Bow tie style guide

Introduction - The ultimate guide to bow ties
A stylish bow tie can really elevate an outfit. Bow ties can be worn with suits, smoking jackets, black tie, white tie or even just shirts. They can be used for everything from formal, black tie events to informal get-togethers like Friday night dinners with good friends. In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about when and how to wear a bowtie.

When should I wear a bow tie?
Bow ties work for basically all occasions when it would be suitable to wear a tie. If you are wearing black tie, always go for a black silk bow tie. If you’re wearing white tie, you should have a white cotton one. If you’re going to a prom, it’s a nice idea to use a bow tie and pocket square that match the colour of your date’s dress. The material is up to you, but silk is preferred. A bowtie is appropriate whenever you wear a suit or jacket, it just depends how dressed-up you want to be. With a suit, a bow tie is considered slightly less formal than a tie. A bow tie with a shirt and no jacket is a casual outfit that’s suitable for most days on which you just to look that little bit extra stylish.

Bow ties at weddings?
At weddings, the groom can wear a bow tie. If he wants to stand out, he can also wear a waistcoat. It’s common for best men and other groomsmen to wear bow ties in the same colour as that of the groom. Alternatively, they can go for one that matches the bridesmaids' dresses.

If you’re a guest at a wedding, you too can wear a bow tie. It never hurts to check with the bride and groom if they’re comfortable with that first. If the groom is wearing a bow tie, it might be better for you to go for a regular tie, but if he’s wearing a tie or cravat, a bow tie can look really good on a wedding guest.

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What shirts go with bow ties?
Want to be that little bit extra handsome at the office, or at a dinner or party? Then wear a bow tie and shirt. It's an easy way to spruce up your outfit without it becoming too formal.

Bow ties work with most types of shirts, no matter their collar. So whatever shirt you already have in your wardrobe at home, you can use it with a bow tie. The shirt can be tucked in, but will also look good untucked. Combining it with an untucked shirt is the most casual way to wear a bow tie. If you’re wearing a jacket or suit, you should preferably tuck your shirt in before combining it with a bow tie.

It doesn’t matter if your shirt’s collar is regular, cutaway, button down, or club collar, as bow ties look good with all shirt collars.

Bow ties at funerals?
No. You should always wear regular ties at funerals.

What type of bow tie?
Pre-tied or self-tie? That's really just down to taste. If you find tying a bow tie difficult and don’t have time to learn right now, go for a pre-tied one. These days, pre-tied bow ties are much more common than self-tie ones, and 8 out of 10 bow ties we sell are pre-tied. The difference between a pre-tied and an un-tied one is that the latter is never completely symmetrical after it’s tied. This asymmetry shows that it’s self-tied, so gives a certain extra charm and a slightly higher degree of style. So if you already know how to tie a bow tie, why not go ahead and order an exclusive-looking self-tie bow tie?

How do you tie a bow tie?

Fortunately, there’s only one way to tie a bow tie.

Narrow bow ties: Narrow bow ties are suitable for all occasions when you want to wear a bow tie, and whether you go for a narrow one or a regular one is just a matter of personal taste.

Diamond bow ties: Diamond bow ties are suitable for all occasions when you want to wear a bow tie, and whether you go for a diamond one (sometimes also known as a pointed bow tie) or a regular one is a matter of taste. You’ll definitely get more positive comments with a bow tie of the diamond variety as it stands out more, and in a good way.

Knitted bow tie: Knitted bow ties are really nice and something one sees far too few of. If you’re leaning towards this type of bow tie, don’t hesitate. They look good at all the events you’d wear a regular bow tie tot, they just look a little cooler.

What colour should my bow tie be, and what pattern should it have?
Keep in mind that your bow tie shouldn’t be the same colour as your shirt. It just wouldn’t be visible. Apart from a black silk bow tie for black tie and a white cotton bow tie for white tie, there are no rules on the colour or pattern of your bow tie. The only limit is your imagination. The stronger the colour and pattern of your bow tie, the more daring the look. If you want to play it safe, wear a slightly more discreet colour and pattern. It's always nice to have a bow tie that’s the same colour as your jacket or suit, but you can also use your bow tie to bring a splash of colour to your outfit.

What fabric should my bow tie be made from?
For black tie, it should be silk. For white tie, cotton. If you’re going to a prom and want to match your bow tie to your date’s dress, silk is preferable, as the material has a lovely shine that goes well with shimmering dresses. Apart from that, there are no rules. In summer, cotton and linen are a good option. In autumn and winter, wool looks especially good. Silk and polyester work all year round.

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We have a wide range of bow ties in every conceivable fabric, texture and color. From formal solid colored bow ties, to colorful floral patterns and Christmas bow ties. We simply have a bow tie for every occasion.

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