Bow Tie: Meaning & Types

Short neckties with thin cloth wound in a knot around the collar are known as bow ties. Bow ties are neckpieces worn for semi-formal events, black tie affairs, and everyday casual attire; the appropriate bow tie style is determined by the dress code. Bow ties can be tied in a variety of ways; some may be looser and floppier than others. Although bow ties come in a variety of colours and patterns, they are a necessary component of a formal tuxedo. Bow ties can be made of any type of fabric; however, the majority are made of silk, polyester, cotton, or a fabric blend. Wool and velvet, for example, are significantly less frequently used for bow ties than for regular four-in-hand neckties. The shoelace knot, which is frequently used to tie bow ties today, is also known as the bow knot because of this. It consists of a fabric ribbon that is symmetrically knotted around the shirt collar so that the two opposing ends form loops.

Historical Background

The bow tie has undergone significant shape and function changes since its creation and widespread adoption into men’s attire, transcending its exclusively formal and conventional preconceptions. The bow tie has been re-appropriated into a range of various looks, shattering the mould it formerly held as a completely formal accessory, from street style to the runway to celebrity fashion.

According to history, the bow tie got its start in the 17th century during the Prussian War, when Croatian mercenaries tied a scarf around their necks to keep their shirts together. The French Upper Class then adopted this fashion, which they referred to as “Cravats” (from the word “croat”). Then, in the 18th and 19th centuries, fashion was in vogue. It is unclear from historical records whether the cravat or the necktie came first, and later the bow tie. Pierre Lorillard created a novel sort of formal attire in October 1886, and he wore it to a gala hosted by the Tuxedo Club. Lorillard’s tuxedo, which was named after his family’s house in Tuxedo Park (a neighbourhood just outside of New York City), quickly gained popularity among other rich fashion lovers. The outdated tailcoat and white bow tie quickly gave way to the modern tuxedo and black bow tie ensemble, which became known as “black tie” attire. This change in fashion hasn’t been reversed as of this writing. However, ready-made and adjustable styles are also widely available but are less formal than the traditional bow tie, which is sized and has a fixed length.

High-profile bow tie experts have led a movement that has led to a rethinking of the bow tie over the past few decades. The bow tie has been liberated from the restrictive classification of only being suited for formal dress by being worn in ways that it was not initially intended to be worn. The bow tie has become a go-to accessory for a wide range of different outfits, from the foppish looks of fashion icons like Karl Lagerfeld and Manolo Blahnik to the eccentric personas of comedians like Charlie Chaplin and Pee-wee Herman to the classic stud looks of Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra to the nerdy looks of Orville Redenbacher and Bill Nye the Science Guy.


There are three different bow tie styles depending on the bow tie’s production model: the clip-on bow tie, the pre-tied bow tie, and the self-tied bow tie. The various bow tie varieties and how they differ from one another are listed below. The clip-on bow tie is the sole universally acknowledged fact about them; it’s the final resort.

The Clip-on Bow Ties

Sales of this particular product are still quite popular because there is no aggravation with a clip-on bow tie. These bow ties are simple to clip on for users of any skill level. Even after hours of dancing and socialising, they remain stationary. The fashion and the substance are where they fall short. Another issue is the lack of a personal challenge, but that is a different tale. The most crucial thing to keep in mind concerning clip-on bow ties is that they will always adjust awkwardly or come off centre. Suits purchased directly from a retailer without any fittings, like bow ties, are made to fit one size only.

The Pre-Tied Bow Ties

The pre-tied bow gives it a little more sophistication than the clip-on. This type is enjoyable since it has the same easy qualities as the previous type but is more appropriate for wearing with suits. Less adjustment and greater quality are the results. In addition to the obvious benefits of industry adoption, pre-tied bow ties are a good fall-back alternative when time is of the essence. Even with a collection of self-tie bow ties, most suit wearers frequently keep one of them on hand. They rival the best brands in terms of quality and occasionally surprise clients by following current trends.

The self-tying bow ties

The self-tying bow tie is the best of the best and the most professional. All of the most well-known brands, materials, hues, and even avant-garde designs are included in this category. Freestyle refers to the fact that you get to tie the bow yourself. The beauty is found here. There is no wrong way because everyone has a strategy that works. Furthermore, tying shoes requires the same level of skill as tying a self-knotted bow tie. The drawback is that there are no secret methods for putting one of them on. Therefore, when tying it, demonstrate motion and love rather than being sloppy. Serious suit wearers will only buy this style; anything else is viewed as a degradation.


Men can always wear a bow tie, whether it’s to a wedding, a gala, a party, or a graduation celebration. Some appreciate the elegance it emits and wear it every day. Others find it to be a heavier item and would rather wear a tie. When wearing a work or formal dress, bow ties are a simple way to express independence. They can also enhance your sense of style to make every day a festival. The bow tie is a fantastic canvas for creativity because it comes in such a wide range of forms, hues, materials, and patterns. It is either seen as elegant or odd in the popular imagination. In actuality, it is subtler and fits into a variety of looks, including stylish, classic, and casual elegance.