The Pratt knot, Shelby knot or the Milanese knot – how to tie and the story behind the knot with three names
The Pratt knot (a.k.a. the Shelby Knot or the Milanese knot) is a variation on the Windsor knot. It’s relatively simple, it’s symmetrical, it’s slightly bold and it pretty much ensures a perfect tie dimple every time you tie it. Beyond that, it’s got a pretty interesting history and story.
Named for its supposed inventor, Jerry Pratt, a former United States Chamber of Commerce employee, it wasn’t until a news anchor by the name of Don Shelby started wearing it on air that it truly became popular. (N.B. This is why you will sometimes hear this knot referred to as the Pratt-Shelby.)
The story goes that Pratt visited Shelby’s set once and refused to leave until he made Shelby’s tie knot look better. As Pratt gave the tutorial, Shelby was tickled by how easy it was to tie and how easily it made the perfect tie dimple.
Shelby started wearing the knot on television and, believe it or not, it caught the attention of the New York fashion writers, who covered this new tie knot that Shelby was wearing. Can you imagine such a thing happening today? After that, it became a hallmark of Shelby’s on-air wardrobe and the rest is history.
There is evidence, however, that the Pratt knot dates back to tailors in 1920s Milan, who used it as a quick way to tie ties on their mannequins. This explains why you will sometimes hear this knot referred to as the Milanese knot.
Below are the steps for how to tie the Pratt knot with a gif to help illustrate. If that moves too fast for your taste, we’ve also got each frame along with the instructions in the slideshow above. Enjoy!
Step by Step: How To Tie a Pratt Knot (a.k.a. the Shelby Knot)
1. Start with the wide end on the left, narrow end on the right. Make sure the seam of the tie is facing outward!
2. Cross the narrow end over the wide end.
3. Bring the wide end up and through the loop.
4. Pull it all the way downward, wrapping it tightly.
5. Cross the wide end over.
6. Bring it behind the knot.
7. And pull it all the way up and over.
8. Thread the wide end through the loop.
9. Pull all the way through.
10. Tighten the knot, slide up and adjust.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style