How to Wear Bow Ties

Written by mary smith
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How to Wear Bow Ties
Bow ties add panache to an outfit. (page boy with bow-tie, smiling image by Jane September from

The bow tie is an article of clothing from a different era, but trends reappear again throughout history and the bow tie is no exception. Also, those who bring it back with style are admired for their keen fashion sense and poise, so it is important to choose the right bow tie and wear it properly.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Bow tie
  • Mirror (optional)

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  1. 1

    Decide whether a bow tie is right for the shape of your face. If you have a rounder face, it's better to opt for a regular tie instead, or at least a slimmer bow tie. Next, figure out if you want a ready-made bow tie, so you can eliminate the hassle of tying it yourself, or if you want to embark on the tying adventure.

  2. 2

    Purchase a quality material bow tie. Silk usually looks the best, but use your best judgment. If a bow tie fabric is too coarse, it might rub your neck, so take that into consideration, too. Choose a muted-colour tie, not one that grabs attention. You can get creative with different patterns and colours, as long as it doesn't look garish. After all, the attention should be on your face, not what's below it.

  3. 3

    Tie the bow tie by hanging the tie fabric over your neck and on opposite shoulders, front side up. The left end should be about an inch and a half above the right end. Take the shorter left end and cross it over to the right side, slipping it under the longer right end. At this point you're about to make your first knot, so consider how tight you want the bow tie to be and adjust accordingly.

  4. 4

    Pull the right end and angle it to the left so that the two ends are now facing opposite sides. Take the right, longer end and pull it toward the chest, under the shorter end, and through the neck loop from the bottom up. Fold the shorter end, which is on the right, over the knot, so the bow is now in place. Take the long end and wrap it over the middle of the bow, cinching it. You have now created on opening between the bow and the knot.

  5. 5

    Pull the long end to the right, parallel to the bow, and make a sharp fold where it touches the bow. Slide the fold from right to left through the opening between the bow and the knot, and pull it through to the other side. Adjust from the right and the left, smoothing out any creases, and leaving two symmetrical sides. Flatten as needed.

  6. 6

    Figure out when your bow tie is appropriate to wear and what clothes it goes well with. Bow ties can usually be worn to adorn a formal outfit, or just to add panache to a casual one. Be careful not to look too black-tie when it isn't a black-tie affair, though. It's a trap people fall into when attempting to wear bow ties.

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