How to Wear a Bow Tie

how to wear a bow tie with a suit

Bow ties are one of those wardrobe essentials that’s blessed to ameliorate the wearer’s looks effortlessly. One must not forget if a bow tie can pep up their looks; if not worn the right way, they can be disastrous. However, our readers don’t have to panic. In this article, we reveal to you how to wear a bow tie with perfection. Moreover, we’ll also discuss how to tie a bow tie and some tips for wearing them.

Bow ties can be worn in almost any setting, be it formal, semi-formal, or casual. And, honestly, they look appealing and classy. But, before we learn about wearing bow ties, let’s explore more about their anatomy, available designs, and everything else concerning them. So, keep reading and learn to style bow ties like a true gentleman.

Anatomy of a Bow Tie

If you’re buying a bow tie for the first time, knowing its anatomy will help you understand a lot of things. If you are a bow tie fanatic, knowing the anatomy of a bow tie will help you make better decisions. So, let’s dive in to explore the major parts of a bow tie, namely, the Spread, Leaf, Neck, and Strap.


The spread of the bow tie is responsible for the width of its knot. The wider the spread, the wider the final knot gets.


The Leaf of the bow tie is half the size of its spread, and the Leaf begins where the spread ends.


The neck of the bow tie is located between the spread and the Leaf. Ideally, the neck is almost half the spread of the Leaf. The neck is a significant part of the bow tie. The neck’s width works as a deciding factor for the shape and size of the bow ties’ knot.


In a majority of bow ties, their strap measures approximately three-fourths the size of the neck. The wider neck-straps will give the wearer a wide knot.

How to tie a Bow Tie?

If you’re new to bow ties or don’t know how to tie a bow tie, this section is for you. Let’s learn how to tie a bow tie the right way.

Step 1

Put the bow tie on your neck with both its ends hanging towards your chest. Ideally, the right end will sit on your chest, and the left one will go further down by approximately three inches.

Step 2

Now, take the left end, aka the longer end, and flip it over the other end, the shorter one.

Be mindful about flipping, as you’ll need to do it over the tie’s Leaf. Once you’ve flipped it, you need to pull the long end from the neck loop on the inside. Finally, you can put the longer end on your shoulder to create room for yourself and avoid confusion.

Step 3

Now, this is where it begins to get slightly complicated but, don’t freak out. We will guide you through. Now, take the short end of your bow tie, place it horizontally on your neck, just like how the bow tie should look.

Step 4

Now, in the fourth step, you’ll need to pick the longer end resting on your shoulder. Take its strap, make a fold over the turn you made earlier. Be careful; the fold should be in the center of your tie.

Step 5

Now, you’re getting closer so, don’t give up. This time again, we’ll use the longer end. So, pick the hanging end, fold it into two sides and pinch them together. Yes, that’s all you need to do in the fifth step. However, be careful while making the fold, as you’ll need to leave a margin of about two inches at the end.

Step 6

Now, you’ll need to place your finger inside the loop created at the bow tie’s top as it’ll create some space for the other end of the tie. Take the end you have pinched together and slide it inside the loop. Be careful, don’t let the fabric crumble or twist.

Step 7

Yess! You’re getting there. Now, insert the pinched or the longer end further inside. Ensure that it is even on both sides. Now, you’ll notice your bow tie has folds and a tip on both its ends.

Step 8

Check out your tie in a mirror; if satisfied with its placing, you will need to pull the folded ends. Upon pulling these ends, the knot of your tie will get fastened up. And, you did it; you have successfully tied your bow tie.

What’s the Difference between Self-tied, Pre-tied, and Clip-on Bow Ties?

The markets today offer a wide range of bow ties, and each of them carries wildly diverse price tags. You can choose from a self-tied, pre-tied, and clip-on bow tie. Each of these ties doesn’t just have different prices; they also offer different looks and fitting. So, let’s find the differences between self-tied, pre-tied, and clip-on bow ties.

Self-tied Bow Ties AKA Freestyle Bow Ties

As the name indicates, freestyle or self-tied bow ties require the wearer to tie them manually. The self-tied bow ties may not be symmetrical on both sides, like clip-on or pre-tied bow ties. The best part about self-tied bow ties is, you can tie them by yourself. Trust us, tying a bow tie by yourself gives a whole new level of satisfaction. The style statement of the freestyle bow ties lies in their imperfect lines and asymmetrical ends.

Pre-tied Bow Ties

As you must have guessed, the pre-tied bow ties protect you from the pain of learning how to tie a bow tie. Pre-tied bow ties are attached with a strap that the wearer needs to tie under their shirt’s collar. Nonetheless, pre-tied bow ties look neat, stylish, and classy, and they can be tied rather quickly. If you want your bow tie to be perfectly symmetrical, you can pick one from the diverse range of pre-tied bow ties.

Clip-on Bow Ties

Out of all of them, a clip-on bow tie is the easiest one to wear and style. When it comes to clip-on bow ties, neither do you need to tie them, nor do you need to fasten a strap. Yes, all you need to do is, place that clip on your collar, and you’re done. However, the downside of clip-on bow ties is, their metal clasp holds the tie way too closely on your neck. Thus, clip-on bow ties often make the wearer look choked.

Types of Fastening

Bow ties come with various types of fastening; let’s find out more about them all. This section will help you decide which type of fastening would be best for you.

1. Neck Strap

The neck straps are common for pre-tied bow ties, and they sit on the shirt’s collar. They become invisible when the collar is folded. For easy adjustment and better fit, a majority of neck-straps are equipped with metal adjusters.

2. Hook & Clasp Fastening

A majority of bow ties are equipped with a hook and clasp fastening. Moreover, it is also amongst one of the simplest fastening options available. In a hook and clasp fastening, one end of the tie has the hook while the other end has the clasp.

3. Ladder Fastening

The ladder fastening eliminates the clasp and, instead, they have a series of slits in which you place the hook. Each slit is strategically placed to ensure the bow tie fits all sizes with ease.

4. Self-Tie Adjustments

Self-Tie adjustment is a fastening that’s done when you begin tying your freestyle bow tie. These ties may also use a slider or slits for comfortable fitting.

5. Clip-on

Clip-on bow tie fastenings are found in the clip-on bow ties. To put ties with clip-on fastening, you need to place them in the center of your collar and then clip them.

The Best Fabrics for Bow Ties

Today, the markets are flooded with bow ties of all sorts of fabrics. And, as you know, not all of them can make the best bow ties in town. So, keep reading to find out the best fabrics for bow ties.

1. Cotton

If you’re to wear the bow tie in scorching summers, your best options are cotton bow ties. Not just that, cotton bow ties offer a wide range of designs to choose from, and they look pleasant.

2. Silk

Silk is yet another popular fabric chosen by bow tie enthusiasts across the world. The fabric is sleek, and some of the finest bow ties are made using Italian silk.

3. Polyester

Polyester bow-ties are pocket-friendly but, unlike silk or cotton bow ties, these are slightly rough. However, if the finest quality polyester is used, the bow tie may also match the quality of silk or cotton bow ties.

4. Velvet

Velvet bow ties are often pre-tied, and you may not see them featuring prints. Velvet bow ties are soft and, generally, they’re available in solid colors.

5. Other

Some of the other fabrics used to make bow ties are wool, acrylic, and mixed fibers. You may find these ties in various prints, and they are usually cheaper than silk ones.

Popular Bow Tie Shapes

1. The Butterfly Bow Tie

The butterfly bow ties resonate with the shape of a butterfly, hence the name. Out of all shapes, butterfly bow ties are the most popular ones. Thanks to their shape, butterfly bow ties look classic and eye-catching.

2. The Diamond-Point Bow Tie

The diamond-point bow ties are also known as pointed-tip bow ties. These bow ties are quite similar to the butterfly bow ties. The only difference between the two is that the diamond ones have pointed ends.

3. The Batwing Bow Tie

Sometimes referred to as straight-end bow ties, the batwing bow ties are one of the smallest ones. The batwing bow ties have flat ends that also look like a rectangle, and they also look symmetrical.

4. The Contoured Batwing Bow Tie

The contoured batwing bow ties tend to have a smaller contour, and they offer classy looks.

5. The Pointed Batwing Bow Tie

The pointed batwing bow ties carry the same flat ends; however, they have pointed edges.

How to Wear Different Color Bow Ties with Formal Attires

Formal attire is one of those attires where the man must look presentable, professional, and dapper. The best colors of formal bow ties are black and white.

Black Bow Ties

One of the best formal attire for men is a tuxedo. If you plan to wear one with a bow tie, let us tell you, you’ll grab all the eyeballs. Secondly, you can also adorn black bow ties with formal suits and pants.

White Bow Ties

White bow ties are the mother of formal ties, and they look class-apart when styled right. You can adorn a white bow tie with suits or tuxedos for elegant formal looks.

How to Wear Different Color Bow Ties with Semi-Formal Attires

A semi-formal attire doesn’t require the man to follow all conventional dressing rules, but some can’t be ignored. Interestingly, you can wear a wide range of colorful bow ties with your favorite semi-formal attires.


Blue is the most sought shade by men after black and white. Semi-formal blue bow ties may also feature some interesting designs. You can adorn one of them with a matching shirt paired with a well-tailored suit.


Green is one of the go-to shades for men across age groups. Semi-formal green bow ties look bright and stylish. You can wear them in a suit and on a shirt and pants as well.

How to Wear Different Color Bow Ties with Casual Attires

Casual attires allow men to experiment with their style and create stunning new looks. You can wear just about any color bow ties with casual attires. Moreover, you can also go with unique prints.


The bright red goes very well with casual attires and, it’ll work wonders if the tie features eye-catching prints. You can wear it with jeans and a shirt.


Casual attires are fun and stylish. Pair your favorite casual attire with a multicolor bow tie for unmatched funky looks.

Tips for Wearing Bow Tie

  • Freestyle bow ties look the absolute best; learn to tie them for the best looks.
  • Don’t settle for bow ties made of poor-quality fabrics. For important functions, choose from silk and velvet bow ties.
  • Match them with perfection to avoid getting a good laugh.

Bow ties are amongst some of the most popular ties, and they are made of various fabrics.

If you know how to wear a bow tie the right way, you will eventually have everyone’s attention in the room.

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Bruno Lee

Bruno is a senior editor at LooksGud. He is a fashion observer and devotee who is always curious to know what’s trending in the field. He loves trekking, playing cricket, and fantasy movies. He loves to write about practical, budget-friendly fashion and simple hacks…. want to join the fun?