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The Windsor knot, also referred to as a Full Windsor or as a Double Windsor to distinguish it from the half-Windsor, is a method of tying a necktie. The Windsor knot, compared to other methods, produces a wide symmetrical triangular knot.
The knot is often thought to be named after the Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII before his abdication). It is likely, however, that it was invented by his father, George V. The Duke preferred a wide knot and had his ties specially made with thicker cloth in order to produce a wider knot when tied with the conventional four-in-hand knot. The Windsor knot was invented to emulate the Duke's wide knot with ties made from normal thickness cloth.
The Windsor knot is especially suited for a spread or cutaway collar that can properly accommodate a larger knot. For correct wear, the tie used for a Windsor knot should be about 4 centimetres or 1.6 inches longer than a conventional tie.
The Windsor knot is the only tie knot that is to be used by all personnel in the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force Cadets (ATC and CCF(RAF)) in the UK when wearing their black tie while in uniform. However, the Windsor Knot is often frowned upon in other Armed Services or Regiments of the British Forces through its association with the Duke of Windsor, who became a potential pretender to the throne following his abdication. The Windsor and four-in-hand knots are authorized for use by all services of the Canadian Forces.
When tied correctly the knot is tight and does not slip away from the collar during wear. It is very comfortable to wear, as the knot itself will hold the tie firmly in place while still keeping space between the collar and the neck.
The knot is symmetrical, well-balanced, and self-releasing (i.e., it can be undone entirely by pulling the tie's narrow end up through the knot). It is a large knot, which amply displays the fabric and design of the tie when wearing a closed jacket or coat, and helps keep the throat area warm during the colder winter months.
A large knot can distract attention away from the wearer's face; therefore, a Windsor best complements a strong square or round face, or those sporting facial hair.
This section contains instructions, advice, or how-to content. (July 2014)
To tie the Windsor, place the tie around your neck and cross the broad end of the tie in front of the narrow end. Then fold the broad end behind the narrow end and push it up through the inside of the loop around your neck. The left and right sides of the narrow end, and the inside of the loop, now form a triangle. The third and fourth folds should complete one rotation around the outside of the knot. The fifth fold brings the broad end over the top of the knot from the front to the back. The sixth and seventh folds again complete one rotation around the knot. The eighth fold should again bring the broad end up over the top of the knot from behind; push the end down through the loop in front of the knot that you made with the seventh fold, work out any wrinkles, and pull the knot tight. If the tie is unbalanced, untie the knot and try again giving yourself more or less length to work with.
- Li Co Ri Lo Ci Ro Li Co T
Fink and Mao list the following as common variations on the Windsor:
- Li Co Li Ro Ci Lo Ri Co T (knot 32) (the "Persian Knot")
- Li Co Ri Lo Ci Lo Ri Co T (knot 33)
- Li Co Li Ro Ci Ro Li Co T (knot 35).
The instructions for tying a Windsor knot are shown below. We assume that you are right-handed in the following instructions. The figures below are mirror images. They are what you will see if you stand in front of a mirror.
- At the beginning, the wide end of the tie should be on your right side and the other end should be on your left side.
- Cross the wide end over the other end. Now three regions are formed (Left, Right and Center).
- Bring the wide end under the narrow end to the Center region.
- Bring the wide end over to the Right region.
- Bring the wide end underneath the narrow end from Right to Left.
- Bring the wide end up to the Center region.
- Bring the wide end under the knot from Center to Right.
- Bring the wide end over the front to the Left region.
- Bring the wide end under the narrow part from Left to Center.
- Bring the wide end down and pass the loop in front. Ensure that the knot is tightened.
- Use one hand to pull the narrow end down gently and use the other hand to move the knot up until it reaches the center of the collar.
Ian Fleming reference
In Ian Fleming's novel From Russia, with Love, Chapter 25 is entitled "A tie with a Windsor knot". James Bond, traveling on the Orient Express, is met by a supposed fellow British agent, who wears "the dark blue and red zigzagged tie of the Royal Artillery, tied with a Windsor knot". Fleming describes in detail Bond's reaction: "Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot. It showed too much vanity. It was often the mark of a cad". However, "Bond decided to forget his prejudice".