Some say that the bow tie is a thing of the past and that is has been dethroned by the elegant and rather more modern necktie. However, fashion-conscious men who like to experiment have started to wear unique bow ties to stand out from the crowd. This guide ties a bow on choosing a bow tie.

James Bond’s bow tie – black tie events

We start our overview with the most formal bow ties. When you are invited to a black tie event, you should wear tails or a tuxedo, so the best choice is a plain black bow tie made of silk. You can choose from several types, for example between a 2,5 and a 3 inch bow tie. You can also consider the favourite style of Sean Connery’s Bond, a small flat bow tie called a batwing. Another important element is the right shirt, which should go with the bow tie, have a wing tip collar and a concealed placket.

Academic vintage – smart casual

Bow ties are supposed to be the pinnacle of elegance, but we shouldn’t treat them too seriously. Gentlemen who decide to wear a bow tie are usually very interesting individuals, who make their own decisions without being afraid of ridicule. That’s why the bow tie has become strongly associated with academic professors and Oxbridge elites. If you consider yourself a freethinker who’s a bit vintage, pair a bow tie with a tweed jacket (preferably with professor style elbow patches), a light plain shirt and a wool or cashmere pullover. In the case of business casual looks, bow ties can come in a variety of patterns and colours. The key to choosing the right bow tie for a business meeting is similar to that of choosing a tie – you can’t go wrong with classic check, stripes or a plain bow tie.

Playing with fashion and casual bow ties

If you feel like fashion is your playground, don’t be afraid to experiment. A bow tie doesn’t necessarily have to be accompanied by a classic shirt or an elegant blazer. For a meeting with your friends, pair a bow tie with a check flannel or denim shirt. Play with patterns and colours – in every-day outfits you can wear a bow tie with a teddy bear motif or oriental patterns to show that you don’t take fashion too seriously. Casual bow ties are usually diamond-shaped with pointed sides.

Regardless of the occasion, remember the first rule of every advanced bow tie wearer – tie it yourself. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical, because little imperfections add character to your outfit and are an expression of your unique style.