Bow Tie 101

Posted by in bow ties

The bow tie has been around as far back as at least the 17th Century and remains to be an iconic symbol of elegance, sophistication, character and even quirkiness. For some this is an accessory easily incorporated into their wardrobe, but for others this is an intimidating little guy. Here is a little background on the bow-tie, the variations in which it can be purchased as well as when to wear this adorably classic accoutrement.


A Little History…

The bow tie is a type of traditional necktie. A modern bow tie is tied using the same bow and knots you would use to tie your shoes, which is also called the “bow knot” for that reason. It consists of a ribbon of fabric tied around a shirt collar in a symmetrical fashion.

There are generally three types of bow ties: the pre-tied, the clip on, and the self-tie. At Rootbizzle we offer both the pre-tied and self-tied varieties. Pre-tied bow ties are ties in which the distinctive bow is sewn onto a band that goes around the neck and easily clips underneath the back of the collar. Some “clip-ons” dispense with the band altogether, instead clipping straight to the collar. The traditional bow tie, consisting of a strip of cloth, which is tied by hand.


When to knot up…

Rarely can you go wrong with a bow-tie as long as you have chosen the right one for your outfit, which must always be appropriate for the occasion. Once your ensemble is well suited for your event it is important that you have tied your tie well, and you wear it with ease and nonchalance. As you learn to tie your bow tie, know this: the “perfect knot” is slightly lopsided, asymmetrical, and perfect in virtue of its imperfections.  


Formal Attire

Weddings apart, one of the most common places to see a bow-tie in action is a formal engagement. The rare black-tie invitation screams for the opportunity to rock that bow tie. This dress code is great because there is no reading between the lines. It reads: dinner jacket (tuxedo) and a black bow tie, preferably in silk. Wearing a self-tie bow tie to these is best, and most elegant. This allows for the bow to have more character and movement in the natural way it has has been knotted together. This is not the time to experiment with colors, black tie means black tie. If plain black is really not you taste or not something you own you can wear tonals or textured black in a dressy fabric. Do not go crazy on this leaway..think classic, think bond.

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Semi-Formal Attire

How many times has this one thrown you for a loop?

On a positive note any affair including semi-formal is a wonderful occasion to add a bow-tie into the mix. When it comes to semi formal it is better, we think, to lean towards formal and less towards semi. Yes this is a chance to have fun with you bow tie styles, materials, and textures and color; but your aim is to remain within with a dress code, so do resist the getting too carried away. A simple clean suit and fun printed or colored bow tie with allow for you to be appropriately dressed with character and a unique flare.

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Casual Attire

“Casual” dress code means there is no dress code! Here is here the real fun begins. If you are going for that preppy/ quirky look you may want to add supporting accessories like suspenders, printed socks, and bright shoelaces with your bowtie. There is one general rule of thumb when pairing your bow and shirt- the bolder the tie, the milder the shirt — and vice versa. A loud bow tie peps-up a muted outfit, and a simpler bow tie complements without confusing braver shirts and suits. Keep fabric in mind when determining which bow tie to wear. Your cotton, linen, and seersucker bow ties will be most appropriate at events that skew toward the casual side, You can save the silks for those more formal events.

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Choosing your ensemble is only half the battle. The best thing you can wear with your bow tie is confidence. You need to take ownership of you bow-tie and wear it in an effortless assertive way.