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Share to PinterestHow to Tie a Bow Tie
Share to PinterestHow to Tie a Bow Tie

Whether people are wearing them seriously or ironically, bow ties are making a come-back. Gone are the days where they were only associated with academics. If you're looking to channel your inner Bill Nye and rock a bow tie, you'll need to learn how to tie one. Unfortunately trial and error can be stressful. Follow these step-by-step instructions and wait for the compliments to come pouring in. That's a way better solution compared to giving yourself hand cramps from many failed attempts.  


The Un-tied Bow Tie

Measuring 3" to 3.5" the large "Butterfly" bow tie is for the larger face/neck individual or someone purposefully looking to draw attention. The "Batwing" bow tie goes the other way with a height of roughly 1.5" to 2". It's slicker and will still draw attention to the wearer. We recommend starting with these bow ties and sizing up from there.

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First Thing's First

The overall technique is similar to tying your shoes. The first and most important thing to remember is that once the tie is around your collar the side that you will start with should be a bit longer once it is passed beneath the other side of your tie. Roughly an inch or so.

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Beginning to Tie

The following chart shows exactly what you need to do in order to tie the perfect bow tie. Please notice that in this photo, the part of the bow tie that crosses over the other piece comes from the left side. We will call the piece that is the first to fold piece A and the part that is last to fold piece B.

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Next Steps

After piece A crosses over, tuck it underneath the piece that hasn't moved. Leave piece A "up" for now.

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Forming the Bow

Now it's time to form the "bow" shape of the bow tie. Zigzag piece B to naturally form the bulk of the tie. The ends of the ribbon should already have the basic shape.

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Finishing the Bow

Then take piece A and bring it up and over the bow that we've just made. Tuck the inner bow end in and pull it through to the back of the final bow.

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Final Adjustments

Finally, make some final tugs and small adjustments until the bow looks even and matches your desired shape. The bow tie will really come together with this last step. You'll be surprised by the before and after of what seems like only a couple moments of fussing.

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Styling your Bow Ties

Now that you know how to tie bow ties, you need to learn how to style them. The rule of thumb for fashion is only one piece of clothing should stand out. That means you can pair an exciting tie with a plain shirt or a plain tie with an exciting shirt. However, no one says you can't break the rules and have fun mixing patterns.

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Knowing the History of the Bow Tie

One of the benefits of wearing a bow tie is having a great ice-breaker for parties, right there on your neck! Impress others by knowing the humble history of the noble tie. The bow tie has a fascinating backstory dating back to the Thirty Years' War. It began with Croatians and was elevated with a little help from the French. Croat mercenaries would wear a scarf around their neck in a certain way to help keep their shirts closed. This was adopted for fashion in France in the 18th and 19th century. Eventually, these scarves evolved into the bow tie through different tying techniques.

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Why Choose a Traditional Bow Tie over a Clip-On Bow Tie?

There is something stylish and unique about a self-tied bow tie. Pre-tied bow ties are too perfect and too commercial. Tying a tie from scratch is classy and incredibly satisfying. Not to mention traditional bow ties come in the widest array of colors, patterns, and materials.

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