Figuring Out How to Tie a Bow Tie

Every person who wears a suit eventually has to learn how to put on a tie. While there is a cheater’s method learned as kid, the clip-on version, a true tie is put on manually. So, once a person has mastered the traditional office tie, then comes the interesting challenge of the bow tie. Even with a borrowed tuxedo, like a tuxedo rental in St Petersburg or elsewhere, the package will come with a real bow tie to use.

Getting to the Basics

The bow tie itself is not a large accessory. In fact, untied and stretched out, a person is going to find a bow tie somewhat underwhelming. However, there is complexity in the simplicity of it. It takes a bit of understanding how to make a bow tie work, and inevitably the first time one puts a bow tie on untied, it will seem completely confusing what to do next.

However, if attending a black tie even or similar, there’s no choice, you have to wear one. And, unlike the office tie, there’s no wearing it somewhat on and stretched out. The bow tie is positioned correctly all the time.

Fortunately, the formula for tying a bow tie on can be limited down to six steps.  But before, one gets started, it’s important to understand the anatomy of the bow tie. What seems like an oddly cut ribbon actually has specific parts.

The end strap, which looks a bit like an hourglass, includes three parts. The wide parts are the end and leaf. In between is the spread. The inner thin part after the hourglass is the strap section. Yes, this at first seems clear as mud, but it will make more sense in a bit.

First Step

Learning how to tie a bow tie starts with pulling the bow tie around the neck snugly and the ends forward. Now, at this point comes the first move. The ends are pulled forward and one is crossed over the other both going in diagonal directions out forward from the neck. There is actually a groove in the bow tie that allows the strap section of one end to fit under the strap section of the other. Both should look like an X in front of the neck when pulled out properly.

Second Step

Now, as both ends were pulled outward and into an X form, one of the straps was shorter than the other. If they are even, adjust. The longer side is folded over the shorter one, the cross should happen at the leaf section of the bow (this is where those terms come in handy knowing where they are located). The longer side moved under the center and through, pulling snug but not choking the neck. The longer side pulled through is now ignored for a moment.

Third Step

Looking at one’s self in a mirror, because it helps to see what you are doing, the short side is folded horizontally. When folded correctly, it should look like the bow effect of a finished bow tie when worn.

Fourth Step

Now, the long end which was ignored for a moment is used again. This is brought back forward and down across the bow form, perpendicular to its horizontal position, making the center knot. The knot part should only be using the strap of the long bow end. If you find yourself using the leaf, it’s too short, and you have to start over to get to step four again.

Fifth Step

This is a critical part. A small gap is allowed in the central knot in the rear of it adjacent to the neck. The now vertical spread is brought down and up around the knot, through the gap and pushed through. Do it gently so as not to upset the knot.

Sixth and Final Step

Almost finished now. The inserted leave is pulled through to make it snug. Minor positioning is done to make things just right. It helps to have a mirror for this part. Done.

Do the process a couple of times to get the memory pattern down. The first attempt will look like a mess, and you really get the idea with practice, understanding the motions, and what to expect visually looking in a mirror. It helps to watch someone else tie a bow tie as well, using a video online if no one is around in person.

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