Bow ties and neckties are one the main accessories worn by men. They can be bold and formal or casual and trendy, it all depends on how they are made. A silk tie isn’t the same as a knitted one and a patterned bow tie can be quite different from a solid-colored one. In this article we’ll explore how and when to wear each one, always like a gentleman.
When to wear a bow tie or a necktie?
Realistically speaking, there are actually very few occasions when a bow tie is actually obligatory, namely white and black-tie events. But...the occasions in which a white-tie event invitation comes along, let’s be frank, are few and far between.
What we might be invited to more often than not would be black-tie optional events, weddings and other such events that require us to look spick-and-span without going quite as formal.
So is it appropriate to wear a bow tie instead of a necktie outside of a white or black-tie event? Fantastic question, to which we might even argue that a bow tie is always appropriate, it’s just about picking the right one!
How to wear a bow tie?
Traditionally speaking, bow ties are made out of silk and are either black or white, but nowadays you can find them in all shapes and sizes, colors and patterns, textures and materials, allowing you to add a little spunk and personality into your style.
So, you might be the kind of man that wants to take a risk in your style choices and wants to incorporate more bow ties into your everyday life, but just don’t know how. We are here to help!
The Golden Rule
A good rule of thumb when you are just starting out is to just keep it simple. Make the bow tie the statement piece of your look by choosing a solid, neutral color for your suit (think grey, black or blue) and then add a bright colored bow tie or one with a small pattern to achieve a striking look.
Big and Bold
If you decide to go for a bow tie with a big, bold pattern, what you can do is look at the colors that the bow tie has and try to see what sort of base would compliment it. For example, let’s say you want to wear the 356’s Portrait Bow Tie, a perfect combination with that would be a dark blue (almost black) suit with a white or light blue shirt.
If you are feeling adventurous, you could even try the 356’s Portrait Bow Tie with a patterned shirt like a pinstripe or a checker in blue.
You might be thinking, but how do I combine patterns? Great question! Think of it this way: you want the patterns to compliment each other. So if you go with a big, bold pattern on the bow tie, you want a shirt with a small pattern, that when looked at from far away the pattern is barely visible. This will give your look a lot of depth.
However, the reverse is also true. Let’s say you pick out the Icon Bow Tie (in any of its colors), it’s a pretty busy pattern already, right? So a shirt with a small, busy pattern might be a little much, especially if you are still a beginner, so perhaps a bigger pattern, or a solid shirt would work better.
This doesn’t mean you can’t pair together a bow tie and a shirt with small patterns. The good news is, there are no rules, not really, so if there is a combination that you like, we say go for it!
Necktie kinda guy
If you don’t feel like bow ties fit your personal style for more casual events, there is always the option of wearing a necktie. Neckties are also very elegant and can be styled similarly to bow ties.
Thick or thin
The thickness and length of your tie is going to depend on you, your preference and your build. If you are slimmer man, we say go for a slimmer tie, as it will compliment your frame much better and make you look more balanced. Make sure that the shirt you pick has a collar that fits the tie you picked accordingly.
Remember: small with small and big with big.
When it comes to the length of the tie, you always want it to hit your waistband. Lower or higher will make the entire outfit look quite tacky and cheap.
Tickle Me Pink
As with the bow ties, don’t be afraid of colors and patterns! If you are in doubt, always go with a solid shirt and a bright or patterned tie that compliments the color of your shirt. The way to know that it goes together, especially with a pattern, is looking at it and choosing one of the colors in the pattern for the shirt. For example, if you are going to wear the Best of Show 300 SL Gullwing tie, that light blue would be the perfect compliment to the tie.
Another good rule to follow is to see the necktie as the point of focus in your look, so try to pick shirts with colors that are lighter than that of the tie to really make it stand out.
The material out of which your tie is made will also allow you to play with your look. For example, depending on where you are going and how you style your outfit, a silk tie can look more or less formal.
Add a vest to elevate your look or use a sport jacket to make it more casual.
Bow ties and neckties are just another way for you to really show your gentleman style and what better than The Outlierman to help you achieve that look. All of our ties and bow ties are made with 100% silk, making sure you look every inch the gentleman you are. We also know you’ll love all the patterns, inspired by classic cars around the globe that will bring that extra touch to all your outfits.