How to tie a bow tie in 8 simple steps — and the five different shapes you can make

Business Insider US
Brooks Brothers makes high-quality bow ties like the one pictured above.
Brooks Brothers
  • Tying a bow tie, while trickier than tying a necktie, is not as difficult as you think.
  • Even though most people don't wear bow ties every day, it's worth learning how to do it.
  • We break down how to tie a bow tie in eight easy steps.
  • You can also check about a bunch of great bow ties at The Tie Bar and Brooks Brothers.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

The bow tie was first worn by Croatian mercenaries during the 17th century, where men tied scarves around their necks to hold the openings of their shirts together. This neat tailoring trick was adopted by fashionable French aristocrats (who called it a cravat), and the bow tie quickly gained popularity in 18th and 19th century France.

The style eventually spread across Europe and evolved into a symbol of power and luxury, but soon after the turn of the 20th century, it also became popular among men in academic and scientific fields.

Nowadays the bow tie often signifies an elevated style, is usually associated with a black tie dress code, and worn to formal events like weddings or awards ceremonies. But you might also see a bow tie on your college professor, a quirky partner at your law firm, or even as a part of your barista's daily uniform.

In modern times, a bow tie is most often worn to add an element of your personal style to a look, and it's becoming more commonplace to see bow ties worn with casual attire.

Here are 5 popular bow tie shapes:

  • The Butterfly (also known as the thistle): This is the classic bow tie (think Cary Grant/James Bond in a tux).
  • The Big Butterfly: Just as it sounds; slightly bigger and a bit more relaxed.
  • The Batwing: The smallest option, also known as a straight or a slim bow tie, and considered less formal than the Butterfly.
  • The Diamond Point: This style features pointed ends, thanks to an asymmetrical knot.
  • The Rounded Club: Arguably the rarest style, the Rounded Club has an informal, casual look.

Modern bow ties are available in all sorts of fabrics and patterns. Of course, classic black silk or wool styles are the most popular for formal occasions, but plenty of people will opt for a pop of color or pattern, just for fun or to match their partner's outfit.

A skinny seersucker or linen bow tie is a good bet for a more casual event or a workday. But no matter where or how you choose to wear yours, a bow tie will add an extra element of style and sophistication to your look.

Now, don't you want to learn how to tie one of these things?

We researched all the recommended ways to tie a bow tie, and found that this simple 8-step process is the best method for tying a classic bow tie.

Here's how to tie a bow tie in eight simple steps

  1. Hang the bow tie flat around your neck with the right side about 2 inches longer than the left.
  2. Cross the longer end over the shorter end, and bring the long side up behind and through the short side, tying a loose knot.
  3. Fold the short side into a bow tie shape by pulling and folding it over itself, then pinching it to your neck. The center of the bow shape should be between your collar points and in the center of your neck.
  4. Pull the long side over and in front of the shorter end which is shaped like a bow.
  5. Now, fold the longer end into the shape of a bow.
  6. Push the long end through the loop which is behind the shorter end.
  7. Pull both ends to tighten the knot.
  8. Adjust your tie and admire your work!

Remember, practice makes perfect. You can also check out this short video from the experts at the Tie Bar to walk you through the steps.

Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo