The Definitive Bow Tie Style Guide Part 1 January 20 2014

by Tanya Huang

Welcome to the Definitive Bow Tie Style Guide.


First a quick self introduction to gain your trust in me on this guide! My name is Tanya Huang. My label Knot Theory is a bow tie & necktie design house followed by loyal fans from 25 countries, and is recently endorsed by GQ magazine. As a bow tie designer and as a woman who reflexively checks each guy out from head to toe and instantly notices everything about his attire (make, quality, style), especially his bow tie, I'd like to offer you a complete and useful bow tie style guide. My goal is for you to look and be your most confident, charismatic self!


The guide comes in 3 parts: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced. Please feel free to scroll past what you already know.




First, master your bow tie skill.

I'm talking about the self-tying bow ties (ironically, it's the type that does not tie itself :)). The pre-tied bow ties are not as frowned upon as they used to be, however, James Bond will always go for the self-tying variant. Once you've tied a bow tie yourself, you'll know what I mean. You'll be spotting pre-tied bow ties from a mile a way.


Tying a bow tie is not hard at all. It helps to remember tying a bow tie is just like tying shoe laces. If at first you don’t succeed...try 9 more times. I see people tying a bow tie for the first time transform into total pros after about 10 tries!

Side Effect Warning: Total smugness after achieving pro status.


Here are two video tutorials to get you started! One is by me, the other one is by Alex Krasny, who has a substantial necktie fan following on Youtube. He learned to tie a bow tie for the first time in order to make this video for his fans.




Go for character, not perfection.

I like to think of a bow tie as a very charming man. He is witty, whimsical, and a bit eccentric. He has a few bad habits such as smoking too many cigars, but his joie de vivre makes him memorable and captivating.


So when you tie a bow tie, you are creating character, not perfection! You are encouraged to introduce a little asymmetry, tousle the wings, and make the bow tie come alive. 


Videos are great, but a quick pic is super handy:


Your simple 6-step bow tie cheat sheet

Second, put on a great shirt

The shirt you wear sets the backdrop for your bow tie, so it’s important to put on a great shirt. Pave this road and compliments will drive in. 


Go for the perfect fit

No matter what size you are, wear a shirt that fits to your form; it is the most flattering.


If you are not of standard sizing, don’t worry you are not alone. Get custom shirts made. They’ll be worth every penny. (Besides, they start at $40 these days.)


Tuck it in!

Tuck your shirt in when wearing a bow tie. There can be exceptions to the rule, such as when you wear very slim-fitted shirts or do a casual take on the bow ties, but 9 out of 10 times this rule holds.


The right collars

Look for collars that are not spread too wide. See next slide for some illustrated examples.


Collars for Bow Ties

It’s really simple: pick a collar that is not too spread out. 
Here are some of the good ones to wear bow ties with: spread, semi-spread, forward-point (or straight-point), and button-down.

That's it for the basics on how to rock a bow tie! Warm up for the next level when you are ready:

Be sure to check out our newest Kickstarter bow tie project and get the specials on our new bow ties!
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