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Everything you Need to Know about Bow Ties

Since bow ties for men were first introduced and universally accepted as a part of male fashion culture, they have changed many times in both form and function. While they were once purely formal and downright traditional for some occasions, they are now an undeniable part of everyday street-style fashion. From the magazines to the runways, there is no real way to avoid the trend, so let’s learn more about it. Here are some things that you may not know about the neckwear:

How to Wear Bow Ties


The Different Types of Bow Ties

You may think that bow ties are all alike, but there are many different varieties of the classic accessory. First of all, bow ties can be most easily classified by their shapes. Here is a little bit about each:

1. Butterfly Cut

This is the classic bow tie option and looks great on almost anyone that tries it out. As a matter of fact, here at Armoniia, it is our most popular design! If you go with a 2 - 2 1/2 inch width, you’ll be sure to look conservatively-stylish for any event.

2. Oversized Butterfly

The largest bow tie, and, as such, it makes quite a statement. Basically, it is just a larger version of the regular butterfly.

Just remember, your bow tie should be proportioned to your face, so if your face is on the narrow side, this probably isn’t the best style for you.

3. Batwing

Next, the straight-end, or the batwing, is a modern variation of the semi-butterfly. It is a little bit smaller in size, and it has a sleeker appearance. While many think it is a little less formal than other shapes, that is not necessarily true. The only real difference is that the tie is shaped as a straight rectangle when it is untied.

4. Diamond Tip

The diamond-pointed bow ties are the ones that are sure to please any fashion dandy. They are flamboyant and daring, while still categorized under the umbrella of formal wear. When it is tied, it has cool, pointed ends that are actually asymmetrical. One side has the pointed end on top, while the other side has it underneath.

5. Rounded Club

Finally, there is the club round, with its rounded tips. Not really as common as its counterparts, the club round is casual and laid back. It looks best in less-dressy materials, such as cotton, and paired with colored shirts with jeans or with khakis.

You can also group bow ties by the manner in which they are fastened and put on. For example, the ones that most people are familiar with, which are also the most common, are self-tie, or freestyle, bow ties. Like the name implies, these are made to be tied by the wearer.

While many people say that learning how to tie a bow tie is easy, a lot of men and women beg to differ, and that is why there are both pre-tied and clip-on types.

Clip-on bow ties are also exactly what the name suggests. Most clip right onto the top of your shirt. These will occasionally work for little kids, however, they may still pull them off easily.

Pre-tied bow ties are the best of both worlds. You still won't have to worry about tying them, but you also don’t have to worry about them falling off. You also won’t need to adjust them, and they will always keep their shape.

In addition, they are easy to size because they come with adjustable bands. With the knots sewn in place, you never have to worry about them untying, either, so you can’t go wrong. They are also perfectly symmetrical, so you will always look sharp.

At Armoniia’s, each of our pre-tied bow ties have a strap that perfectly matches the rest of the bow tie so they can be worn with winged tuxedo collars and still look good. It is surprising, but a number of brands actually make their straps out of a dowdy elastic material of a different color or they're simply just black or white. Check out this video to learn more.

Where to Wear Bow Ties

1. Weddings

Bow ties are a popular choice for nearly every type of wedding, whether they are classic, rustic, boho, vintage, or beach-inspired. They can be worn with the traditional three piece suit, or with just a vest, or, if you really want to be on trend for this season, pair the bow tie with suspenders for a more relaxed look.

If you are one of the groomsmen, you will probably be required to wear specific colors of wedding bow ties per the bride’s instructions. These hues are most likely to match the bridesmaids’ dresses, as well as the entire wedding theme, so be sure to follow suit! This, of course, includes the littlest members of the wedding party, the ring bearers. Armoniia carries bow tie sizes ranging from infant to adult, so it doesn’t matter if your ring bearer is a toddler or a teenager.

As a guest, you may think it is best to go with black, but this color is usually reserved for the groom, and wearing it is sort of similar to the classic faux pas of a lady wearing a white dress to the nuptials. It can be seen as being in poor taste. Instead, try different shades of wedding bow ties that traditionally match the season. For example, in the autumn, try a teal tone, or dark purple, or burgundy. In the summer, you can wear lavender or coral to spice things up. Blush and dusty rose are another popular summer options.

2. Easter

Bow Tie & Suspenders for Easter

Easter is definitely a time for dressing to the nines. Whether you are planning on attending church, going out for brunch, or just spending an afternoon with your family and friends, you will certainly want to look your springtime best.

Nothing says formal, but friendly, like a bow tie. And, nothing says early spring like all types of soft pastel shades and floral patterns. Mint green, lavender, pale yellow, and light blue really drive the occasion home. A really cute way to celebrate the dressy holiday is to purchase matching bow ties for fathers and sons.

3. Black Tie Events and Parties

There are some colors that you simply must have in your bow tie wardrobe. Of course, it goes without saying that you need to have a classic black bow tie for any formal events that you may be invited to. This includes balls and galas. Just think of how suave you will look at the Denver Art Museum Annual Gala.

4. Christmas

Christmas Bow Ties for Kids

Red is a must-have for Christmas celebrations. You can even mix it up and get green, silver, or gold bow ties for some Yuletide events and alternate them with your classic crimson.

5. Valentine's Day

Valentines Bow Tie & Suspenders

Red is also a classic hue for the holiday of love, and you can switch off between it and dusty rose (the masculine term for pink) on that special day.

6. Kentucky Derby

You must wear a bow tie to the Kentucky Derby if you are a horse-racing enthusiast. The sporting event is a showcase of the best in springtime fashion with an old-fashioned 1920s-esque, Southern twist. Think churchwear with eye-catching pastel shades and wacky prints. A soft green or light blue bow tie is the perfect accessory for such an event.

7. Proms and Homecoming Dances

Purple Bow Tie for Prom

Probably the fanciest and most nerve-wracking event in a young man’s life is the prom, followed by his first homecoming dance. Like the concept of following the wedding theme if you are a part of a wedding party, it is also a great idea for a teenager to ask his date about the color of her dress ahead of time so he can purchase a cummerbund and bow tie to match. Be sure you also ask her about the exact shade, which you can either match with perfectly, or you can coordinate with it by choosing a darker shade of the same hue for an elegant eveningwear match.

Of course, young men will probably not have much experience tying bow ties, so the pre-tied bow ties for prom we sell at Armoniia will be a life saver. After all, if they don’t have to worry about tying the bow tie, they are much more likely to appreciate the style.

8. Graduations

Teens may even dare to don the neckwear to their high school and college graduations! Rather than wearing a boring shirt and sweater combo or a jacket and tie like every other graduate, why not zest up your commencement day with a posh bow tie?

9. Quinceaneras and Sweet 16s

Teens can also sport stylish bow ties to other big lifetime events, such their female friends’ quinceaneras and sweet sixteen parties. Girls tend to find the fashion irresistible and teenage boys have taken notice.

10. Sunday Church

Speaking of graduations, bow ties are appropriate and proper for all types of ceremonies, such as attending church on Sunday. Men and children will get excited to dress up if they purchase bow ties in a rainbow of colors and get to wear a different one each and every week.

11. Christenings, Baptisms, and First Communions

To match the themes of goodness and purity, many parents buy white or cream-colored bow ties to coordinate with their little men’s suits on such special days.

12. Family Photos

Father Son Matching Necktie & Bow Tie

Bow ties are the premier choice for men and young boys when it comes to family photos. They can also be matched to their father’s bow ties for an extra dose of sweetness that anyone would love.

13. Other Occasions

Where else can you wear a bow tie? You can wear them to ballroom dance competitions, Great Gatsby-themed parties, and, these days, to pretty much anything else that comes to mind. Here at Armoniia, we even had a leader of a jazz band buy a bunch of matching bow ties for her band! There is a color and a look for practically any occasion.

Let’s Not Leave Out the Ladies

Over the course of the bow tie’s long, storied history, it has been mostly thought of as male-only neckwear, but nothing can be further from the truth. Bow ties actually first became androgynous long before modern fashionistas like actress Drew Barrymore and singers Janelle Monae and Rihanna wore them with pride. As a matter of fact, the ladies made the accessory their own as early as the 1920s and 30s!

Hollywood darlings like Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich wore masculine clothing as a rebellious fashion statement at a time when the practice raised more than a few eyebrows. Along with bow ties, the starlets donned top hats, button down shirts, and tailored suits. Dietrich famously commented on her look from the film “Morocco” by stating, “I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.”

Like we said, bow ties on women are also a hot fashion trend in the 21st century, and no one better illustrates this point better than author, trainer, and athlete Heather Myriah Pearson. She recently modeled Armoniia’s burgundy bow tieand suspenders and she absolutely rocked the look! It seems as though the look of bow ties for women isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

A Quick Look Into the History of the Bow Tie

While many people believe that the bow tie originated in the early 1800s, it actually has roots that go back to the Croatian mercenaries of the 17th century during the Thirty Years War. They wore primitive bow ties, called hvrats, to fasten together their shirt collars, though they appeared to be more like short scarfs. “Hvrat” is actually the Croatian word for the Croats themselves.

French soldiers admired the look and brought it home with them once the war ended. When the French upper class adopted the hvrat, they referred to the neckwear as “cravate,” or the French word for the Croat people, which, over the years, became “cravat.” As time went on, the look evolved into both neck ties and bow ties, which were starting to become very popular in the 1700s.

In 1886, Pierre Lorillard designed the first tuxedos, which were meant to worn as formal wear. The suit was named after his family’s greater New York City estate, and it appealed mostly to the wealthy. Because it featured a black bow tie, the name “black tie” became a colloquialism for any event that required formal attire. The popularity of the tuxedo raised the profile of bow ties significantly.

As a matter of fact, between the 1880s and the early 20th century, every well-polished male had at least one bow tie in his closet. It especially became a very popular fashion statement once Hollywood got on-board. Stars like Gene Kelly wore the staple in films and to award shows, making it a must-have among proper gentlemen. After a while, the bow tie became a fashion fixture in popular culture, though its popularity dropped off significantly after World War II due to the advent of neck ties.

Once this happened, bow ties were thought of as only an accessory that was worn by the quirky, nerdy, and those unable to keep up with the times. Fortunately, style-conscious men have brought the look back and it is now considered on-trend and on-point. Stylists and designers have improved upon bow ties and re-crafted them to fit Millennials and the generations to come. There is even a National Bow Tie Day that was christened on August 28th in honor of their resurgence.

Popular People Who Wear Bow Ties

In the past, bow ties were a must-have that almost faded into obscurity over the decades. That is a shame because the look is timeless, dignified, and distinguished. So, while we may have associated bow ties in the recent past with over-the-top celebrities like popcorn company spokesman Orville Redenbacher, and children’s entertainers like Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Peewee Herman, style mavens such as Manolo Blahnik and Karl Lagerfeld have sported the look for years, and probably established the ideas that the bow tie can still be stylish and that it can be modernized. After all, current stars like Justin Timberlake and Johnny Depp have jumped on the present-day bow tie train.

Of course, at its style zenith, the bow tie was worn by some of the most dignified men in the world. Winston Churchill, the prime minister of England during World War II, is a prime example. He was truly grace under pressure and he certainly looked the part. As such, fictional British characters like James Bond and Dr. Who are almost never seen without their respective bow ties. On the other side of the pond, suave entertainers like comedian Charlie Chaplin, singer and dancer Fred Astaire, as well as Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and other members of the Rat Pack, wore their bow ties with pride, and the look has become synonymous with these debonair men.

In conclusion, at Armoniia, we are proud to sell bow ties for every occasion. We sell both solid colors and patterns and dressy, casual, and work bow ties. If you want it, we have it here at Armoniia, so come on in and browse our vast selection of bow ties for men and women and bow ties for kids today! You are sure to be glad that you did.