Posted on January 23 2019
First, this is not a post about how to tie a bow tie. We gave you a link to a great how-to guide on tie knots in a previous post. That said, bow ties are perhaps the most complex of all men’s neckwear. Even if you know all about the knots, you still might not know everything about how to wear a bow tie.
How to Rock a Bow Tie Without Looking Like You’re Trying
For some men bow ties are the only ties they’ll ever wear. Others don them only on rare occasions as a conversation piece. But in all cases, how you wear them is as crucial as their colour, texture or style. Without further ado, here are a few tips for wearing a bow tie like a boss.
Tie Your Own Tie - This is rule number one for a couple of big reasons. First, clip-on or otherwise pre-tied bow ties can be spotted a mile away by anyone in the know. And even if there are only one or two of those at any particular gathering, it’ll be shame on you. When you wear a bow tie, you need to own it. And that won’t happen until you man-up and learn how to tie one properly. If the link above didn’t work for you, try this video.
The Dress Shirt/Tie Balance - Here’s the general rule. If you have a plain shirt, use a bold tie (polka dots, anyone?!). If you have a bold shirt, wear a plain tie. While mixing textures and patterns has been popular recently, that doesn’t always make it right. doing so with your shirt and bow tie can ruin the effect of both.
- Put Your Personality Into It - Of course, you need to choose the right style, colour and pattern for the tie to reflect your personality. Then maybe a complementary pocket square. But you can most express your own ‘je ne sais pas’ by not seeking perfection. In fact, true bow tie aficionados say you should strive for just the right imperfection. The Italians call it “sprezzatura”.
- Black Tie and White Tie Events - As formal occasions go, white tie events, like state dinners, formal balls, and evening nuptials, are the most formal. Black tie events, like the opera, business or political social events and the casino in Monte Carlo, are somewhat less formal.