The Ultimate Bow Tie Guide

February 24, 2020 6 min read

Black Bow Tie

Bow ties are synonymous with garnering attention, that eye gaze, lip bite 3000 type of attention. 😉

They play a vital role in the modern gentleman's repertoire, providing much needed style diversity. Every man should have a solid black bow tie for special events, but if you want to step up your game to the next level (you know you want to) we will tell you everything you need to know in this all inclusive bow tie guide.

How To Tie A Bow Tie

Whether you go with the loop swoop pull, or the bunny ears, you too can tie a bow tie. Check out this video for all you need to know

How To Wear A Bow Tie

Clearly you will want to wear them around your neck, but that's not why you're here. Wearing a bow tie is as much about your confidence as it is about the color, pattern, and occasion. People will take notice so be prepared to receive their compliments.

Carry yourself with pride, you're wearing a bow tie and you tied it yourself! This separates you from the rest of the pack and their standard neck tie wearing selves. Your knot may be a little uneven but that just adds to your confidence which is what draws people in.

How To Style A Bowtie

With so many patterns, colors, and textures you can be as creative as you want with your neckwear. You can of course pair a bow tie with any collared dress shirt, your resident gentleman always recommend pairing them with a suit and other accessories. This is where it gets complicated and we're here to help.

Floral Bow Ties: These are extremely versatile due to the amount of colors in them. Just like the picture above they look best when the colors complement the entire outfit.

The blue flowers go great with the blue suit and striped shirt. The green leaves tie in perfectly with the blue and green lapel pin. The white background ties in great with a simple pocket square. If you apply that logic, your fits will be next level.

Solid Bow Ties: Are typically reserved for more formal events, such as a black tie dinner. In this instance you will want to keep things simple, a clean white pocket square is always a safe bet.

Paisley Bow Ties: As with florals, you will want to use the color variations in the design to determine how to pair with other accessories. Paisley patterns are great for a night out where a floral design might feel out of place. Throw in some coordinating suspenders for an extra special look.

When Should I Wear A Bow Tie?

Now that you can tie it, let's talk about when you should wear them.

Wearing a bow tie to any event will set you apart from everyone else. Because bow ties are not worn often, it makes them elusive. Whenever you see a bow tie you take notice. This makes them the perfect tool for setting yourself apart at any event.

Weddings: Wearing a bow tie to a wedding is sure to garner attention. It’s a special event, so give it your all. Depending on the wedding theme you can play with which type of bow tie you choose.

For an outdoor, park, or forest wedding, going with a fun, playful floral bow tie is a great option. For a beach wedding you might opt for a more laid back linen bow tie or checkered bow tie. For a traditional ceremony you can always wear an elegant black bow tie.

Dinners / Going out: Going out for the night? A bow tie makes perfect sense for the occasion. Where as a normal necktie can come across as too formal, a bowtie can help show your personality. Plus if you’ll be eating, it's nearly impossible to stain your favorite bow tie when it's tied neatly around your neck. Our suggestion for a dinner or night out is a paisley pattern, paisley is fun, playful, and elegant at the same time.

Office: Wearing a tie to the office is the traditional route, but you shouldn’t be intimidated to mix in a bow tie weekly. For the office setting it’s best to take a conservative approach but you shouldn’t be afraid to mix in fun patterns also.

Best Bow Tie Sets

1. Pecan Wildflower Bow Tie Set

This Brown Floral set is definitely a must have. The small floral print creates a great subdued look with hints of blue flowers that look great with most shades of blue suits. Paired with our brown herringbone pocket square and brown floral lapel pin, you’re sure to turn heads. Be sure to finish off the look with a nice pair of brown shoes.

2. Fossil Grey Bow Tie Set

Another must own set due to its simple, yet elegant design. Grey is an excellent accent color which helps this pair with pretty much any suit color. The micro pattern is great for any formal occasions where you want something dapper and subdued at the same time. The grey border pocket square and grey floral lapel pin match great and can be used with many other items as well.

3. Jacquard Ocean Blue Bow Tie Set

This set features a pattern that really pops. Not for the faint of heart, but come on you already chose to go with a bow around your neck you might as well make a statement. Paired with a classic navy border pocket square and a red bow tie lapel pin. You will look like an expert stylist with this fit, two bow ties are always better than one.

Types Of Bow Ties

There are two main types of bow tie as you should already be aware. The gents here at AG always recommend the self tie variety, but in a pinch or for the young ones, a pre tied bow tie can do just fine.

Self Tie Bow Tie: The self tie bow tie is the quintessential gentleman accessory. As the name implies, this is one you will need to tie yourself, a skill every gent should have. While your knot may not turn out perfect, and one side might be a little longer than the other, that's all a part of the charm.

Learning how to tie a bow tie can be frustrating at first, in the end it is well worth the effort and soon you will be tying them without a mirror. The absolute greatest thing about tying the knot yourself? When that special someone wants to untie it for you. 👀

Pre Tied Bow Tie: These are bow ties where no work is necessary. They will either come with a strap for you to size and secure around your neck or a clip which simply attaches to your shirt. We always recommend the self tie variety but these can come in handy for children, or for that guy that just can’t figure out how to tie them (again, children).

Specialty/ Wooden Bow Tie: These are perfect for when you feel like peacocking. If you haven't heard that one before it simply means dressing for attention, just like the ornate designs on a male peacock's feathers. Matter of fact one of the most popular specialty bow ties is modeled after peacock feathers, interesting. Whether its feather bow ties or wooden, be prepared to talk about it, these are sure to draw attention.

Best Shirt Collars For Bow Ties

No doubt you can wear your bow ties with any type of collared dress shirt. In our opinion however a semi-spread or spread collar shirt should be your go to when pairing as the collar tips will be hidden behind your neckwear.

For an ultimate dapper pairing try a club-round collar shirt (if you have one) with a soft textured bow tie.

Spread collar shirt with a floral bow tie.


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