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Common Types of Hair Bows Defined

Hair bows are a staple of any feminine wardrobe. It should come as no surprise either. Since the birth of fashion, accentuating your outfit with a hair bow is something that has long been held dearly. It should come as no surprise. Hair bows have the ability to take an outfit and turn it from drab to fab without much effort. Additionally, there is a simplistic yet elegant appeal that hair bows can have on your final outfit. But did you know that there is a wide variety of different hair bows and each one has the ability to offer up a different statement? Well today, we are going to take a look at the different types of hair bows that are available for you to choose from. Additionally, we’re going to dive into the details of when where and how to wear that specific hair bow. 

Talk about the common types of hair bows. Trying to pin down all of the types of hair bows would be like trying to explain all of the different types of shoes. However, there are common categories which all hair bows fit in and they are as follows:

Basic Boutique Bow – The basic boutique bow consists of four loops, two on each side. The ends are trimmed, usually in a diagonal cut. They range in size from itty bitty (approx 1 ½” wide) all the way to what I like to call “the dinner plate size” (approx 9-10” wide).  No, size of head does not determine the bow! I have seen massive bows on newborn heads and the tiniest of bows on teenagers. It is completely a preference.

Bows with Tails– This bow has four loops but the process of folding the ribbon is what differs it from the boutique. In order to have the tails in front, the third and fourth loop are brought behind the first two. This technique creates a “rabbit ear look”. The size of loop and length of tail are a preference but there is one important note to remember! If the loops or “ears” become too long (more than 5”) they will fold over, creating a flop “ear”. Funny but true!

Loop Bows (Flower Bows) – Get your needle and thread ready, these bows are simple, quick and easy to make. The amount of loops will determine how full your bow will be. The “folds” of these bows determine the kind of loops you will have.  They range from: figure 8, inside out, straight down, backwards fold (you will want to use solid colored ribbon for this one). To create a full look, use multiple sets, stacking them together. To finish, add a center and attach a clip!

2 Loop Twister Bow – Also called the Twister bow, these are commonly added as “toppers” to stacked bows. For a more solid bow and fun look, use 2 colors of ribbon together. Create a loop on each end of the ribbon, fold in the center and secure with a needle and thread or elastic.

Bow Tie Bow -The first step is to determine what size bow tie bow you would like, that will determine the size of ribbon you use. *I have attached a size guide at the end of the article*. After creating your single loop, there are several ways to create the fold. You can use a needle and thread or elastic. For the center, use a co-ordinating piece of ribbon, wrap for a smooth finish or knot the ribbon for a tied center.

Boutique Stacked Bow – Stacked bows are just what their name implies. They are bows with a large base bow which is stacked with other bows of the same type or of a different type on top of the base. These bows can be made in a variety of ways that are as unique as you.

Pinwheel Bow #1- A super simple bow and if you are not into fluffy big poofy loops, you will love it.  It is a flat bow. To create the 4 loops, start at one end of the ribbon, making room first for the tail. Create 2 side by side loops by folding the ribbon under itself 2 times. Make your 3 fold crease and secure with elastic. Typically the center is finished with a flat fold. Add your clip and thats it!

Pinwheel Bow #2- Have a lot of extra ribbon? This is the bow for you! Simply take your scraps and stack them, longest layer first then shortest. Using a needle and thread is best so the stacks stay neat. Stitch through the center to and create your fold. Add your center ribbon and clip!

Where can you find all these pretty bows?

Equestrian Hair Bow – Picture a gleaming pony, trotting brightly around the ring, its braided mane tightly woven, coat glistening and hooves shining. Aboard is an adorable little girl, dressed in classic attire, 2 pigtail braids with beautiful brightly colored bows attatched, bobbing up and down to the beat of the trot. Cutest thing ever! In classic tradition, Equestrian bows have been a long standing riding tradition for children 12 and under. Typically two types of bows can be found in rings across the country. The stacked boutique bow, and bows with tails. Ribbon color, even the types of ribbon, differ with each riders outfit. From solid to zebra stripes, you will find tons of variety. Where this is fun and under no guideline, in recent years it has started to cause discontent in the ring, especially with judges. Why? Too big and too long. National rules have now been passed: if the bow blocks the riders number on their back, the judge now as the right to refuse including them in the class. Size matters!!

Athletic Hair Bow– Lacrosse/Soccer/Softball – There are literally hundreds of different style hair bows for girls in athletics however the classic is very similar to the equestrian style bow with short tails.

American Girl Doll 18” Doll- Headband/Bow – There are many ways to dress up you AMG doll and you can use a smaller version of any of the above. However the easiest way to add variety and fashion to your doll is with a headband. Using different headbands with different bow styles and accents makes your doll unique.

The School look– Whether public or private, bows can match school colors or your daily outfit!

Cheer– The bigger the better! These bows are made with sequins, glitter and shine to the nine! You achieve these looks using premade strips that you adhere to your base ribbon using heat n bond and vinyl strips. These bows all typically follow the same construction, but they are as different as each team wearing them!

Finishing Work- From french barrette, elastic hair tie to alligator clip, bows are attached to these in a variety of sizes and styles. The type of hair you have will determine the clip you use in most cases. No slip grips can be added as well. This gives the bow a snug fit without becoming loose and falling. Please note that some sports denote using only an elastic hair tie for safety. Check with your team or official if you are unsure!

Size of bow can be determined by width of ribbon- Here is a handy guide to use. This will give you the basic size of your bow.

¼” Ribbon-1 to 2 inch Hair Bows

⅜” Ribbon-2 to 3 inch Hair Bows

⅝” Ribbon-2 to 3 inch Hair Bows

⅞” Ribbon-3 to 4 inch Hair Bows

1 ½” Ribbon-3 to 5 inch Hair Bows

2 ¼” Ribbon-5 to 6 inch Hair Bows

3” Ribbon-5 to 6 inch Hair Bows

We hope that our analysis has allowed you to understand the different types of hair bows available for you to choose from. Hopefully, this has allowed you to navigate the different options and knowing when to wear what. If you have a little lady in your life or someone who enjoys dolling up with a hair bow, then be sure to go over this article with them. And don’t forget to let us know below what your thoughts are on the different types of hair bows and how to pair them.

Is there a certain type that you like and why? Let us know below. We hope you enjoyed our not so little piece on defining certain types of girls’ hair bows and accessories. Please know this is a brief summary of the different types of bows. Stay tuned for pictures, tutorials and more in depth looks at girls’ hair accessories.

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