The formal bow tie is not just black tie’s namesake but also its pièce de résistance as it embodies the formality and elegance of the entire tuxedo ensemble. When a tuxedo-clad gentleman enters a room, it is the black bow shape framed against a crisp, white shirt that immediately sets his attire apart from a simple dark suit. In the dinner suit’s heyday, formal bow ties were available in an almost infinite variety of shapes and sizes.
The choice of bow tie model separates the men from the boys– and the gentlemen from the waiters. Wearing a pre-tied bow tie to a formal function is the sartorial equivalent of using training wheels at the Tour de France.
Chris Evans with a pre-tied bow tie – it dangles down a bit and is too symmetrical – Avoid this style at all costs
The decision to avoid self-tie models is invariably based on ignorance rather than experience as most men have no idea that the process is virtually identical to tying a simple shoelace bow. Anxiety over a flawed result may also be a contributing factor. However, the fact is that a slightly asymmetrical hand-tied bow adds a unique flair to each man’s ensemble.
Black Bow Tie in Silk Satin Sized Butterfly Self Tie from Fort Belvedere
Also pre-tied bow ties often angle away from the face and because they are stiff, unlike a self-tie bow tie, it gives itself away very easily.
Back Strap of a sized Black Silk Satin Bow Tie – no clasp is visible
Fixed Size versus Adjustable Bow Ties
Adjustable black bow ties are the norm nowadays because it allows retailers to save on stocking costs. Sized bow ties are always preferable because the width of the finished bow will be directly proportioned to a specific neck size as opposed to the one-size-fits-all bow which is expected to accommodate necks ranging from fourteen to eighteen inches in circumference. And because the fitted models are made from a single piece of material, their exposed bands forego the excess fabric and unsightly clasps characteristic of the adjustable versions – a particularly important factor for gentlemen with a preference for wing collar shirts.
Because it was so difficult to find proper, sized evening black bow ties, Sven Raphael Schneider designed a range of high-quality black bow ties made of the finest Italian silk. All are exclusively self-tie and properly sized. You can see all of them in our shop here.
With a peaked lapel, pointed-end bow ties coordinate nicely with the angularity of peaked lapel jackets and wing-collar shirts.
The dotted lines in the pictures shown on the patterns indicate where the tie blades (ends) are folded to create the bow shape. In the case of pointed ties, the two points are achieved when the pointed tip of one blade extends beyond the square fold of the overlapping blade. (See Tying a Bow Tie for complete details regarding the tying process.)
General Things To Consider When Buying A Bow Tie – Size
While the bow tie shape may be open to interpretation, the tie’s size must follow certain guidelines to ensure a handsome proportion.
Originally the rule of thumb was that the outer edges of the bow never extended beyond the edges of the collar. However, since wing collars are now much smaller than they were, it is safer to use Alan Flusser’s rule that the finished bow should fall somewhere between the width of the wearer’s face and the outer edges of his eyes.
In terms of tie width (i.e. the vertical measurement of the tie blades), these tend to vary by bow style as well as by current fashions. The sizes used in the chart above are a good starting point but by no means absolute. In general, wider ties work well with higher collars as they prevent the bow from becoming insignificant in comparison.
If you want the golden middle opt for2.75″ in height. It will always be timelessly classic and debonair.
The term “black tie” says it all. When it comes to neckwear for classic tuxedos the only color you need is black. Even if your tuxedo or dinner jacket is tailored of a midnight blue fabric, the lapel facings will always be black and you want to match that color with your bow tie. Any other hue runs the risk of branding you as a 1980s prom date or wedding usher.
Like the jacket lapels, a quality bow tie will always be constructed of pure silk. Maybe cotton blends are the permissible in case of velvet, as pure silk velvet is no longer produced.
The texture of the bowtie is governed by the lapel facing of the dinner jacket. A silk satin lapel calls for a satin bow tie while faille or grosgrain facings require a ribbed or textured finish such as barathea or wide rib grosgrain or something else. For an overview of all of your weave options, please take a look here.
For a double-breasted dinner jacket or one made of velvet a black velvet bow tie looks very handsome.
Black silk velvet butterfly bow tie self-tie single end handmade in England by Fort Belvedere
When worn with wing collars, bow ties are placed in front of the wings. This positioning is not only proper etiquette but also a practical choice as the collar’s wings will help to keep the bow in place by pressing it forward.