Men, it’s time to up the ante for an uber-cool look. Besides upgrading your wardrobe, you must accessorise your ensemble appropriately — keeping in mind the occasion and your personality. Among the many accessories that might enhance your casual or formal look is a bow tie.
Bow ties have always been a trendy addition to formal and semi-formal attires. From printed ones in quirky shades to the classic black bow tie, there is one for every occasion. The accessory comes in various materials like silk, linen, cotton, wool, polyester, nylon and velvet — silk being one of the most popular fabrics.
So, before you create your next ensemble, look for the perfect bow tie that would complement your personality. To do so, have a look at the different types of bow ties you should know about and ways to style them.
Different types of bow ties and ways you can style them
Pre-tied bow ties
The most convenient of all types is a pre-tied version or a clip-on bow tie.
Clip-on bow ties are extremely popular, as the average adult might prefer it over the hassles of tying one.
However, when it comes to looking effortlessly classy and neat, it is better to give this type a miss. A pre-tied bow tie is not only less stylish but also easier to spot — as it is super-symmetrical and usually made of fabrics that are slightly shiny.
Self-tie bow ties
A more chic option than its counterpart, self-tie bow ties are worth every bit of hard work that goes into tying them. These come in two variants: adjustable and fixed-length bow ties.
Butterfly bow tie
This one resembles the shape of a butterfly — the knot is comparatively small and the bow looks like a butterfly’s wings, with straight edges.
Pro tip: Don’t go for large sizes. Instead, opt for a medium-sized bow tie that complements your outfit and face shape. For example, someone with a smaller face should choose a smaller, classic shape. Therefore, one must keep in mind the bow tie sizing.
Batwing bow tie
The batwing bow tie is nothing but one with a bigger knot. It is rectangular and gets slimmer around the neckband. This might seem a bit drab to those who like to jazz things up to make a statement. Having said that, batwing bow ties are an appropriate pick for formal occasions.
Diamond point bow tie
This asymmetrical bow tie style has the advantage of looking different every time you adorn it. The bow is tied in a manner that the pointed ends appear at the front and back of the bow tie, facing in opposite directions, once tied.
A diamond bow tie is a good option for daywear. The cherry on top: It flatters almost every face shape.
When should you wear a bow tie?
From weddings, formal gatherings to lunch parties with friends — a bow tie will glam up your look at any occasion. You can also give your bow tie a spin with one of your work outfits. If you love to experiment with new styles, go all out with funky prints (read: floral and polka dots) and bold colours.
For those who prefer to play safe, choose subtle colours and classic patterns. Go for a medium-sized bow tie that can be used even years after its purchase. Investing in classics will also ensure that your accessory will never go out of style.
One of the best ways to pair a bow tie is to style it with a jacket. If it’s an evening event, go for a velvet bow tie with a dinner jacket. If you firmly believe in the power of classics, then opt for a black bow tie to complement your tuxedo. This is most suitable for weddings and other formal occasions.
The combination of sea green and dark blue works well too. Opt for a well-tailored dark-blue suit, with a white shirt, and choose a sea-green bow tie to enhance the look. One can also pair a grey-coloured suit with a red bow tie to add a pop of colour to the ensemble. Now you know what to wear for your next dinner date.
You can also team up your ripped jeans with a bow tie for a casual and trendy look. Choose an earthy brown coat to go with your favourite pair of denims. Pair it with a well-fitted shirt and a printed bow tie of the same colour palette as your coat. This is one of the best picks for dates and outings with friends.
Things to keep in mind while purchasing a bow tie
- If you don’t own a bow tie and are planning to add it to your wardrobe, purchase a simple black bow tie that can be worn to any event. Also, if it is a self-tie variant, practise tying it a few days before the event.
- Once you are comfortable with a black bow tie, experiment with more shades and patterns. Keep in mind the occasions you will be wearing them on and your personality.
- Slowly and steadily, expand your collection and include hues and prints that will make your collection season friendly. For example, bright-coloured ties in linen and silk for the summer and earthy tones in wool for fall and winters.
- When in confusion, go for silk, as it comes in all sizes and shapes. There are many varieties, like shiny and not-so-shiny and those with natural knobs. Avoid nylon and polyester ones, as they tend to look less classy and might ruin your look.
Hero and Feature image: Courtesy Cameron Behymer/Unsplash
This story was first published on Augustman Malaysia.