Different necktie guides will ascribe the name “simple knot” to different knots.
Many consider it simply another term for the four-in-hand, or, alternatively, for the Oriental or small knot.
While related to both, a true simple knot is its own distinct tying method.
It incorporates an extra turn beyond the four-in-hand (which gives it a more symmetrical shape), and is tied “rightside-out” with the seam hidden against the shirt cloth, distinguishing it from the small knot.
The simple knot is easy to tie, requires a relatively small amount of necktie length, and creates a symmetrical knot. When pulled tight it can appear a bit small, making it best suited to men with narrow faces and small collar spreads.
Old-fashioned Brits may also refer to this as the “schoolboy knot,” and discourage its use with adult suits.
Then again, the same term is also sometimes applied to the four-in-hand over there, and the reality is that tie-wearing schoolboys have used just as wide a variety of knots as their fathers — usually the same ones their fathers use.
If you’ve been relying on the four-in-hand, this is not a bad alternative to learn. It looks similar but more symmetrical, and is tied in nearly the same fashion.
Formality: Business-casual or social
Recommended Collars: Point collars, button-down collars
Oriental Knot Step 1
Drape the necktie around your collar with the seam facing inward. The thick end should be hanging on your left, with the narrow end on your right.
The simple knot uses the thick end of the necktie, so make sure it hangs two or three inches lower than your desired finishing position.
Oriental Knot Step 2
Bring the thick end horizontally across the front of the narrow end, and then pass it back horizontally behind the narrow end so that the thick end finishes up on your left side once again. The seam should now be facing outward on the thick end.
Oriental Knot Step 3
Continue wrapping the thick end around the thin end, making another horizontal pass across the front of the knot from left to right. You can lay this right on top of the first horizontal pass.
At this point the tip of the thick end should be pointed to your right, with the seam facing inward.
Oriental Knot Step 4
Continue wrapping the thick end around behind the knot, passing it horizontally from right to left for a second time. This can lie directly on top of the last horizontal pass behind the knot that you made in Step 2.
Oriental Knot Step 5
Bring the thick end of the tie back across the front of the knot in a third horizontal pass from left to right. The tip of the thick end should finish pointing to your right, with the seam facing inward.
This time you can go ahead and slip a finger under the final horizontal band you’ve just created. You’ll be passing the necktie through it in the next step.
Oriental Knot Step 6
Bring the tip of the thick end up underneath the loop around your collar, feeding it upward behind the knot.
Flip the tip downward over the front of the knot and feed it through the final horizontal loop that you created in Step 5, with the tip pointed downward and the seam facing inward.
Oriental Knot Step 7
Pull the thick end all the way through the horizontal loop across the front of the knot and snug it down firmly.
At this point you have the finished shape of the knot, and it should hold together without your help. The narrow end should be hidden entirely behind the thick end.
Oriental Knot Step 8
Adjust the necktie by holding the knot in one hand and pulling gently on the narrow end with the other.
The knot is self-releasing, meaning you can pull the narrow end straight up out of the knot to untie it. The rest of the loops will simply collapse without it.
Use the simple knot any time you would use a four-in-hand — it’s a reliable choice for men who like a smaller-structured tie knot, and works equally well in business and social situations.