Windsor knot

My dad didn’t wear ties during the later part of his working life, and certainly doesn’t now he’s retired. So I was taught to tie a tie by Norm, who worked at Hattams in Elsternwick when we bought my first school uniform for Melbourne High, in summer ’84-’85.

I’ve been thinking for a while about switching from a Pratt Knot to a Windsor Knot, the latter apparently resulting in a bigger, more symmetrical knot… even if James Bond apparently declared it to be “the mark of a cad”.

I found clear instructions at and tried them a couple of times last week. The knot itself is pretty easy actually, just a teensy bit more involved than a Pratt knot. As always, it’s the lengths that were troublesome on my initial attempts, so I stuck with my traditional knot.

But Tony laid down the challenge on Sunday, and that’s finally spurred me into action.

Monday: Day one: Gave the thin end almost nothing at all, and it tied okay with the length about right. The knot is arguably aesthetically better, but not terrific, and I wonder if this works better with a tie that’s thicker, and hasn’t been tied the old way for a couple of years.

New tieTuesday: Day two: With my spiffy new silk tie, it works much better, though it took three attempts to get the length right. A nice, big knot, which doesn’t move around. Not quite as symmetrical as one might hope, but a big improvement over the old method. (Mind you, I found it wasn’t quite aligned right when I did a TV interview at lunchtime, but that may have been because it was blowing a gale at the time.)

Wednesday: Day three Okay, this isn’t too bad. I think I’m getting used to this now.

See the challenges us blokes go through to get a tie looking really nice?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “Windsor knot”

Cad. Bah! The Windsor is far superior to the other alleged knot. It looks so much nicer and (as you mention) symmetrical. I can’t stand seeing member after member of various parliaments, business leaders and other people who appear in the media (or in person) wearing ties tied with the inferior knot. I have only ever used the Windsor – even as a 5 year old at a Catholic school in Sydney! Fight the good fight. Bring back the Windsor.

Another vote for the windsor. I don’t wear a tie these days as our office is almost permanently casual for some of us, but when I did it was Windsor. I have done it all my working life, it just looks so much better.

3 cheers for the Windsor, or half-windsor as some call it.

I find the good starting point for correct length is to use the join on the back as a rough indication of where to cross them.

My induction (from the office polymath) was to decry my use of the ‘schoolboy knot’ and teach me the Windsor knot. He was right – the Windsor knot was fuller and seemed more comfortable.

However due to a combination of laziness and being a slow learner I couldn’t be bothered.

So the next day I came with a full-knotted tie. A Windsor knot he thought. He was wrong.

I’d simply threaded on a piece of 1/2 inch black irrigation tubing onto the tie (to bulk it up) and tied a schoolboy knot over it. No one could tell the difference.

All I can say, being a member of the fairer sex ;), is nice tie Daniel, and well done, chap. Actually I did learn to tie a tie on my silly school uniform (went to a private girls school), and do faintly remember trying the Windsor knot. Looks good, as I recall. If you have to wear it, why not go for the nice looking knot?

Peter: That’s funny, though now I’m getting used to it, the Windsor knot only takes an extra second or two.

Roger: ooh, that’s bad!

Daniel, I’ve found that a good way to get the length right is to put the thin end of the tie on, or about, the fifth button down, at least to start. I don’t wear ties for work any more, but I got to where I could tie one with my eyes closed.

i made a list of advantages and disadvantages of the windsor over other types of knots and added them up.

it was a tie.

I like the Windsor knot, I think that it looks nicer and I have been trying to do with myself with no avail, but I have been wondering do certain shirts call for certain knots or can it be ‘one for all’?

don’t confuse the windsor and half-windsor. I think the “pratt” knot Daniel was refering to may by the half-windsor.

It is the full Windsor that is larger and more even.

I pity a friend of mine who a little tall for the full Windsor with most ties – he generally has to resort to the half Windsor.

And then there are shorter people I know who go the triple…

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