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How to tie a bow tie in four easy steps

Man in bow tie
Photograph: Unsplash

For all of the mornings that people spend parading around South Beach in flip-flops, there’s an equal number of evenings spent in suits and cocktail dresses—and, on occasion, sporting a bow tie. “A bow tie is basically the holy grail of tying stuff around your neck,” says Nish de Gruiter, vice president of trendy menswear shop Suitsupply (701 S Miami Ave, no. 161; 305-349-3941 • 1000 17th St, Miami Beach; 305-363-7707). Tying a bow tie can be a daunting task for the novice, but de Gruiter insists it only takes practice to master. Here he shares some helpful pointers.

1. Get it even. “When tying a bow tie around your neck, make sure that one side is longer than the other side by a few inches. If you’re right-handed, the right side should be longer. If you’re left-handed, leave a few inches on the left side.”

2. Practice makes perfect. “I learned by practicing around my leg. Prop your leg on a chair and follow the same steps as tying a shoelace. You’ll get the hang of it after the third time.”

3. Don’t cheat. “A lot of modern bow ties are self-binding (meaning they have a button in the back), but these are never nice. They’re made for different neck sizes, have different handlings and just look too perfect. Your bow tie should be fluffy and have character like James Bond’s, not flat like a waiter’s. Just make sure it fits around your neck and doesn’t hang below your collar.”

4. Color matters. “If you’re going to a gala or a formal event, you wear a black or midnight-navy bow tie, depending on the color of your tuxedo. If the dress code is dinner jacket or tails, you should wear a white bow tie. A fashionable bow tie, with polka dots or different colors, goes well with a three-piece suit.”


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