How to Wear a Bowtie with a Tux in 2023: A Step by Step Guide

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how to wear a bowtie with a tux

In This Article

1. The Proper Way to Tie a Bowtie for a Tuxedo

Why it’s important to tie your own bowtie

Tying your own bowtie is an essential skill to master if you want to achieve a sophisticated and polished look with your tuxedo. While pre-tied bowties are convenient, they lack the elegance and authenticity of a self-tied bowtie. By learning how to tie your own bowtie, you can customize the size and shape of the knot to suit your personal style and ensure a perfect fit.

A step-by-step guide to tying a bowtie

1. Start by placing the bowtie around your neck with one end hanging about two inches lower than the other.
2. Cross the longer end over the shorter end, forming an X-shape just below your chin.
3. Bring the longer end up through the loop created by the X-shape.
4. Fold the shorter end horizontally in half, creating a loop.
5. Hold this loop in place and bring the longer end down over it.
6. Pull both ends tight, adjusting them until you achieve your desired tightness and symmetry.

Tips for achieving a perfect bowtie knot

– Practice makes perfect: It may take several attempts before you can tie a flawless bowtie knot without any assistance or mirror.
– Use a mirror: When starting out, it’s helpful to have a mirror in front of you so that you can see what you’re doing and make adjustments as needed.
– Pay attention to symmetry: Make sure both sides of the bowtie are equal in size and shape for a balanced look.
– Experiment with different styles: Once you’ve mastered the basic knot, don’t be afraid to try out different styles such as butterfly or diamond-shaped bows for added flair.

Overall, tying your own bowtie adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your tuxedo ensemble. With some practice and patience, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect knot every time.

2. Choosing Between Pre-Tied and Self-Tie Bowties for Your Tuxedo

The convenience of pre-tied bowties

Pre-tied bowties are a popular choice for those who want a hassle-free option that requires minimal effort. They come already tied and can be easily fastened around the neck using an adjustable strap. This makes them ideal for individuals who are not confident in their ability to tie a proper bowtie or those who are short on time.

The allure of self-tie bowties

Self-tie bowties, on the other hand, offer a sense of authenticity and elegance that cannot be replicated by pre-tied options. Tying your own bowtie allows you to customize the size and shape of the knot, creating a unique look that complements your personal style. Additionally, self-tie bowties are often made from higher-quality materials and offer more intricate patterns and designs compared to pre-tied versions.

Factors to consider when choosing between pre-tied and self-tie

– Skill level: If you’re new to wearing bowties or don’t have much experience tying knots, a pre-tied option may be more suitable.
– Time constraints: If you’re in a rush or prefer a quick and easy solution, pre-tied bowties are the way to go.
– Personal preference: Consider whether you value convenience over authenticity and whether you enjoy the process of tying your own knot.
– Occasion: For formal events or special occasions where attention to detail is important, self-tie bowties are generally preferred.

Ultimately, the choice between pre-tied and self-tie bowties depends on your personal style, skill level, and the specific occasion. Both options have their merits, so it’s important to consider your preferences and needs before making a decision.

3. Guidelines for Selecting a Complementary Bowtie for Your Tuxedo

Choosing the Right Color and Pattern

When selecting a bowtie to complement your tuxedo, it is important to consider the color and pattern that will best enhance your overall look. A classic choice is a black bowtie, which pairs well with a traditional black tuxedo. However, if you want to add some personality to your ensemble, you can opt for a bowtie in a different color or pattern. For example, a navy blue or burgundy bowtie can add a touch of sophistication, while a patterned bowtie with stripes or polka dots can bring some playfulness to your outfit.

Matching the Fabric and Texture

Another factor to consider when choosing a complementary bowtie is the fabric and texture. Ideally, the fabric of your bowtie should match or complement the fabric of your tuxedo jacket. For instance, if you are wearing a velvet tuxedo jacket, it would be best to choose a velvet or silk bowtie to maintain consistency in texture. This attention to detail will elevate your overall look and create a cohesive appearance.

Tips for Accessorizing

– Consider coordinating your pocket square with your bowtie by choosing complementary colors or patterns.
– If you are attending a formal event, opt for a self-tie bowtie instead of pre-tied ones for an added touch of elegance.
– Experiment with different sizes and shapes of bows to find the one that suits your face shape and personal style best.

Mistakes to Avoid

– Avoid matching your bowtie exactly with other accessories like socks or cufflinks as it can appear too coordinated.
– Steer clear from overly flashy or novelty bowties unless it aligns with the theme of the event.
– Do not wear a bowtie that is too small or too large for your frame, as it can throw off the balance of your outfit.

By following these guidelines, you can confidently select a complementary bowtie that will enhance your tuxedo ensemble and make a stylish statement at any formal occasion.

4. Ensuring the Size of Your Bowtie Matches the Lapels of Your Tuxedo Jacket

Understanding Lapel Widths

The lapels of your tuxedo jacket play a crucial role in determining the appropriate size of your bowtie. Lapels come in various widths, ranging from slim to wide. It is important to match the size of your bowtie with the width of your lapels to maintain proportion and balance in your overall look.

Matching Slim Lapels with Narrow Bowties

If you are wearing a tuxedo jacket with slim lapels, it is best to opt for a narrow bowtie. A slim bowtie will complement the sleekness of the lapels and create a cohesive and modern appearance. This combination works particularly well for individuals with slender frames or those who prefer a more contemporary style.

Pairing Wide Lapels with Full-Sized Bowties

For tuxedo jackets with wider lapels, it is advisable to choose a full-sized bowtie. The larger size of the bowtie will harmonize with the width of the lapels and prevent them from overpowering each other visually. This pairing is suitable for individuals with broader shoulders or those who prefer a more traditional and classic look.

Tips for Proper Sizing

– Measure the width of your lapels before purchasing a bowtie to ensure an appropriate match.
– Consider trying on different sizes of bowties to find the one that complements your specific tuxedo jacket best.
– If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional stylist or tailor who can guide you in selecting the right size.

By paying attention to the size of your bowtie and matching it with the lapels of your tuxedo jacket, you can achieve a harmonious and well-proportioned look that exudes confidence and style.

5. Step-by-Step Instructions to Adjust and Secure a Bowtie on a Tuxedo Shirt Collar

Adjusting the Bowtie

To adjust a bowtie on a tuxedo shirt collar, start by placing the untied bowtie around your neck with one end slightly longer than the other. Cross the longer end over the shorter end, creating an X shape just below your chin. Take the longer end and bring it up through the loop created by the X shape. Hold onto both ends of the bowtie and tighten it by pulling them in opposite directions.

Securing the Bowtie

Once you have adjusted the bowtie to your desired tightness, fold down your collar and flip up the back of your bowtie so that it rests against your neck. Take one end of the bowtie and fold it horizontally in half, creating a loop. Hold this loop with one hand while using your other hand to fold the other end of the bowtie horizontally as well. Insert this second loop into the first loop and gently pull both ends to secure the bowtie in place.


  • Make sure to leave enough length on each end of the bowtie for adjusting and securing.
  • If you prefer a larger or smaller knot, adjust how much you overlap when crossing one end over the other.
  • Practice tying and adjusting a bowtie before wearing it for a formal event to ensure you are comfortable with the process.

Common Mistakes:

  • Avoid tightening or loosening your bowtie too much, as it should be snug but not uncomfortable.
  • Avoid pulling on one end more than the other when adjusting, as this can create an uneven knot.
  • Avoid rushing the process, as taking your time will result in a neater and more secure bowtie.

Additional Resources:

If you are still struggling with adjusting and securing a bowtie on a tuxedo shirt collar, there are numerous online tutorials and videos available that provide visual step-by-step instructions. These resources can be helpful for visual learners or those who prefer to see the process in action.

6. Alternative Methods to Fasten a Bowtie Aside from the Traditional Knot

Clip-On Bowties

For those who struggle with tying a traditional bowtie knot or simply prefer a more convenient option, clip-on bowties are an excellent alternative. These pre-tied bowties come with a small metal clip attached to the back, allowing you to easily fasten them onto your shirt collar. Clip-on bowties are available in various colors and patterns, making it easy to find one that complements your tuxedo ensemble.

Bowtie Bands

Bowtie bands are another alternative method for fastening a bowtie without tying a knot. These bands consist of an adjustable strap that goes around your neck and attaches to the back of the pre-tied bowtie. Simply adjust the band to fit comfortably around your neck and secure it in place using the provided closure mechanism. Bowtie bands offer convenience and ease of use while still maintaining a polished appearance.


  • When choosing a clip-on bowtie or bowtie band, ensure that it is made from high-quality materials for durability and longevity.
  • Consider practicing tying a traditional bowtie knot even if you prefer alternative methods, as it can come in handy for more formal occasions or if you ever decide to switch to a traditional bowtie.

Common Mistakes:

  • Avoid wearing a clip-on bowtie or using a bowtie band that is visibly cheap or poorly made, as it can detract from the overall elegance of your tuxedo ensemble.
  • Avoid adjusting the clip-on bowtie or bowtie band too tightly, as this can cause discomfort and restrict movement.
  • Avoid relying solely on alternative methods without learning how to tie a traditional bowtie knot, as it is considered a valuable skill for formal occasions.

Additional Resources:

If you are interested in exploring more alternative methods for fastening a bowtie aside from the traditional knot, there are numerous online retailers that offer a wide range of options. These retailers often provide detailed product descriptions and customer reviews to help you make an informed decision.

7. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Wearing a Bowtie with Your Tuxedo

Not Properly Adjusting the Bowtie

One common mistake when wearing a bowtie with a tuxedo is not properly adjusting it. It’s important to ensure that the bowtie is centered and symmetrical, with both sides of the bowtie being of equal length. A crooked or uneven bowtie can detract from your overall look and give off an unkempt appearance. Take the time to adjust and straighten your bowtie before heading out.

Choosing the Wrong Size Bowtie

Another mistake to avoid is choosing the wrong size bowtie for your tuxedo ensemble. Bowties come in various sizes, and it’s essential to select one that complements your face shape and body proportions. A bowtie that is too large or too small can throw off the balance of your outfit and make you appear disproportionate. Consider trying on different sizes to find the one that suits you best.


  • Use a mirror or ask for assistance when adjusting your bowtie to ensure it looks neat and symmetrical.
  • Take into account your body proportions when selecting a bowtie size.
  • If unsure about the appropriate size, consult with a professional at a men’s formalwear store.

8. Etiquette Rules for Choosing the Color or Pattern of a Bowtie with Your Tuxedo Ensemble

When it comes to choosing the color or pattern of a bowtie with your tuxedo ensemble, there are some etiquette rules to keep in mind:

Maintain Formality

The color and pattern of your bowtie should align with the formality of the event. For black-tie events, a black or midnight blue bowtie is the most appropriate choice. However, for less formal occasions, you can experiment with different colors and patterns that complement your tuxedo.

Coordinate with Your Tuxedo

It’s important to coordinate the color or pattern of your bowtie with your tuxedo. If you’re wearing a solid-colored tuxedo, you can opt for a patterned bowtie to add visual interest. Conversely, if your tuxedo has a pattern or texture, it’s best to choose a solid-colored bowtie to avoid clashing.


  • Stick to neutral colors like black, white, or navy for formal events.
  • Experiment with different colors and patterns for semi-formal occasions.
  • Consider the overall aesthetic of your tuxedo when selecting a bowtie.

9. Achieving a Polished Look by Pairing Accessories with Your Bowtie and Tuxedo

To achieve a polished look when wearing a bowtie with your tuxedo, consider pairing it with complementary accessories:

Pocket Square

A pocket square adds an extra touch of elegance to your ensemble. Choose a pocket square that complements the color or pattern of your bowtie while also coordinating with other elements of your outfit.


Cufflinks are another accessory that can elevate your look. Opt for cufflinks that match the metal accents on your tuxedo (such as silver or gold) and coordinate well with the overall color scheme.


  • Ensure that your accessories, including the pocket square and cufflinks, complement each other.
  • Avoid over-accessorizing; choose a few key pieces to enhance your outfit.
  • Consider the formality of the event when selecting accessories.

10. When is it More Appropriate to Wear a Long Tie Instead of a Bowtie with a Tuxedo?

While bowties are traditionally associated with tuxedos, there are certain situations where wearing a long tie may be more appropriate:

Semi-Formal Events

For semi-formal events or occasions that don’t strictly adhere to black-tie dress codes, wearing a long tie can offer more versatility. It allows you to express your personal style while still maintaining an elegant and polished look.

<h3.Body Proportions

In some cases, body proportions can play a role in determining whether a long tie or bowtie is more suitable. If you have a longer neck or broader shoulders, a long tie can help balance out your proportions and create a more flattering silhouette.


  • Consider the dress code and formality of the event before deciding between a bowtie or long tie.
  • Take into account your body proportions when choosing between the two options.
  • If unsure, consult with fashion experts or professionals for guidance on appropriate attire.

In conclusion, mastering the art of wearing a bowtie with a tuxedo is a simple yet impactful way to elevate your formal attire. By following the proper steps and considering key factors such as size, style, and material, you can effortlessly achieve a polished and sophisticated look for any special occasion.

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