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How to Tie a Bow Tie Step by Step

Knowing the skill of tying a bow tie puts you in a circle of few gentlemen.

Marcus Cagleby Marcus Cagle

Bow ties are often reserved for special occasions. It is probably not the attire you wear to the office on a daily basis or even out to dinner on a weekly basis. For this reason, it is not uncommon for the proper technique to slip your mind when the situation does arise. Here are the steps you will want to follow on how to tie a bow tie and look fashionable.

How to Tie a Bow Tie Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Begin by draping the bow tie around your neck as you would a regular tie.

(Make sure that one end of the tie is hanging lower than the opposite by at least a few inches. The longer of the two ends should be on your right hand side.)

Step 2: Cross the longer end over the shorter end so that an X shape is across the front. 

Step 3: Reach into the top of the X to bring the longer end of the silk below the shorter end. (The longer end is now looping around the shorter end and sticking up towards your face through the center. The shorter end is still straight but being pulled at angle.)

Step 4: While still maintaining the loop of the longer end, fold the shorter end of the bow tie in a horizontal fashion.

(You will be able to see a silhouette of a bow tie shape at this point by folding the shorter end.)

Step 5: Take the tail of the longer end and place it over the center of the shorter end.

(The center will be noted by the inward curving of the silk.)

Step 6: Fold the longer end of the bow tie in the same horizontal fashion that you did with the shorter end in step 4.

(Again, you will see the shape of a bow tie.)

Step 7: Insert the length of the long end of the tie through the loop at the back of the short end.

(When you pull gently on both ends, the knot will tighten.) 

Step 8: Straighten and adjust the loops to perfect the look of the bow tie to your liking.

Step 9: Finally, be sure to admire your bow tie in the mirror and wear it with confidence to whatever occasion called for such a sophisticated accessory.

How to Tie a Bow Tie Video

Here is a video to help you visualize the step by step process on tying a bow tie.

Video: How Cast

Related: KorBata Ties: Break Away From The Mundane

How to Choose a Bow Tie

When choosing a bow tie, there are a few things you should take into consideration:

-First, focus on balance. If you are wearing a loud shirt, opt for a solid colored bow tie. If you are wearing a more muted outfit, you can certainly jazz it up with a patterned or colorful tie. 

-Next, consider the fabric. For formal occasions, silk and wool bow ties are ideal. If you are wearing a bow tie for a more casual event, opt for cotton or linen. While the difference is subtle, the trained eye will be able to spot the difference.

When to Wear a Bow Tie

You should know when it is appropriate and inappropriate to wear a bow tie. Bow ties are often viewed as uplifting and energetic but can also be seen in a formal light (as with a tuxedo). While this makes them ideal for parties, modern offices, and even Sunday brunch, they could be construed as disrespectful to wear a bow tie to a funeral or other somber event.

Knowing the skill of tying a bow tie puts you in a circle of few gentlemen. The art has been lost in the last several decades, making the pre-tied versions more popular. However, the classiness of a freshly tied bow cannot be matched.

Photo: lofilolo/Getty Images.