Dress for the Occasion – The Bow Tie

Dinner suit black tie

Dressing For The Occasion: Black Tie – Part Three

So we’ve seen Parts One – The Jacket and Part Two – The Trousers, here is the next component:

The Bow Tie

Without a doubt, if there’s one vital wardrobe feat a man should achieve in his lifetime, it’s mastering the art of tying a bow tie.

There’s been a recent shift in reviving this once commonplace skill, with more designers producing self-tie bows each season. Self-tie bows make for a far nattier finish, due to their organic, jaunty shape in contrast to clip-ons, which look just a little too neat.

How To Tie A Bow Tie By Mr Porter

Style savants MR PORTER have produced a stunning and easy to follow guide to tying a bow tie for their industry acclaimed Journal publication.

Below you can find the images and instructions you need, but we wholeheartedly recommend you check out the editorial here, as it is packed full of additional tips and tricks:

Mr Porter Journal - How To Tie A Bow Tie


Bow Ties: Key Styles

For black tie, as the name suggests, your bow tie should be jet-black. Barathea silk, previously discussed in the jackets section, was also used for bow ties before shiny silks took over, and this matte-finish material will lend a more traditional, sharper finish to your ensemble.

Readily available from specialist formal wear brands, they cost a little more than standard silk bow ties, but are worth the extra pennies. For a super-louche alternative, velvet bow ties are also an option – just make sure if you take this route that your blazer isn’t velvet as well, otherwise you run the risk of looking like a 1970s game show host.

Traditional Black Tie

Here we have curated a selection of traditional black tie ensembles, consisting of a dinner suit, white shirt and bow tie. These would all be appropriate for the majority of black tie events:

Unconventional/Contemporary Black Tie

Below you will find some more contemporary or unconventional takes on black tie. Whether it is through choice of dinner suit colour, shoe style, detailing, shirt type or even the removal of the bow tie, designers are continuing to push boundaries and trying to rewrite the rules of this previously strict dress code.

It should be said that purists will look upon the majority of these outfits with contempt and they are NOT suitable for true formal events – it is up to you to adjust to the scenario and occasion.

However, as you will see in part two of this guide, there is often no need to try so hard – concentrating on quality, fit and your finishing touches will ensure you effortlessly stand out from the crowd:

 The final


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