Best tie knots: some interesting facts about the most common knots

The tie knot hides deep symbolic meanings and is an all but negligible detail in expressing one's style.

Learning to master the execution of the different knots, knowing how to choose the right knot according to the type of tie and occasion is an art to be discovered, which every man who wants to always be elegant should know.

Each tie knot dates to different eras and contexts, created to cover different style needs. Behind each one are interesting stories and curiosities.



The King's professional tie

The importance of a good tie knot is such that, in 1661, King Louis XIV even instituted the job of "king's tiemaker", a specialised figure who had to tie his tie every day in the best possible way, fulfilling his wishes and making his appearance always impeccable and suitable for the occasion.

How many knots exist?

There are an infinite number of different ways to knot a tie. Swedish mathematician Mikael Vejdemo Johansonn has devised an online knot generator based on mathematical theories and models. According to this system, there are as many as 177.147 ways to knot a tie.

On the other hand, Yong Mao and Thomas Fink, two physicists from Cambridge, have established with their mathematical calculations, that with a tie about 145-150 cm long, it is possible to obtain 85 different knots; many fewer than the Swedish mathematician, but still representing a wide range of possibilities.

Knot Four in Hand: why so called?

The simplest and most versatile knot is the Four-in-Hand knot and is the basis with which to begin learning the art of knotting a tie. There are many experts who claim that it was invented by some coachmen, who used this very type of knot to tie the reins of a four-horse pull. This is why it is called the "four-in-hand".

Windsor or Scappino knot?

The Windsor knot, contrary to what one might think from its name, was not invented by Duke Edward VIII of Windsor, but by the Savoy tailor Domenico Scappino around the 1930s. In fact, this knot is also known as the Scappino knot.

However, the Duke of Windsor particularly liked this knot - large, symmetrical and triangular in shape - so much so that he decided to adopt it for his style, which is why this knot is better known by its name.

The Onassis knot, for flashy ties

The knot is named after the famous shipowner and tycoon Aristotle Onassis, although he was not the ingenious inventor of this fascinating way to wear a tie.

Onassis liked this type of tie knot so much that it began to be named after him, contributing to its popularity from the 1960s onwards.

Onassis liked to complete this particular knot, which makes the tie resemble a scarf, with a special gold tweezers to secure the flaps at the top. Since then, it has been one of the most recommended knots for displaying tie pins.

The Prince Albert knot

The Prince Albert knot is also called Victoria, in honour of the Queen consort of the Prince. As with other knots, Prince Albert was not the inventor of this way of tying a tie, but it is known for certain that he loved it and used it often.

It was first published in 1944, in the first edition of Ashley's book of Knots, the great encyclopaedia of knots.

The Pratt knot story

This particular knot is also called Shelby, after Don Shelby, the television journalist who helped popularise it in the 1980s.

The name Pratt comes from American Chamber of Commerce member Jerry Pratt, who wore this knot every day. In 1986, while Jerry Pratt was watching television, he noticed that Don Shelby was wearing a tie with "his" knot, but in the wrong way. He decided to contact the presenter and teach him how to tie it correctly.

In 1989, this knot was published for the first time in the New York Times, thus establishing its great popularity and spread.


Some interesting facts about some of the most famous and well-known knots: a testimony to how the tie is an accessory of great historical and cultural importance and not just an object of fashion and style.

Which knots are best for a wedding? Find out by reading the article "Tie for a wedding: how to choose the right one".