Upgrade Your Knot: How to Tie a Kelvin Tie Knot

Dark Plaid Cotton Tie by The Tie Bar, $15 Ralph Lauren Classic-Fit Checked Poplin Green-Blue Dark Plaid Cotton Tie by The Tie Bar, $15

Most guys know 2 of the 4 common knots. Some combination of Four in Hand, Half Windsor, Windsor, and a few may even know the Pratt. Those knots will all work great for your standard ties of the 80’s and 90’s when we were taught them. These ties were wider and mostly all of them were smooth silk.

These days guys like variety in their ties. Different textures, different fabrics. Once abhorred by sartorialists, these days a guy wearing a narrow cotton tie looks great at his boss’s barbeque. A textured wool tie can take some of the Wall Street edge off of your suit for the office, and transition perfectly for a less casual atmosphere out on the town.


Pictures and Words by Andrew Snavely
wavy line

The problem is, with the combination of skinnier ties and thicker fabrics, our old standby knots don’t give us the results we need.

The Kelvin

Perfect for a cotton, 2.5 inch tie. Most guys will default to a Four in Hand, for the casual asymmetrical look, however because of the slimmer tie, a four in hand knot will create a very, very small knot. To make up for this, we use The Kelvin knot: A variation on the Four in Hand which adds size, without bulk.


» How to Tie a Kelvin Tie Knot

how to tie a kelvin tie knot

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page.

  • Jeremy

    Really like that shirt/tie combo, Andrew.

  • ryan i.

    Funny timing. I just picked up a skinny cotton tie and I noticed the same problem. My knots were always too small against my collar.

  • Steve
    • http://www.primermagazine.com Andrew


      It’s similar, a Kelvin knot starts with the tie upside down. We use Thomas Fink’s 85 Ways to Tie a Tie and his online encyclopedia: http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~tmf20/tieknots.shtml

      He’s an academic researcher who co-wrote a paper on all the ways to tie a tie.

  • Jay

    I just started using this method (which I thought was called the ‘Oriental’) a couple years ago, I found it on here I think: http://www.totieatie.com/oriental.asp.

    supposedly this method requires the fewest number of steps.

  • MattR

    @Steve: The Kelvin differs, from what I understand, in that when you pull the tie through the knot, you only go through one layer of the knot, rather than two. Prince Albert uses both layers of the knot.

    Btw, my favorite knot. Goes with everything and isn’t gawdy or overdone.

  • Matt

    Hey Andrew I really like that shirt, do you know where I could find it on the Ralph Lauren site? Thanks in advance!

  • http://www.primermagazine.com Andrew

    Hey Matt,

    I picked that shirt (I love it by the way) up at a RL outlet store. It’s unavailable on their main site now, but you can find it elsewhere. Here’s one such place, though I can’t vouch for them.


  • http://travelwisconsin.us/ Monique Grace

    Perfect tips you have shared Andrew, my husband sometimes makes his tie wrong , by these i can show my husband the proper way to wear a perfect tie.

  • http://travelwisconsin.us/ Samantha

    This article helps me a lot Andrew. Now i know how to make a kelvin tie and i will tell it to my husband to have a perfect kelvin tie.

  • Dylan

    Looks like a Double Windsor.

  • http://travelwisconsin.us/ Grace Blando

    this is my first time to visit this site and with this article it will make me solve my husband problem on how to make a perfect kelvin tie.

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  • nawaz

    kool one
    i really had a bachelors party and i desperately needed something like this it made my party look really kool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hank

    I know this is an old post but…
    Where did you get the tie?

  • http://www.primermagazine.com Andrew
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