Bow ties have been around for at least two centuries and have recently become fashionable once more. Unfortunately, unless they were quite the nerd in high school most people in today’s society do not know how to tie one. This is unfortunate because not only will they miss out on the opportunity to use this accessory in conjunction with their wardrobe, it is likely that they will eventually be required to wear one to a formal “black-tie” affair such as a wedding, funeral, or business meeting.
Fortunately, tying a bowtie is as simple as tying your shoe. It will take a bit of practice before you can get it just right; however it is like riding a bicycle: Once you learn how, you’ll never forget.
To begin, you must have a bow tie. Choose one that matches the occasion and look that you’re going for. Most bow ties come in one size because necks only vary so much in thickness. The “standard” size is usually between 15 and 17.5 inches (38 to 45 cm) in length. If you have a larger neck you might have to buy a plus size bow tie, but otherwise just pick one up at your local suit shop or purchase one online. If the bow tie is not for a terribly formal occasion, there are adjustable models on the market, just be sure to never wear a clip-on or pre-tied bow tie unless you want to be thrown in with the “super nerd” crowd.
How to Tie a Bow Tie:
Follow the simple instructions below to tie your bow tie. If you get lost, refer to the diagram below the instructions.
To begin, first place your tie around your neck and under the collar of your shirt. You may want to raise your collar while tying in order to give yourself a better view of the strap. Take the time to make sure that the tie is not twisted as it passes behind your neck. Once around your neck, you’ll want one end to hang about 2 inches (5 cm) lower than the other.
Next, cross the longer end over the shorter end and then bring it up through the loop you’ve just created. You’ll be pulling the longer end up towards your face. It may be helpful to hold this end in your teeth during the next step.
Now, double the end of the short piece over itself keeping the end parallel to the floor.
Hold this doubled end in place while doubling the long end that you were holding in your teeth, also keeping that end parallel to the floor.
Pull this second doubled end through the loop that is located behind the first doubled end and pull your knot tight.
You’ll have some adjusting to do to make the bow tie look proper. The tie should be balanced with each end about the same size and length as the other. You are aiming for symmetry here.
Congratulations! You’ve just tied your bow tie. Remember that as with all things, this skill takes practice and learning how to tie a bow tie well eventually comes down to repetition and muscle memory. As you practice you’ll become more proficient and have less adjusting to do at the end. Once your tie is completed you’re ready to go face the world looking your best.
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