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Groom Guide July 27th, 2023

How to Tie a Bow Tie

Groom Guide July 27th, 2023

Step-by-step Guide to Tying a Bow Tie

Not everyone knows how to tie a bow tie, but it’s an essential skill if ever you plan to wear a tuxedo or suit. Wearing a bow tie can really help you stand out from the crowd — a must on your wedding day. It’s also necessary if you want your overall ensemble to look and feel complete.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is going with a clip-on or pre-tied bow tie. These may be easy solutions, but they often look cheap and almost too perfect. Both of these things can take away from the overall stylishness and elegance of your outfit.

If you’ve never tied a bow tie before, it may seem kind of complicated. However, it’s a skill you’ll be glad to have whenever the occasion to dress up for a formal or semi-formal event arises.

Bow Tie Tutorial

Before you begin, remember this: Not every bow tie is going to look perfect. And that’s okay — oftentimes, the lack of perfection is what makes you look more stylish.

Along with that, the first few times you try tying your own bow tie may not turn out right. Don’t give up, though. It takes a little bit of practice, but you’ll get there.

With that in mind, here are the steps on how to tie a bow tie.

  1. Drape the bow tie around your neck. Pull one side so that it’s about 1.5 inches longer than the other.
  2. Cross the longer end over the shorter side. Hold it in place with your fingers to keep it in place.
  3. Pull the longer end up and over the shorter end to create a loose knot.
  4. Pull both ends so it tightens around your neck.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start making the bow.

To do this, hook your index finger around the shorter end of the tie and fold it over to form the front side of the bow. The fold should be between the points of your collar. Hold it in place between the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand.

While holding the bow, take the longer end and drape it over the middle of the shorter end. Again, hold it together with your fingers.

Next, fold the longer end of the bow and pass it through the loop of the shorter end. You may need to pinch it with your middle and ring fingers so it doesn’t come apart. Don’t pull it too tightly or all the way through just yet.

Once that’s done, take your index finger and slide it through the hole that you’ve just created. Turn your free hand and grab the long end with your thumb in front. Then, push the end of the tie through the hole with your thumb.

Finally, pull the two folded ends together to tighten up the knot. Feel free to make any small adjustments you need to achieve the look you’re going for. If you want the bow tie to be looser, pull it from the front right and back left. If you want it tighter, pull it from the back right and front left.

At this point, you might take a look at the knot and feel disappointed at the result. That’s to be expected, especially if this is your first attempt. Just undo the tie you’ve got and start again.

Tips on Wearing a Bow Tie

Here are a few final tips on wearing a bow tie:

  • Always wear one with a tuxedo. If you don’t, your outfit will look and feel incomplete or even sloppy.
  • Dress down by pairing a bow tie with suspenders and a button-down dress shirt and pants.
  • Spice things up with a splash of color or light pattern. Don’t do this if you’re attending a black-tie or white-tie event, though.
  • Match the bow tie to other accessories, like the pocket square or cufflinks.
  • Choose the right size. The bow tie should be roughly the same width as your face.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re wearing a tuxedo or a suit, a bow tie should be part of your ensemble. It’s the perfect accessory for everything from black-tie to semi-formal occasions. Plus, it even looks great with more casual wear.

If you never had to wear — or tie — a bow tie before, it can seem complicated or even frustrating at first. Still, it’s worth the time investment to learn how to do it right. Not only will you stand out in all the right ways, but you’ll also look every bit the refined, sophisticated gentlemen you are.

This Article is part of the Tutorials Series.

He Spoke Style

Over the past 10 years, He Spoke Style has established itself as the leading online destination for premium original men’s style content. Blending information and inspiration, He Spoke Style provides practical style advice, outfit ideas, product reviews, and trend analysis for regular guys interested in menswear. Known for their relatable and distinctly unpretentious voice and approach, Founder Brian Sacawa and his team of writers have become influential in the contemporary menswear conversation, having been quoted and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Esquire, GQ, The Robb Report,, Playboy, The Rake, and The Huffington Post.

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