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Aug, 30 2023

How to Tie the Perfect Bow Tie

How To Tie A Bow Tie

Nothing caps a look of class and elegance in men’s formal attire than the perfect bow tie. It can complete a unique style or be the finishing element of formal black-tie events. However, you’ll need to know how to tie the perfect bow tie to look your best. It may seem like a small detail, but the traditional bow tie elevates the outfit by communicating confidence and drawing attention.

Read on to learn how to tie the perfect bow tie.

Quick Insights

Before learning how to tie them correctly, there are a few things to know about bow ties such as:

  • Choose self-tied bow ties over pre-tied and clip-on bow ties – You might be tempted to skip the tying process using a clip-on or pre-tied bow tie. However, self-tied bow ties have a voluminous look, and you can use different knots for some flair. Likewise, you can adjust the tightness for a more comfortable fit. Self-tie bow ties have a distinct, timeless charm that separates the outfit.
  • A bow tie is best for formality – If there’s a strict dress code, such as a black-tie event, a black bow tie is the most appropriate choice. When paired with the right tuxedo, it completes the overall formal look and personality you need for these events. Some black-tie events include galas, formal dinners, and other evening events.

Step-by-Step Guide to Tying a Bow Tie

Say you have that black-tie event this evening. You’ve selected the proper attire to impress, bowtie, leather shoes, black tuxedo, the works. Now it’s time to tie your bow tie and complete the look successfully.

Step 1: Positioning

Begin by putting on your shirt, buttoning it, and turning the collar up. Stand before the mirror and place the bow tie around your neck. Make sure that the right end is slightly longer than the other. Just a few inches should do the trick.

Step 2: Crossover

Next, cross the bowtie’s right side (the longer side) over the shorter one.

Step 3: Loop Around

Continue the process by looping the longer end behind the shorter end. You’ll notice that the bow will start looking more like a knot.

Step 4: Form the Bow

Here, you’ll form a bow shape by folding and positioning it horizontally.

Step 5: Drop the Long End

Now, take the right, longer end and drape it over the center of the bow formation you just made.

Step 6: Form the Second Bow

Form and position the longer end like you did for the last. Doing so creates a second bow formation.

Step 7: Secure the Bow

Pull the ends of the bow together and tighten the knot to complete the process. You may have to experiment a bit to achieve symmetry.

Choosing the Right Bowtie

Bowties are different in more ways than one. While using a black one for black tie events, you’ll also have to consider different types. You’ll likewise have to consider how your bow tie compliments your overall outfit.

  • The butterfly bow tie – When people think of the classic bowtie style, they probably mean the butterfly bowtie. This type is standard and has a flat end with a smoother curve. While commonly used for black-tie events, it’s not just a conservative choice. Due to their larger surface areas, many use butterfly bow ties with patterns for less formal events.
  • The batwing bow tie – Perhaps you want more of a minimalist appeal to your outfit. The batwing bow tie is much smaller than others and has a flat, rectangular look. It’s sleeker, making it acceptable in formal black-tie events and more casual options like weddings.
  • Diamond point bow tie – You may want a unique flair to your whole look. A diamond point exudes uniqueness yet is still appropriate for formal events. It has elements of the butterfly bowtie, with its rounded middle, but ends in points. This makes it look a bit asymmetrical but adds some sophistication.
  • The club – This is the most casual bow tie. It’s generally more suitable for fun events rather than formal ones. It’s on the smaller side, much like the batwing, and features more rounded edges for a playful, friendly, and unique appeal.

Some other distinct bowtie styles include the pointed batwing and the big butterfly. Many think that bowties are a thing of the past. But that simply isn’t the case. Take Pharrell Williams for example. He’s been spotted wearing a bow tie multiple times on the red carpet as a unique detail to his already eye-catching suits.

You’ll also have to consider how your bow tie fits your outfit. If you’re attending a black-tie event, pairing a black bow tie with a black tuxedo is best. The butterfly style and the diamond-point bow tie will be appropriate for this look. A batwing, on the other hand, can look sleek but is noticeably more casual.

Bowties can also complete a more casual look, adding unique flair and attention to your outfit. You’re free to choose from patterns and colors with a suit. This is where the butterfly, batwing, and the diamond shape can all look great,

However, you’ll want to follow a general rule in terms of color, harmony, and the occasion. The more formal the event, the more you want to go with solid or monochromatic colors that are close to your suit color. If it’s more casual, bright colors look great against neutral suit colors like gray, black, and navy. This is also a great opportunity to be adventurous and experiment with patterns. But don’t do this with a black tuxedo; sometimes, white bow ties are acceptable for formal events.

Tips for the Perfect Bow Tie

While we covered the essential steps for a bow tie, a few other tips will help you along the way. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Practice makes perfect – Getting the ideal bow tie is almost an art. If you don’t succeed the first time, don’t get discouraged. Try a few times in front of the mirror. Practice will help you reach that symmetrical look while achieving a comfortable fit.
  • Adjustments – You can always make adjustments with a self-tied bow tie. Pre-ties and clip-ons always look the same, giving it a less authentic look. As the event progresses, you might have to make adjustments.
  • Check the fit – There’s no need to be uncomfortable with your bow tie. It should fit snugly instead of being too tight or loose.
  • Bow tie materials – Bow ties come in different materials too. Silk is the most formal and looks sleek. Cotton is right under silk on the formality level, while linen, wool, and knitted are better for less formal events.

The Black-Tie Dress-Code

The black bow tie is a distinctive and essential element of more formal events. Long ties don’t go with tuxedos, so you’ll be expected to wear one for formal dinner events, galas, and weddings. Aesthetically, it provides a focal point to an outfit while contrasting the whiteness of your shirt while complementing the other black elements of the tuxedo.

The bow tie has been the answer to what is formal dress code attire since the 18th century. Nowadays, we see it as a symbol of timeless class and tasteful uniformity. The quality of your bow tie also reflects your personal style abilities.

A slack or loose tie can easily make the whole outfit look messy. At the same time, an overly-tight knot can be incredibly uncomfortable. In formal black-tie settings, impressions matter. Deviation from the dress code can be deemed disrespectful, not just aesthetically unpleasing. Also keep in mind that there are differences between formal vs. black-tie events. Black tie events mean that you’ll be expected to wear a tux with a black bow tie while formal events may include a broader range of sophisticated choices.

For less formal occasions, you might want to choose a cocktail suit for men.

Video Resources

You may be more of a visual learner. In that case, check out our step-by-step video on how to tie a bow tie. You can follow along a few times before you get the hang of it and transition to the written steps.

You can also follow along with the video transcript to get additional insights while completing the process. After a few attempts, you’ll be ready to tie your bow tie perfectly. You might also consider watching the video a few days before the event for additional practice.

The Bowtie – A Staple of Men’s Fashion

The perfect bow tie is a must when preparing for a black-tie event. However, it can be just as fitting for more casual occasions. Tying an ideal bow tie is a skill every man should know. Whether for formal events or moments when you want to elevate your style, mastering the art of the bow tie knot is essential.

However, there’s a way to make the process easier. Choose from men’s wedding rentals to ensure you have the right outfit for the big day.

Are you still debating between the long tie and a bow tie? More “How-to” videos can be found on our blog and YouTube channel.

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