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Learn to Tie a Windsor Tie Knot The Easy Way With Oliver Wicks
The Windsor knot is one of the classic tie knots every man should know. While it’s often more practical to start with the slimmed-down Half Windsor, the classic Windsor carries a little extra pomp and ceremony, making it a subtle yet powerful statement knot. It has acquired an undeserved reputation as difficult to tie. However, after reading our article, you might actually grow fond of the knot and it can become a signature part of The Fit That Suits You!
The Windsor knot, often called the Double Windsor and not to be confused with the Double knot, was named for the Duke of Windsor, Edward VIII. It was invented by and for King George V, his father, who favored a bulky knot on a thick tie and loved the full look it gave him.
Needless to say, the Windsor is a very big knot, perhaps one of the biggest that’s in a practical daily rotation for men. It can still, however, create a comfortable space between the neck and the collar.
Ironically, the reputation of this tie knot as ‘difficult’ wasn’t fairly earned. In a demonstration some time in the mid-thirties, a well-meaning instructor mixed up several steps, creating a tie that was… well, impossible to tie! This flounder gave the Windsor knot its difficult reputation that couldn’t be further from the truth, and has struggled to shake it off since. Interestingly, it’s also a self-releasing knot, although it won’t slip when tied correctly.
While the Windsor knot doesn't have the innate complexity of the Trinity or Eldredge knot, it’s still a very eye-catching and rather out-there knot. It can be used in business, but is generally seen as a little fussy for it, and the Half Windsor might be a better match. It makes an ideal eventing knot, however, and can be a nice way for shorter men to use some of the length of a tie and balance their proportionality, too.
If you’d like to use the Windsor in day-to-day situations, then opt for a finer, thinner tie. This will balance out the knot size and make it look more practical. Of course, if you want to show off a fancy knot in all its glory, dive right in and use a chunkier tie.
Collar: There is a lot of knot and you want to show it off! Use a wide collar like a spread or cutaway.
Knot size: This is a very large-sized triangular knot.
Symmetry: The Windsor knot is mostly symmetrical.
Best used: While it can be used in business with the right tie, we’d save this one for a formal evening. If you do wear it to the office, just be aware that it is a bold statement, which may or may not be advised depending on your ‘rank’ at the company. With this being an eye-catcher, it’s also important that you’ve practiced it… otherwise you may risk drawing attention to a sloppy presentation!
Pair with: This is a knot that pulls attention from your face a little without stealing the show, so it’s fantastic for heavier men, men with impressive big beards, or with a strong square or round face. It’s also good if you have a powerlifter’s neck. Bright and gaudy tie patterns look out of place, so crack out your darks and more relaxed patterns. It does need a tie that’s a little longer than normal. Skip tweed and other thick ties.
Before you start tying, make sure you have closed your collar correctly, as it will sit when you wear it. Now raise, or pop, the collar so you have space to work. You will want the wide end hanging on your right, seams down, while the tail, or skinny side, hangs to the left. You can reverse this if left-handed. Remember that the Windsor knot really does need a longer than usual tie - by about two inches - unless you are a shorter man.
You will start the Windsor knot with the wide end hanging about 4-6 inches below your beltline, and it will ‘wind up’ as we go. You may need to tweak and adjust this starting point as you gain more experience with the tie, so that the finished look is balanced on your body. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be shy to try and try again.
Cross the wide end over the tail to make an X shape near the top of your chest.
Tuck the wide end up and beneath your neck loop. This will make it pop out with the point facing toward your chin behind the X. You will need to use a finger to keep the X in place.
Pull the head all the way down again.
Continue to guide it behind the knot and pass it horizontally, right to left.
Flip the head up and pass it diagonally over the front of the knot you are creating.
Loop it over the collar loop and bring it back down. If everything is going well, it will emerge on the left of the tail.
Guide it across the front of the knot, left to right, once again. You have a horizontal ‘band’ of sorts.
One last pass of the wide end under the loop, around the collar, to emerge pointing at your chin.
Tip it down, through the horizontal band you made, and pull it all the way down to finish.
Smooth it out, and you’re done!
Go back and check point 10… don’t rush the ‘setting’ of the knot, it’s very important!
You can gently adjust the knot to remove slack and creases. Don’t pull too hard. You can always tighten it some more, but slackening a too-tight knot usually needs you to start from scratch again.
The Windsor knot has a muted flash that’s perfect for high-stakes boardroom meetings or flashy formal eventing. While it might not be your go-to daily knot (that’s probably the Four-in-Hand or Half Windsor), it can definitely become a fast favorite for many men. With a little practice, it’s easy to tie, too, and creates a pleasant optical illusion that can balance out many bodies nicely.
Is the Windsor one of your favorite ties, or are you new to this knot? Not sure how to pick the right tie to balance it? The Oliver Wicks team is here to help, so please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com for any further questions.
We also provide custom suits and practical guides, with instructional videos, and we’d suggest creating an account on our site (free of charge, with no purchase obligations). Here you’ll be able to access our measurement videos, which walk you through every step of measuring in an easy-to-follow process that can have you measured from head to toe in 15-minutes or less.
To learn more, check out the links in this article for in-depth resources on sizing and measurements from Oliver Wicks.