Though the trend these days for men is to shy away from the tie during their headshot session, a strong professional picture all dressed up in suit and tie for the C-suite is still a must.

There are so many varieties of necktie knots these days outside of the classic Windsor and Half-Windsor styles, so I am aware that something that sounds so simple can be confusing and stressful as you’re getting ready for your session. But when it comes down to it, which tie knot you use depends on the cut of your shirt. And I say, when in doubt, use the Pratt knot.

The Pratt knot is a fairly recent invention. Jerry Pratt, who worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, designed it and wore it for 30 years before anchorman Don Shelby publicized the distinctive knot in 1989 on Twin Cities local TV. It’s a shorter, medium-sized triangle between the symmetrical Half-Windsor and the slimmer Four-In-Hand knot. Worn with a modern spread collar, you’ll get a sharp but elegant look with trim precision. It’s well-suited to shorter-length ties and taller men.

The shape of your collar and neck matters in choosing a knot style

Here’s a little more information from A Tailored Suit on how collar shape, neck width, and even your height will affect the look you get when you settle on a necktie knot.

  • Mismatching your collar shape and necktie knot is a no-no. Though you might want to save money by using the same spread collar or pointed collar white shirt with different tie styles, you’re actually hurting yourself in the long run. You run the risk of failing to capture the harmony of lines between the knot and the shirt, making the picture feel askew. It will also make the tie knot or collar look extremely large or small—perhaps evoking memories of 1970s wedding receptions you might just want to keep in the Disco era.
  • Wide spread collars require more triangular knots, and straight point collars—which have a more classic look—should be matched with a more slender and longer tie knot. The Pratt would work well for both of these collars.
  • Your neck size and height matter, too. If you’re a beefier guy with a thick neck, chose a wider triangle knot. If you’re a tall and skinny guy, you’ll want to go with a smaller, longer knot. Again, each body type can find a happy middle with the Pratt.
  • Different knots work better with certain necktie materials. A Tailored Suit says that Italian silk ties, for instance, work well with Double Windsor knots, and more traditional patterned ties are more conducive to the Four-In-Hand. Or the Pratt, I say. 

How to tie a Pratt knot

Click on this link to learn how to tie a Pratt Knot if you never have—and I’m looking forward capturing those harmonious, professional lines between you, your collar and your tie!


KeliComm Headshots
Special thanks to Jim Friedlander for first introducing me to the Pratt Knot.


headshot photographers
The finished, polished look.


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