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Celebrate in Style: 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Bow Tie

We know you want to look dapper in your bow tie, and we know it’s not as easy as grabbing the first one you see. Use the following guidelines to help tie one on in style.

Colourful fireworks, sparkling champagne and way-too-much confetti usually get all the attention on the last night of the year... until now. We found an easy way for you to be the best-dressed man at the party without carrying around a bag of glitter or blowing things up.

Lots of statements get made on December 31 – everything from resolutions to confessions of unrequited love (we feel you, brah). But there’s one statement that’ll last long after the ball drops and the champagne goes flat – your style.

Whether you’re at a black-tie event, a city-wide bar crawl or partying on Zoom, here are 5 fool-proof tips to make sure you and your bow tie look the best when the new year begins.

1. Choose Your Shirt & Suit

Choose the shirt that you’re going to wear. This is also a good time to pick out your suit.

The only ‘must’ when choosing a bow tie, is selecting the right kind of shirt. For formal events like weddings or fancy rooftop parties on Park Avenue, you’ll want a shirt with a wing tip collar. This type of collar gets its name from the fold-out collar points that resemble wings. It’s the most formal collar option around and is made to be worn with a bow tie and tux.

For anywhere south of the penthouse, any button down shirt with a collar will work. The colour you choose is up to you.

You can’t go wrong with a clean, ironed white dress shirt. But since it’s New Year’s Eve, why not go with a black button down with a bow tie in shiny gold or silver? You can even forget the suit jacket or blazer and opt for matching suspenders. Or keep the jacket and add a colourful pocket square.

Possibilities (like the ones waiting in the new year) are endless.

2. Choose the Style & Shape of the Bow Tie

When it comes to bow ties, you have 3 style options: Self-Tie, Pre-Tied and Clip-On.

It’s true that self-tied bow ties look great. It’s also true that they take time to tie and not everyone has that much extra to spend. If you don't have the time, we’re fans of the pre-tied bow tie as they’re easy to wear and simple to adjust. We draw a line at clip-on bow ties.

Bow ties shapes range from butterfly to batwing. Let the event you’re attending guide your choice.

As a general rule, butterfly bow ties are always acceptable, while batwing and pointed bow ties are seen as casual or even daring (like Batman).

3. Consider the Texture & Fabric

Fabric choice depends on the time of year and your outfit. Dense fabrics, such as wool, should be reserved for colder, winter months, whereas lighter fabrics, like cotton, are better for warmer seasons.

Make sure the texture doesn’t clash with your overall outfit. Pairing too many takes away from the elegance of your outfit. In other words, not every item (jacket, shirt, pocket square and bow tie) must be in a different texture.

And since it is the end of the year, why not go out with a bang… or at least with a bow tie made of wood.

4. Match the Colour of your Bow Tie

If you have a white or black shirt, you’re safe to use any colour as long as it’s appropriate for the occasion.

Pairing colours is a little trickier. Using our Interactive Colour Wheel as your guide, we recommend sticking with analogous for the safe option or complementary for the daring.

Try this: Look at the colour of the shirt you’ve chosen, click that colour on the wheel and then choose a solid-colour bow tie from one of the colours selected.

Remember that your shirt should be lighter than your bow tie for the best contrast. The only exception is when you’re wearing a solid dark-coloured shirt, like navy blue or black.

You can choose a bow tie in the same colour (darker shade) than your shirt, as long as the bow tie still stands out.

5. Choose Patterns Carefully

The best advice is to choose a shirt and bow tie with different size patterns. You want to create an eye-pleasing contrast, not an overbearing one (and you don’t want your bow tie lost in the shirt).

Final Tips

We’ve put together 3 easy-to-follow tips so you can ring in the new year and celebrate in style with a bow tie.

  • Shinier bow ties (like silk bow ties) are best for formal occasions and parties like on New Year’s Eve. Matte bow ties are seen as casual.
  • It is acceptable to wear a fun, vibrant bow tie with a sweater, as long as the sweater is over a collared shirt.
  • Avoid pairing boldly-coloured bow ties with boldly-coloured shirts.

How to Tie a Bow Tie

Choosing the bow tie that best matches your shirt and suit is only the beginning… learning how to tie it is where true artistry begins.

Our Best-Selling Bow Ties

From pre-tied bow ties to the ones requiring practice, take a look at our most popular styles for inspiration.