Is it just us, or is there something about wearing a bow tie that really makes you feel like you have your life together? Few things look sharper and more put together than a well-dressed man sporting a bow tie. They’re both elegant and timeless, but it’s important to know when and how to wear them. Let’s make sure you know exactly what you’re doing.
Originally associated with only the most formal of attires, bow ties can now be seen in almost any style of dress, from casual everyday outfits to businesswear. They come in a variety of patterns, colors and styles, and are often found one of three ways: pre-tied, clip-on, or self-tied.
As the name suggest, a pre-tied bow tie is exactly that, and is connected to an adjustable neck strap. Clip-on bow ties attach directly onto a shirt collar thanks to a metal clasp hidden behind the pre-tied bow.
More challenging is the self-tied bow tie, also known as the “freestyle” bow tie, that you must tie yourself. If you’ve never done it before, start with the pre-tied option since it is quick and easy to put on and has a bit more staying power than a clip-on.
Always go for the sleek and classic black bow tie if the event is formal. For other occasions, like garden parties, dinner dates, and birthday celebrations, bow ties are still completely appropriate but you can have some fun and mix it up. Try playing with different fabrics, patterns and prints.
You can also wear a bow tie with more casual outfits for some day-to-day flair. Pair one with a chambray shirt and cardigan or a short-sleeved button-up shirt and vest. Everything about the bow tie says fun, so make sure you have some with your outfit when you put one on.
Putting the bow tie into practice can be a little bit tricky the first few times, especially if you aren’t sure what to pair it with. Keep solid color bow ties in satins, silks and grosgrains reserved for more formal events, and play around with fabrics, patterns and colors for more casual ones.
Try a paisley or polka dot bow tie with some jeans and a navy button-down for something easy, but stylish. Pairing a bow tie with tailored shorts and loafers is a great summer look. Whatever the case, be confident and keep it simple—let the bow tie do the talking.