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How to tie a Four in Hand necktie knot

The Four in Hand tie knot, also known as the simple tie knot, is the oldest of all necktie knots. British coachmen invented the Four-in-Hand during the 18th century in London. To protect themselves from cold winds and moist fog, they wore a scarf around their necks that they used to tie with the classic Four-in-Hand tie knot. The knot is called Four-in-Hand because usually a carriage was drawn by four horses, meaning the coachman was holding four reins in one hand.

This kind of neckwear tends to be a bit lopsided, narrow, and longish in shape, and fits especially the style of smart casual clothing. The knot is easily tied and is suitable for all kinds of collars, except for the very wide-spread collar, and thus is the perfect knot for beginners. Tying the Four-in-Hand tie knot is one of the easiest and fastest ways to tie a necktie –it is therefore also called the simple tie knot.

Since the four in hand knot is one of the tie knots using the least amount of fabric of the tie, it is often a preferred tie knot for taller people. If you are tall (above 6’3”), and want a more full-looking, and bigger necktie knot, such as the double Windsor knot, then extra long ties are recommended. Most XL ties are between 61 – 63 inches in length. Finding even longer neckties may be difficult.

Instructions on how to tie a necktie: The Four-in-Hand tie knot

Krawattenknoten four-in-hand

  1. Put the necktie around your neck, so that the wider end is on your right hands side. It has to hang lower than the narrow part of the tie, since some fabric of the tie will be needed to tie the knot. Now grab the broad end with your right hand and move it over to the left going across the narrow end of the tie.
  2. Pass the wider part of the necktie around and behind the narrow part of the tie.
  3. Now, wrap the wider part of the necktie around the front again and pull it through the left side on your collar.
  4. Make sure that you don’t tighten the knot yet. With your left hand create a loop on the front side of the knot, and hold it open. Then, with your right hand, pull the wider part of the tie through the loop
  5. Gently tighten the tie knot and center the tie knot between your collars. You are done: A perfect Four-in hand necktie knot! Wasn’t so hard, was it? Still need some additional help? Then you may also want to have a look at our Four in Hand Knot Video instructions.

Giving the Four in Hand necktie know the "Final Touch"

Great job in tying your Four-in-Hand knot! Although you completed the classic tie knot, there are ways to tune this simple tie knot, and to make it look even more perfect. Tuning your knot is the art of tie styling, which should be done every time you tied your neck tie.

Before you completely tighten the tie knot, press a little dent into the broader end just right below the knot. This is called: “the dimple” by the experts and gives the ties an elegant and sophisticated look. With the dimple, the silk fabric will appear more voluminous, and it adds an airy touch of classiness. Ties that are made from a silk fabric with more texture will make it easier for you to make the dimpled tie knot. Smooth silk tie require a little more attention and practice. For more information you may also want to visit our guide on How to Dimple a Tie

Another point to consider when styling your tie knot is whether or not to pull the narrow end of the necktie through the label on the back of the wider part of the tie. Both styles are acceptable and stylish. In case you wanted to go it with the “English Gentlemen look” you would want to do this. Italians on the other hand usually let the narrow part of the tie hang loose. Tying a necktie the “Italian way”, with the two ends dangling loose, gives your tie a more venturesome look of a silk scarf.

What is more important when tying your tie is that both parts end at about the same length: The broader part hanging a bit lower than the narrow end of the tie. Again, the Italians, do it their one way. For them a nicely tied knot is more important than anything else. But sometimes you will just get a result of a voluminous knot when tied mainly from the broader end. Thus, you should not be surprised to see men in Italy with the narrow end dangling down lower than the broader part.

On a final note you want to consider your collar style when tying a Four-in-Hand. Because this necktie knot is narrow and slightly smaller it is best suited for regular and narrow spread collars. Wide spread collar are less suited. The best ties for the Four-in-Hand are classic British ties, solid color ties, and foulard ties.

At tie-knots.org you will learn everything there is to know about how to tie a tie. I made some detailed instructions for you along with videos on how to tie a necktie, how to tie a bow tie, and how to fold a pocket square.