Black Tie – The Bow Tie


Always black (after all it’s a black tie event!), the bow tie should be silk and always match the texture of your jacket’s lapels.

If your lapels are smooth satin silk then go for a satin silk bow tie but if your lapels are of grosgrain then your bow tie needs a textured finish such as grosgrain, barathea or faille.

Go for a self-tie one rather than a pre-tied. How else are you going to get that sexy loose-draped tie look at the end of the night?

Pictured right: Taylor & Wright cotton white shirt £12, self tie bow tie £4, braces £6, piped trouser £20

Keep the tie proportional to your face – the ends of the bow should be in line somewhere between the edge of your face and the outer corners of your eyes. Anything smaller or larger and your head will look disproportional.

The type of tie is also important:

The Butterfly tie is a large bow and should only be worn by men with a large neck size, bigger face and chin; otherwise you may end up looking more like a clown than James Bond.

The straight Batwing tie is narrow and is best for thin men with longish faces and a narrow collar size.

Diamond pointed bow ties are not as common, so are good to add a bit of individuality whilst sticking to the black tie rules.

However the Thistle or semi-butterfly is the more classic and popular tie. It is smaller than the full Butterfly and thicker than the Batwing tie so is a safer choice for most men.

Pictured below: Two good examples of the Thistle or semi-butterfly bow tie: left, by Eton and right, by Ede & Ravenscroft


Butterfly bow tie by Moss Bros Hire
available at Moss. For stockist enquiries
call 0207 447 7200.

Batwing bow tie by Primark – Navy tuxedo
jacket £25, Shirt and bow tie set £6.

Here’s our Guide to Black Tie series to help you create the ultimate outfit – click the links below:

The Dinner Suit

The Dress Shirt & Cufflinks

The Bow Tie

The Shoes (& Socks)

The Accessories

The Overcoat


Karen Grace is a Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for and fashion writer for

She studied Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion and is a registered affiliate member of the Federation of Image Professionals International.

For personal shopping and styling services you can reach her via frumpy to funky on and
07787 800 390


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