This post refers to ‘three more tips’ because way back in April 2008 I wrote a post called Two Tips on Ties. I think the alliteration rather pleased me at the time.

That was a discussion about the best way to get a nice dimple in a tie knot. And it does work: you just have to create a memory of the fold in the tie’s lining (assuming it is lined).

This post is about getting your tie to stand upright in the collar, arching out from the neck to create a flattering curve. The three tips are: keep it at the top of the collar band, tighten it horizontally and make sure it remains central.

None of these will keep your tie at its proud, priapic best all day long. No matter how well tied, or how great the quality, no silk necktie will stay in its ideal position permanently. It will need occasional adjustment. But the alternative is a tie bar or pin, which rather stifles the silk in my opinion. Rather, let it hang and adjust when needed.

The first tip: make sure that the neck of your tie is at the top of the collar band of your shirt. While most ties won’t be much narrower than the shirt collar, making sure it is right at the top will make a surprising difference to the curve of the tie. Once the knot is tied, you can check this by tucking one finger in each side of the collar and pushing the tie up. This is most important on high collars, and is easiest with spread collars.

Second tip: when you tighten the tie, do it horizontally, parallel to the ground. Lift up the rear blade and push the knot flat into the collar. The initial angle will subside after a while, but it still makes a perceptible difference.

Third tip: make sure the top of the knot is central in the collar gap. Because a four-in-hand knot (assuming that’s what you’re using – you should) is always skewed to one side, the bottom of the knot will not be central if the top is. The tie will come out of the knot slightly to one side. Some men, not realising this, keep the tie central and the top of knot slightly under one side of the collar. As it is therefore slightly constricted, the knot will often pull slightly away from the collar or not curve as it could.

Three tips on ties.
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I confess I’m not a regular tie wearer, but why _should_ we use the four in hand knot? Not explaining that further was a tease!

I rather like the half-Windsor myself…


Thank you Simon!

I was always wondering why my knots wouldn´t look the way i supposed them to look like.

I used your tips, and see…it works!


James Palmer

I follow all your steps to keep the knot where it should be and I’ve always found a very high-spread collar is the best for keeping it put. In addition I wear a discreet tie pin – as opposed to tie tack; I anchor it through both blades about halfway between the 3rd and 4 button, through the shirt and out about 1/2″ below, then back though the rear blade before securing the ‘stopper’ end piece. This maintains the arch 100% of the time. The only thing I occasionally need to do is to grab the knot and pull the front blade down to keep it tight, but that always depends on the tie.


Hi Simon,
You might want to take a moment to advise your readers that it’s poor form to be seen adjusting your tie’s knot in public and instead you should take the opportunity to “touch up” your tie during trips to the men’s room (preferrably with dry hands!)

In fact you’ll probably agree that the essence of these details are that their achievement and maintenance are supposed to seem “invisible” (there’s some Italian word that expresses this right? can’t think of it just now).

Urbane Legend

If you don’t like tie tacks or clips for keeping your tie curved… why not try a waistcoat? 😉


“Because a four-in-hand knot (assuming that’s what you’re using – you should)”

Four-in-hand knot? Ick! I cannot abide the asymmetry of that knot–yet I know that’s exactly what its fans like about it.

While the Windsor and Half-Windsor knots may be lacking in the dégagé aesthetic, they more than make up for it in their beauty and functionality. Sprezzatura and the like, if desired, can be created elsewhere.

It boils down to one’s personal clothing sense, and whether or not you’re bold? brave? foolish? enough to go against what “everyone” says is the way to do it.


Simon, how do you get the knot of a four-in-hand to stay flush with your collar, with no unsightly gap between the top button and the top of the knot? I can only get a tie to sit perfectly flush when I tie a knot other than the four-in-hand, such as the Pratt knot. Obviously, this isn’t as nice a knot as the four-in-hand, so it’s rather frustrating that I can’t get rid of the gap above the four-in-hand. Any advice? Thanks.


“tighten the back blade and don’t touch the front, so the knot doesn’t shrink”

Amazing what a little tip can do. Thanks!


push the knot flat into the collar.” I presume from this it’s best to flip the collar down before tightening the tie? I always flip it down afterwards, and I have a bit of the shirt collar showing above, yet I see many people online manage to avoid that. Or is there some other way?

Joe N

Hi Simon
This a very belated comment regarding to ties. But I have a question about what determines the (vertical) length of the tieknot. I am NOT referring to the length of the tie itself (where it hits the belt buckle), but rather the length of the knot alone. Is it determined by how higher up you start when you cross the 2 blades at the start of the tieing process? So if I want a longer tieknot, I’d have to cross at the thicker part of the blade? Thanks