how to tie a bow tie
Some history...

The bow tie first appeared in the 19th century, derived from a tie knot which apparently was invented by Beau Brummell, an English dandy celebrity of the century's beginning. This tie was wound around the neck several times and tied so as to stop the tails from lying on the shirt. Rectangular, asymmetric wide bow tie or narrow herringbone pattern - from then on the bow tie appeared in all its shapes and had its fans already at that time.

Nœud Papillon Histoire

For practical reasons linked to their professions the bow tie was likewise appreciated by doctors, gastronomes or architects and was baptised bow tie in 1904 in dedication to Puccini's famous opera Madame Butterfly. Worn by Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill or James Bond, the bow tie [in French Noeud is very often associated with evening dress which can be worn less formally today thanks to Alber Elbaz' work for Lanvin or Alexis Mabille in the 2000's.

The bows
Self-tie bow tie

This very elegant self-tie bow tie is ideal for great occasions. For a perfect look, wear it with a wing collar shirt and a dinner jacket! Wearing it un-tied, on the other hand is as elegant as wearing a tie without tying it...

Pre-tied bow tie

For those who don't know how to tie a bow tie, the pre-tied ones are a good option. You'll find them in all kinds of shapes and materials in a wide choice of colours and patterns. The bow tie is a great alternative to the tie to affirm your style.

The shapes

There are 2 main shapes of bow ties that vary a lot in terms of length and width :

- Slim : perfectly suitable for slim faces.

- Normal : for standard shaped morphologies.

- Grand : well adapted to larger figures.

The bat wing (le battoir)

Its sides are parallel or slightly round shaped.

Le Battoir

The thistle (the butterfly)

Its sides are pointy.

Le Papillon

The materials

The bow tie is available in different materials: silk, cotton, linen, wool etc. Most bow ties contain silk, sometimes combined with linen or wool. Cotton or woollen bow ties are very fashionable but particularly adapted to a casual look.

The weavings
Bow ties can be woven in different ways

- Silk satin bow tie is woven without visible yarn with a smooth and fine finishing. This is in general the weaving found on self-tie bow ties.

- Plaited bow tie can be made of silk and linen for summer or of wool and silk for the winter collection.

- Velvet bow tie: bow ties made of velvet contribute an elegant touch to your outfit, to be worn in winter.

- Knitted bow tie: no matter if it's about ties or bow ties, the knitting look grants you a relaxed look. There are woolen knitted and silk knitted ones available.

The pattern

There is a large choice of patterns which can easily be adapted to all kinds of clothing styles. Novices would prefer starting off with single colours or false single-colours while the veterans would favour striped or polka dotted bow ties or even tartan or houndstooth, cashmere or patterned bow ties.

Les nœuds et motifs

How to tie a bow tie ?

Comment nouer un nœud papillon

1 - Place one of the two ends lower than the other.

2 - Place the longer end over the short end, then pass the longer one around it. Take the longer one out. You've done a first knot.

3 - Bend the short end horizontally to form the two wings of the bow tie.

4 - Pull the longer end in the center of the two previously created wings. Little hint for the next step: pinch the two wings of the knot to fix the knot.

5 - Hide the longer end behind the folded end. To do so, take the long end at its center and pass it through the buckle.

6 - Adjust the bow tie by pulling its wings to the sides.

Here is a video to help you:

Style suggestions : how to wear a bow tie
For preference, choose low and open shirt collars

The bow tie is always worn with a shirt, however, not with any kind of shirt. Some collars such as the English or French collar are not recommended: their high up cut does not allow any visual balance of collar and bow tie.

Italian collar shirt : this is the classic of your wardrobe which matches all morphologies and can be worn on any occasion.

- Wing collar shirt: this shirt is reserved for special occasions. It can be worn with a dinner jacket and a slim or regular bow tie.

- Small collar shirt: can be worn with a slim bow tie, this is the ideal collar for short necks as it creates a lengthening effect.

- Club collar shirt: to be worn with a slim or regular bow tie so as not to hide the collar. This shirt lends round shapes to square faces.

To gain perfect harmony, the span between the two tips should be equal to the width of the bow tie.

For a casual look you can also combine the bow tie with a v-collar pullover, jeans and sneakers!

In pictures : the bow tie gets popular!

People et Nœud Papillon