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Many men only realize they don’t know how to tie a tie the moment they need too. This can lead them to purchase a clip-on tie, but in reality, tying a tie does not have to be a difficult ordeal. There are four common ways to tie a tie based on the shirt and occasion you are headed too. The following will teach you how to make each tie and give you some hints to help you learn which knot is appropriate for each occasion so that you can look sharp and dapper in minutes.

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Pick Out a Tie

Before you start worrying about how to tie a tie, you need to pick out a tie to wear. If you head to the store, you will find hundreds of choices made out of different fabrics, colors, and cuts. Ideally, the tie should fit your build. Most men will find they wear a medium, but those who fall in the big and tall size category will likely need a large or extra-large. On the other side, those who are a bit shorter than the average man will want to start with size small.

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Think About the Occasion

Before choosing a tie, think about the occasion that you are attending. If it is a party or a wedding, you might have some fun and choose a shiny tie or a thin tie that jazzes up your outfit a bit. On the other hand, if you are attending a business meeting or heading out for a job interview, then an understated tie in muted colors is going to be your best bet. Keep in mind the color of your suit and shirt so that you don’t clash.

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Pick Out a Shirt

Once again, you should start by thinking about the occasion. Choose something conservative for a job interview or business, whereas at a party, wedding, or even formal event you can choose something a bit livelier. Then take a look at the collar. A standard point collar is the most popular type and is the easiest to use with a tie, but a spread collar is considered to be the more modern and sharp collar. If you want to allow your upper tie to shine, then the spread collar is going to do the trick.

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Four-in-Hand Tie Knot

The four-in-hand tie is the most popular tie knot, also referred to affectionately as the ‘schoolboy.’ Start by draping the tie around the neck allowing the wide end to reach about 12 inches farther than the narrow end. Cross the wide part over the narrow part and then turn it under the narrow end. Finish the wrap by crossing the wide end over the narrow end a second time. Grab the wide end and pull it through the back of the loop. Then use your index finger to hold the front of the knot while you bring the wide end down and pass it through the front knot. Now simply tighten the knot up and center it.

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Half Windsor Tie Knot

The Half Windsor is a smaller knot that leaves you with a symmetrical triangle knot. It is great with a standard collar. Start similar to the four-in-hand knot and drape the tie around your neck leaving the wide end about 12 inches past the narrow end. Then take the wide end and bring it behind the narrow end and then pull it down the hole between the tie and collar. Next, grab the wide end and bring it around the front and cross over the narrow end from the right side to the left. Pass the wide end back up through the loop and then pull the wide down and pass it through the front of the knot. Tighten the knot and use your hands to center it.

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Full Windsor Tie Knot

The full Windsor is very similar to the half; only it offers a wider triangular knot that makes it an excellent choice for formal events. Set the tie up around your neck by once again leaving 12 inches between the wide end and the narrow end. Then cross the wide end over the narrow end and bring the wide end up through the hole between tie and collar. Now pull it down the front and then pass it behind the narrow end and out to the right. Pass it through the loop again which should leave you with a triangle. Grab the wide end and wrap it around the triangle by passing the wide end from right to left. Pull the wide end through the loop a third time and then pull it through the front of the knot. Tighten and center.

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Shelby Tie Knot

Famous anchorman Don Shelby made the Shelby knot popular in the 70’s, and the look persists today for those who choose to wear wider ties. Start by draping the tie around your neck placing the wide end to your right. Pass the wide end under the narrow end and then pull it up and back down the loop between your tie and neck. Once it is through, pull the wide end to the left and pass it over the knot on your right side. Pull it up through the loop between your tie and neck again and then pass it through the knot. Pull tight and center.

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Simple (Oriental) Tie Knot

Finally, if you want a simple knot, start with what is known aptly as the simple tie knot. Drape the tie around your neck and leave the wide end a bit longer and on the left side of your body. The wide end will then pass to the right under the narrow end, and you will cross it back over the small end. Pass the wide end upwards through your neck loop, then take it back down the knot that was formed and tighten it.

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Choose a Knot

As mentioned previously, the type of knot that you choose will be heavily influenced by the event that you are attending, and the shirt that you choose. There is nothing wrong with choosing a simple tie like the four-in-hand if it is your first time tying a tie. However, if you want to get a bit more updated and sleek, have some fun experimenting with the other styles and see which looks the best for you.

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Show Up Sophisticated & Composed

One great thing about mastering a tie is that you will not have to show up at an event worrying about whether your clip-on is going to stay on straight or not. You are free to go wild on the dance floor or obsess about job interview details instead of your tie. Once you learn how to tie a tie, you can enjoy walking into any event looking like the mature and grown man that you are. All that is left to do is radiate sophistication and composure when you walk into the room.    

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