop to a proper fit.

There you go! Putting on a zipper tie is that simple. (It you still can’t picture it, check out our video on How A Zipper Tie Works.) Personally, we think the hardest part of wearing a zipper tie is not showing everyone you see how your tie unzips.

Zipper ties are more secure than a clip-on tie because of the neck loop that goes around the collar.

Breakaway Ties

Breakaway ties are a pre-knotted tie, but the collar secures with hook and loop fastener, usually in the back. This style of tie is typically worn by law enforcement, so if a criminal grabs hold of the tie it literally breaks away and the officer is uninjured. This isn’t going to be your most secure necktie, but that’s also the point. As far as ease of use, if you’d ever used Velcro® you know how to use this style of tie.

Elastic Collar Ties

Pre-tied ties also can be found with an easy elastic loop for a collar. Super simple to use. Stretch the elastic, slip it over your head, adjust that knot and you’re done. As far as longevity, if you’re wearing a tie everyday this style might not be for you. Elastic expands overtime, and with repeated use the collar could become too loose and unwearable. Instead, this style of ready to wear tie is typically worn in entertainment settings, like a dance group where a tie needs to stay attached with extreme movement, but it also needs to come off quickly for costume changes. However, if you need a pre-tied tie for a one-time event, this tie style is an option.

Pre-Tied Bow Ties

We can’t talk about pre-tied ties without mentioning the bow tie. (They’re ties, too.) Bow ties come in two pre-tied options: The band collar and clip-on.

Band Collar Bow Ties

Band collar bow ties are exactly what you think. There is an adjustable band that goes around the neck and secures either in the front or back of the bow tie, depending on the brand.

It might surprise you, but the band collar bow tie is the most popular style of bow tie worn. Most men never learn how to tie a bow tie, which is a necessary skill to wear a self-tie bow tie. Since the average man will only wear a bow tie on a handful of occasions in his lifetime, it’s often more convenient to wear a pre-tied bow tie. Band collar bow ties are a bit more common than clip-on bow ties, so this is the style often selected.

Band collar bow ties are the most popular style of bow tie out there. They secure with an easy-to-use adjustable band that goes around the neck.

Clip-On Bow Ties

Clip-on bow ties look just like a band collar bow tie when worn. The bow is often exactly the same, the only difference is how it attaches. A clip-on bow tie has no band to loop around the neck. Instead, there are two clips on the back of the bow tie.

There’s a secret to putting on a clip-on bow tie and if you don’t know it, it won’t stay attached. (Clip-on bow ties are really secure, when attached correctly.) So here’s the secret: Place your fingers on the front of the bow tie and your thumbs on the back, feeling for the ends of the metal clip under the fabric. Gently press your thumbs forward and…SNAP! The bow separates away from the metal clip, allowing plenty of room for the shirt collar to be placed between the bow and clip. Snap the bow back and that bow tie is completely secure. Jump, dance, run. It’s staying in place.

Now, again, you may have heard people say that clip-on bow ties don’t work or they fall off. But that’s because they don’t know how to property use a clip-on bow tie. The metal clip on these bow ties is a double clip, with a little bit of space between them. Without knowing to bend the bow tie forward, they instead place their shirt collar between those double clips. You’ll get about 10 minutes of use before the bow tie falls off it you secure it incorrectly in this manner.

Clip-on bow ties are really secure, if you attach it correctly. The shirt collar goes between the fabric and metal clip, not between the metal clip.

Pre-tied ties are great. They definitely have a well-deserved place in the tie world and unless someone comes out and tells you, you’re probably not going recognize a pre-tied tie when it’s worn. If you’re thinking about giving a pre-knotted tie a try, we say go for it. You’re going to wonder why you didn’t wear one sooner.

About TieMart

TieMart is an online retailer of men’s neckties, bow ties and other accessories. A wide selection of pattern ties are available at TieMart, including popular paisley ties for weddings, traditional plaid ties for the office and collegiate two-color striped ties for graduation or school uniforms. Send in a picture and you can even create a custom photo tie. TieMart ties are affordable and ship quickly from their Midwest location.


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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.