How to Wear a Bow Tie – A Gentleman’s Guide

Neckwear always says something about you. You have to make sure it’s the right message.

And if it’s a bow tie, I am sure you’re wearing it to make a statement. Fashion experts say there’s a grave responsibility associated with pulling off a bow tie. So, if you are to wear one, make sure you act like a gentleman.

Experts also say that bow ties have what it takes to become a conversation piece so you have to be careful about the pattern and shape. However, make sure you avoid novelties and stick to the classics like plaids, stripes, and ginghams. As conservative as it sounds, eccentricity can sometimes be cloying.

Have you ever heard this “some people can pull off a bow tie even on plain khaki pants with a random shirt while others can’t?” Me neither. The key to pulling it off like a pro is to put it on first. It gives you a strange confidence right away. A bow tie draws attention to your face. Yes, they are associated with the elderly and academics as long as you are wearing them with a tightly fitted jacket. But if you want to do something different, wear it with a navy blazer for a more dapper look.

Let’s have a look at some rules of wearing a bow tie the professional way:

1: Choose the Right Shape

Bow ties are available in more than just one shape. Your options include butterfly, batwing, big butterfly, club round, and diamond tip.

The most versatile shape is a butterfly which has a height of around 2.5 inches. It works for any occasion. The big butterfly style is for the ones with a large neck size. It’s 3 inches or more in height.

When it comes to bow ties for casual occasions, batwing (the angular, narrow and straight design) is the shape that stands out. Diamond tip and butterfly, on the other hand, are the right fit for formal occasions.

2: The Fabric and Fit

The occasion determines the fabric for the bowtie. Silk and stain are dressier options. Cotton and linen are for casual days. The rule is simple. Formal bow ties do not work well with casual shirts.

Now let’s talk about the fit. Some of us are not that great with determining the size. There is a simple solution to that. Wear the tie and look yourself in the mirror. Make sure the ends of the bow lineup the outer crests of your temples. Plus, the tie should fit well without causing suffocation. Go for a bowtie that comes with an adjuster.

3: Choose the Patterns Carefully

Never try to match the bowtie with your pocket square. It doesn’t look natural and it appears as if you have bought it from a two-for-one deal.

When you are mixing patterns, choose a bow tie with a small pattern and wear it with a large patterned shirt. You may also go for a bow tie of large pattern and pair it with a small patterned shirt. You can also wear floral prints. Avoid anything that looks too cute.

4: Shirt to Wear With Bow Ties

Generally, it’s preferable to wear a formal shirt with a tie.

Let’s first see which types to avoid. Shirts with stand-up collars and cutaway collars that are too wide.

Now let’s talk about the shirts that are made for bow ties. The best ones are shirts with french collars. Another option is a shark collar. Then comes the wing collar which is the type worn with a tuxedo. Reserve it for chic occasions only.

5: No Untied Bow Ties Please!

Only Ryan Gosling can pull off an undone bow tie, not you! It is absolutely socially unacceptable to turn up at a formal occasion or a party wearing an untied bow tie. Stick to the basic rule of wearing a tied bow tie. Be a gentleman.

6: Silk, Velvet, and Grosgrain Fabrics Rule

Don’t want to go wrong with a bow tie? Then you must stick to the fabrics that are known acceptable when it comes to bow ties.

Must avoid fabrics: Corduroy, wool, cotton, and nylon. They look silly!

Best fabrics: Silk, velvet, and grosgrain. It’s simple – these fabrics have a rich texture and they make a bow tie look elegant.

7: The Color

When it comes to colors, the basic rule is to wear a bow tie that syncs with the color(s) of your outfit. It’s important to ensure that the bow tie is not so bright or else it can distract others from your face.

The bow tie must only emphasize the style of your outfit, it mustn’t overshadow the look. Black is the best color to wear but you can also opt for something fancy depending on the occasion. The rule of thumb is to stay away from loud colors.

Summing Up

Keep these rules in mind to rock a bow tie like a pro. Once it’s tied, leave it and forget it! That’s the art of wearing a bow tie.