Fifteen years ago I shared how I tie a square knot (or reef knot.) It bears repeating because it’s a simple and effective styling tool that, to my eye, makes quite the visual difference. It’s the type of knot you can use for tops, dresses, swimwear, and toppers that have ties that require knotting. The square knot is also ideal for neckerchiefs, scarves, and some face masks.

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The square knot is used extensively in fashion and style because it is visually decorative, stays put, looks neat and tidy, adds a professional touch, and the ends of the ties lie flat. I learned to tie it in the ‘70s as a Brownie Girl Scout. I clearly remember the instruction from our Brown Owl: “Right over left, and under. Left over right, and under. Pull, and tighten.”

Here’s a video that’s easy to follow, and there’s a very clear diagram on

Reef Knot

If you need to make a symmetrical and professional looking bow – try tying a square knot first and then completing the normal steps involved in making a bow. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes it makes the bow too bulky. It depends on the fabric and size of the bow.

I am a square knot devotee, and style my clients with square knots. How about you?