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Men's Style Blog

All You Need to Know About Bow Ties

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Section: Neckties, Bowties, and Pocket Squares - Blog

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From pre-tied to clip-on, silk to cotton, the world of bow ties is no easy place to navigate. In fact, it’s only when you have to choose one that you realize the myriad of types, shapes, and fabrics that are out there. It's not quite as simple as walking into the men’s department and asking for a James Bond style. So before you hit the shops with your 007 requests, here are a few pointers to make sure you walk in there sounding like a bow tie expert.

The types




As the name suggests this bow tie is tied and ready for action. You can pull this on in a matter of seconds, and it comes with an adjustable neck strap to fit all sizes.



Just like the pre-tied this bow tie is good to go but the advantage it holds over its counterpart is that it has a more natural knot so you may be able to fool your peers into thinking that you actually tied it yourself.



This is the one for pageboys. A grown man should never be seen in one of these as they look far too much like something your mother clipped on for you that morning.



The classic bow tie for true neckwear aficionados. If you can manage the tricky art of knotting a bow tie, then there’s no substitute for this.


The fabrics



This fabric is often used by novelty tie manufacturers as it’s rather easy to print patterns and designs on. But why anyone would wear something novelty related in such a prominent position around their neck is something we’d rather not dwell on.


The majority of bow ties are made of silk and with good reason. It’s a light and elegant fabric that is ideal for neckwear. This is the only fabric we recommend for formal bow ties.


If you’re after a cheap bow tie that feels and looks like silk then Polyester it is. But while they may look and feel the same, there’s something about man-made fabrics that makes a tie feel less genuine to us. Call us fickle because we are.


For those school formals of the 80s the velvet bow tie may have been a must have, but these days velvet ties are few and far between. Difficult to clean and to tie, they aren’t really worth shouting about.


The shapes




Also known as the thistle, the butterfly is the standard style that you will find on many a mannequin around the world. It’s a universal style in that it suits the majority of face shapes and works well for any occasion. Whether it’s formal or casual, if you’re venturing into the world of bow ties then this should be your first purchase.

Big Butterfly 


Just like the butterfly only, yes, you guessed it, bigger. These are a little harder to pull off in that they generally dominate a look. They are usually three inches or more in height and are considered perfect for ultra-formal events.



Also called the slim or straight bow tie, this is the smallest of the bunch. These ties are less formal than the butterfly but are still acceptable for formal occasions. The slim style gives the wearer a clean and modern look, but we like it just because it’s fun to say ‘Have you seen my batwing?”

Diamond point 


If you’re after an individual look that hints at your style savviness, then this is the shape for you. The points at either end give the bow tie a perfectly symmetrical shape; that is assuming you’ve tied it right. Suitable for all but not seen at many social events.

Club round 


Another unique style but one to be avoided by those with round faces as the ends may accentuate your features. A great shape of tie that’s not for the shy either as this is one that will definitely get you noticed.


Now you’ve been schooled in the most important terms, get yourself down to the nearest bow tie emporium and demand to see their full range of ties paying particular attention to the batwing just for the hell of it. Watch out for our post in the coming weeks on tying your new bow tie.


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