Can you tie shoe laces?
Good, you can tie a bow tie 🙂
A black bow-tie is a symbol of formality.
The most elegant knot suited for a black-tie event.
It is not a challenging knot and you definitely should avoid a clip-on version.
A bow tie is part of the required dress code for formal white-tie and black-tie events.
It is also the accessory of choice for men in business casual who are looking to spice up their outfit.
First, have the bow tie sized to match your collar measurement.
Formal events call for a dress shirt with wing collars while spread collars are suitable for semi-formal and business casual dress code.
The length of the bow tie matters.
For adjustable bow ties, insert the hook into the slot that corresponds with your neck size.
Follow the infographics and instructions below and improve your sartorial elegance by learning how to self-tie a bow tie.
The infographics below show a mirror image when you follow the instructions. The instructions will also work if you consistently exchange right side for left side and vice versa.
Start with the bow tie draped around your neck with the seams facing down. Adjust the bowtie so the end on the right side of your chest is longer than the left end.
Place the longer right end over the shorter left end, making an X-shape just below the chin.
Loop the longer end behind the ‘X’ to create a simple knot similar to the first knot while tying shoelaces.
Tug the ends until the knot sits tightly against the throat. This is an important step to remember because unlike a necktie, a bow tie knot cannot be made tighter after completing all the steps.
Leave this looped end resting on your shoulder for the next couple of steps.
Placing your index finger on the widest part of the curve of the shorter end, fold it to create a bow shape.
Place the folded tip across your collar with the shorter end as close to your neck as possible.
Holding the bow created above with the forefinger and thumb of your left hand, bring the longer end down off your shoulder in front of the folded shorter end.
Position the longer end so that it hangs straight down on top of the shorter end, right in the middle of the bow shape.
Ensure that the tip of the longer end points straight down, and the tip of the shorter end points to your left.
Using your right hand, fold the longer end back towards the chest and pinch the fold.
Double the tip of the longer end over exactly as you did the tip of the shorter end. The goal is to make a symmetrical wing-shape with this end too.
Keeping the longer end hanging in front of the shorter end, tuck its folded tip behind the folded tip of the shorter end and through the small loop you formed when you first passed it up behind the knot.
Your goal at this step is to have two sets of wing shapes, with the one formed by the shorter end laid on top of the one formed by the longer end.
A vertical strip of the longer end lies atop both of these, forming the loop that holds the whole knot in place.
With the wings in place, tug the loops behind them to tighten the vertical front knot.
Adjust the wings until they are symmetrical. Hold the front of the knot down with one finger, and wriggle the wings as needed. A mirror is required for this step.
Make final adjustments. Ensure your bow tie lies flat and horizontal against your collar bone.
To undo the bow tie, simply pull the loose ends on either side and unravel the knot.
The shape of your finished knot will vary depending on the style of tie. Make this slight variation at Step 4 for these styles of bow ties:
• Butterfly Shape: The classic style of the butterfly shape should have wide ends and a small knot in the center. Fold a butterfly bow tie at the widest part of the curve.
• Batwing or Straight End: A batwing or straight end will be only slightly wider at the tips than at the center. Fold over at the point just before the shape begins to taper.
• Pointed: The two ends are bound to stick out beyond the straight edges of the loop. Fold a pointed-end bow tie at the widest part of the curve as well and pay attention to the two sets of wings which need to align fairly precisely to create the proper effect.
Practice the knot in front of a mirror a few times to nail it.
For beginners, it is recommended to practice tying the bow tie around your thigh because it has roughly the same circumference as your neck but is clearly visible.
Bow ties are best paired with a decently wide spread collar and should never be worn with a button-down collar.
Men with larger faces will look better with wider wings while narrow-faced men should select a slimmer look.
Learn the basic version and you’ll be set for both black and white tie events, as well as for any patterned bow ties you might feel like wearing with your collared shirts.