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These days, there have never been as many choices as before when shopping for a tie. There are the regular classics, like stripes and polka dot, to the more flashy and daring patterns. But no matter what your taste may be, remember that the proper width of a tie, and one that will never be out of style, is 3 1/4 inches. Standard neckties come in lengths anywhere from 52 to 58 inches long. Taller men may be in need of a longer tie which can be purchased at your local big and tall shop. Finally, a tie should end just over your belt buckle.

There are also several standard ways to knot a tie, so that's where we begin. There is the four-in-hand knot, the Windsor-knot, the half-Windsor knot, the Pratt knot and the bow tie.

The Four-in-Hand Knot: This is the smallest and the most precise of all knots and sits flush against the collar of a dress shirt. This knot should be worn with a tab collar shirt or when using a collar pin. The four-in-hand dates back to the days of the coach and our in England, when the men on top of the coach would use this method to knot their ties to prevent them from flying in the wind while driving.

1. Start with the wide end of the tie on your right, extending it a foot below the narrow end.
2. Cross wide end over narrow end and back underneath.
3. Continue around, passing wide end across front of narrow end once more.
4. Pass wide end up through loop.
5. Holding front of knot loose with the index finger, pass wide end down through loop in front.
6. Remove finger and tighten knot. Draw up tight to collar by holding narrow end and sliding knot up snugly.


The Windsor-Knot: This method, along with the half-Windsor knot, was invented by the Duke of Windsor himself. No matter which knot you prefer, both are commonly used among snappy dressers.

The Windsor knot should only be worn with a dress shirt that is made with a spread collar.

1. Drape the tie around the neck, crossing the larger end over the smaller end. The smaller end should be shorter.
2. Curl the large end around and behind, then pull it up and over the neck loop.
3. Once the larger end is over the neck loop, curl it behind the smaller end again.
4. From behind, curl it up and over the neck loop again and pull down.
5. Cross the larger end over the smaller end horizontally.
6. From the horizontal position, curl the larger end under the neck look and pull up.
7. Tuck the larger end down and into the knot you've created.
8. Pull the larger end down until the knot is tightened and secured in a comfortable position.

The Half-Windsor Knot

1. Start with wide end of tie on your right, extending it a foot below narrow end.
2. Cross wide end over narrow end and turn back underneath.
3. Bring up and turn down through loop.
4. Pass wide end around front from left to right.
5. Then, up through loop and down through knot in front.
6. Tighten carefully and push up toward collar.

The Pratt Knot: This knot, also referred to as the Shelby Knot, was first introduced in 1989 and invented by Jerry Pratt who once worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce. Although this knot is fairly wide but not as wide as the Windsor knot it can be worn with shirts that have point collars.

1. Put tie on inside out (pattern towards the neck), with the front of the tie underneath and facing inward.
2. Pull front (thick end) of the tie up and through the neck loop. Continue to pull this end down.
3. Pull the loop down and tighten.
4. Pull thick end of the tie to the left with left hand.
5. Pull thick end behind the neck-loop and up, in preparation for final tuck.
6. Finally, pull the front of the tie down through the tuck and gently tighten.

The Bow Tie: Worn with formal wear and combined with a pleated-front shirt. Bow ties are also perfectly acceptable when worn on the job for a professional look. Generally speaking, they should never be broader than the widest part of the neck and should never extend beyond the outside points of the collar.

1. Start with end in left hand, extending 1 ½" below that in right hand.
2. Cross longer end over shorter end and pass up through loop.
3. Form front loop of bow by doubling up shorter end (hanging) and placing across collar points.
4. Hold this front loop with thumb and forefinger of left hand. Drop long end down over front.
5. Place right forefinger, pointing up, on bottom half of hanging part. Pass up behind front loop and poke resulting loop through knot behind front look. Even ends and tighten.

Traditional

As mentioned earlier, more conservative neckware comes in traditional patterns such as polka dots and stripes. Also appropriate for business dress, but less conservative are ties with paisley or small print. In either case, the preferred fabric of choice is silk.

Non-Traditional

If you are on the more whimsical side, you may be making a purchase based on your hobbies and interests.