How To Rock A Bow Tie Better Than Humphrey Bogart

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Bow ties get a bit of a bad rep. Sometimes seen as a novelty accessory, many people think of the bow tie as a bit of a joke (cue all the “Bow Ties are Cool” memes).

Those people are wrong. Of course, there’s plenty of novelty bow ties out there that can make you look like a modern-day Riddler fresh out of Arkham Asylum. But all memes aside, with a little bit of finesse and know-how, a bow tie can actually look cool.

We’ve enlisted the experts over at Johnny Tuxedo to provide us with some easy-to-follow tying tips, alongside some style advice for rocking the bow tie.

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Tying A Bow Tie

Austen Pickles, founder of Johnny Tuxedo, has outlined eight easy steps for us to follow in order to get that perfect bow tie. It may be a little confusing at first but, with a bit of practice, you’ll be an expert yourself in no time.

  1. Start by positioning the bow tie over your neck, with the left end around 4 centimeters longer.
  2. Slip the right end underneath the lower end.
  3. Pull the left end up over the right end.
  4. Now form a bow shape with the right end, keeping the left end up over.
  5. Bring the left end back down over the bow shape you’ve just created.
  6. Pinch the right side of the left end and form a bow shape.
  7. Slip the left side into the hole behind the right side.
  8. Straighten up, and you’re good to go!

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Style Tips

Now that you know how to tie a bow tie, how do you wear it? Pickles insists you resist the temptation to go for crazy colors if invited to a black-tie event. “Your bow tie should be black silk and tied by you, not the workers in a tie factory,” he tells Mandatory.

Humphrey Bogart made the white tux look cool in Casablanca but, hey, that was over 70 years ago. If you insist on the white tux, try everything you can to avoid looking like a waiter. Keep the focus of your outfit on “the fit and quality of the clothes, not the styling or the color or a comedy bow tie.”

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Elsewhere, Pickles insists that velvet jackets “break the formal black-tie dress code,” so treat with caution, if at all. If you’re set on wearing velvet to a black-tie event, then “darker colors are still safest.” Pickles recommends a navy, moss, claret, chocolate, or dark purple tie. However, since you’ve already broken the rules, electric blue isn’t out of the question either.

One last bit of advice: “Never ever wear velvet in the day. That’s the law.”