Bow Tie Design Tips – How to Wear a Bow Tie

Here are a few design tips on how to wear a bow tie and how to choose the correct tie for the occasion. Most people are unaware of the vast range of different bow tie designs and styles, or of when it is most appropriate to wear each of them. People wear such ties for many reasons, not just because they don’t fall into the soup or prevent others from strangling you with them.

They look smart and unless many professionals are not wearing a black tie they tend not to engender they respect of their peers or of others. Magicians, for example, are generally associated with bows, as frequently are doctors (they are more practical than normal neck ties), solicitors and politicians. Although the choice of style is very much a personal one, there are some rules that are best to be observed, particularly for formal occasions and when you are wearing your tie in your profession.

Weddings, proms, black and white events and other formal occasions all demand a bow tie to be worn, and the term ‘black’ or ‘white’ tie is synonymous with a bow. But which should you wear, and does the shape of your tie really make much of a difference? In fact, no, although for formal affairs the tie should be of the correct size, and not too large or small. Your collar size and the type of collar you are wearing, with both have an impact on how the tie looks on you.

Some people who have no idea how to wear this type of tie sometimes look a bit strange, particularly if the bow is not tied correctly or the tie has been wrongly sized. Larger and smaller ties can be worn less formally, but when correctly worn, one of the bow tie design tips you must accept is that the width of the bow should be approximately the same as that of your collar – perhaps slightly less. Too small and your neck will look larger than it really is, and too large will make you look like a clown. That’s fine if you are being a clown, but not if you are a bridegroom or a senator.

The two major tie designs are the butterfly, or thistle, and bat-wing ties. The latter has straight sides while the former is curved, looking much like a butterfly when tied, and the two ends having the outline of a thistle before being tied. The bat-wing is the bow tie design that most people wear with a tuxedo, while less formal bow ties, including most of the novelties, are more of the butterfly shape. The butterfly tie appears larger than the bat-wing, particularly larger than the slim-line bow that many also wear.

The slim-line is a narrow 1.5 inch version of the straight or bat-wing bow, and many with smaller necks wear it since the standard 2.5 inch tie could make them look even smaller. The slimmer version also frequently looks more elegant with a standard shaped collar, with the standard size fitting better with a winged collar. The larger-looking butterfly also looks good with the winged collar and cut-away collar, but at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter: You can wear a bow tie any way you want, and of all the bow tie design tips you can get, the best is to wear it as you feel most comfortable.

Another common design is the diamond tip, with pointed ends. This has to be tied very carefully or it will appear to have one straight end and one diamond end. That’s fine if you don’t want the symmetrical look, but it can sometimes look not quite right. Again, however, you are not forced to obey the rules, but in breaking them you should make sure that the event is not too formal. You will want to look good for a job interview, for example, or when talking to an important client. However, not everybody wears the bow tie in the traditional way – some don’t even tie it!

Some trendies are now wearing this style of tie hanging round the neck – untied, with open collar and jacket. It was worn this way by Daniel Craig in the promo poster for Casino Royale, and seems to be catching on. Not traditional, certainly, but another take on how to wear a bow tie!