The bow tie: the item of men’s clothing that was once only the fashion mark of nerds with pocket protectors and groomsmen. I suspect it’s because a lot of us guys don’t know how to wear a bowtie other than with a tuxedo. Back in the days when I thought cool style included paint-splattered shirts, baggy pants, and gold chains, I had to be encouraged (read: tricked) by my friend and stylist Victoria Trilling to even think about sporting a bowtie—now I see how much fun you can have with one. So, in honor of today’s hashtag holiday National Bow Tie Day, I thought I’d share a few of the things Victoria taught me about rocking a bow tie.
Tie one on. Being able to work a good bow tie is kind of like an art form. There are plenty of shortcuts for remembering how to do it, but I’ll share my foolproof method: First, start with the tie around your neck, and one side hanging about two to three inches longer than the other. Second, cross both sides, tuck the longer end up and over, and make a simple knot. Third, fold the shorter end into a bow and pinch it against your neck. Pull the longer side over the bow and hold both sides of the bow together. Finally, locate the hole in the bow at the base of your neck where there is a loop; fold the middle of the dangling end of the tie and push it through the loop.
Know your tie-speak. There are only three styles of bow tie that you need to know and they are pointed, batwing, and hourglass. Once you’ve educated yourself on what those all look like, then you can decide on whether you want to mix things up with different silhouettes or stick to the one tried-and-true cut that works best for you.
Have fun. The bow tie is a really great way to add personality to your everyday outfit, even when you’re not wearing a suit. By pairing your bow tie with something unexpected like a jeans jacket or casual blazer, you can instantly elevate your whole style I.Q. For first-timers, I recommend starting out with a solid-colored bow tie, and then when you’re comfortable with the look, branch out into patterns. Todd Snyder, Paul Stuart, The Hill-Side, and The Tie Bar are just a few of the brands bringing back the bow tie.