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The 4 Rules For Wearing a Bowtie


A well-worn bowtie can supercharge your style. Follow our advice below to take the guesswork out of acing this dapper detail.

1. Remember: it’s called a tie, not a clip!
There are three basic types of bowties: self-tied, clip-on, and pre-tied. But you need only pay attention to the first. If you are an adult man, you should learn to tie your own bowtie.

2. There’s more than just one bowtie shape

There’s the butterfly, the big butterfly, the batwing, the diamond tip, the club round, and probably even a few more. But when you think of a bowtie, you’re probably thinking of the butterfly. Only men with larger neck sizes should reach for the big butterfly—a floppy 3-inch-plus shape, reserved for ritzier events. The batwing—straight, narrow, and angular—is perfect for standing out in a more casual setting. While the diamond tip, a double-layered angular shape, will work well at both.

3. Pay attention to the fabric and fit of your bowtie

Like Justin Timberlake, reserve shinier fabrics, such as silk and satin, for luxury occasions. Make cotton, linen, and wool your go-to options for normal days. Don’t pair your ultra-thin button-down with a stiff bowtie. Instead, opt for a crisp white or grey dress shirt. If you’re unsure about whether your bowtie is the right size, just look in the mirror: The ends of the bow should line up with the outermost crests of your temples, and fit firmly without suffocating you.

4. Pair patterns and colors with confidence

Don’t match your bowtie and pocket square because it’s all-too-common. If mixing patterns, pair a small-patterned bowtie with a large-patterned shirt, or vice-versa. Just avoid anything too cutesy or kitsch, like a yellow-and-red checker print.