©Alexis June Weddings - Nautical Theme 2013


When it comes to style for men, the ultimate reflection of class is a black bow tie. Any well-dressed man who cares about his appearance knows that a black bow tie can make all the difference for his formal (and even casual) outfit, when worn accordingly. A bow tie black colored is more than suitable for a businessman, a celebrity or any man who takes care in choosing his accessories. However, those who do not wear bow ties on a regular basis might not be aware of the diversity they have available for these black pieces. That is why we have created a guide for everything you need to know about wearing a black bow tie, from types, shapes, fabrics and styling tips based on casual or formal situations. Read about them below and suit up like an authentic man.

Types of Black Bow Ties

First of all, in order to understand the variety you can choose from, we have to describe each type of black bow tie and the differences between them:

Pre Tied

As you can tell from its name, the pre tied black bow tie does not require the wearer to tie the piece himself. This means that the bow is already secured in place and a strap is slipped into the back of the bow.

Clip On

As opposed to pre tied black bow ties, clip ons do not come with any collar strap incorporated. This type of black bow tie is usually worn for babies or boys and is accessible to buy. Unfortunately, full grown men are not encouraged to wear clip on bow ties, as they look like cheap stickers on collars.

Self Tie

The traditional (and most recommended) black bow tie is the one that you tie yourself, also known as the “Self Tie”. It is the most appreciated variety that a black suit bow tie can come in and frankly is the best decision for mens attire.

Black Bow Tie Shapes

Aside from the three varieties that a black bow tie can come in, there are also quite a few shapes that one can be fashioned into:

The Butterfly / Thistle

The most well-known bow tie shape is the Thistle, commonly known as “The Butterfly”. It is a clean and neat way to tie your bow tie that will work for virtually any occasion you are preparing to attend.

The Big Butterfly / Jumbo Butterfly

This bow tie shape is defined by a larger form than the Butterfly, hence its name. Many celebrities choose this shape for red carpet events and it is generally suitable for men over age forty.

The Batwing / Straight or Slim

For a very clean and even mafia-inspired look, you can always go for the Batwing bow tie shape. This variety resembles the Chevy bow tie and is a contemporary approach to the traditional “Butterfly”.

The Diamond Point

Another modern twist to the classic bow tie is the Diamond Point shape. It gets its name from its pointy edges, which resemble diamonds. It is a fine alternative for a young and fresh look.

The Club Round

Even though it is not the most frequently seen bow tie shape, the Club Round is quite an original way to sport this accessory. If you want to even out your outfit with rounded corners, you can go for the Club Round bow tie shape.

When & How to Wear a Black Bow Tie

Like we stated in our introduction, black bow ties are not destined just for fancy events. Below you can read styling tips for both formal and casual occasions in which a black bow tie is appropriate:

man wearing a formal black bow tie

Formal black bow tie


Formal Attire

If champagne services are available, you know it is a place where it is appropriate to wear a tuxedo, crisp white shirt and a black bow tie. For formal events, I guarantee that a solid black bow tie, a black and gold bow tie, black and white bow tie, or red and black bow tie will all look stunning. To sharpen up your tux even more, consider a black bow tie and cummerbund set.

man wearing a casual black bow tie

Casual black bow tie


Casual Wear

For a fashionable presence going out in town, a black and red bow tie matched with a classy watch is a combination to go for. There are various ways in which you can sport a black bow tie for a stylish casual outfit, like wearing one with suspenders and smart boots. Make sure that the fabric used for the black bow tie is not too elegant though, as you soon will discover below.

Choice of Fabric & Pattern

  • Silk or Satin – A black silk bow tie is a sheer symbol of prestige and is adequate for highly formal events, such as weddings or other ceremonies. You can also go for a satin variety, which is equally elegant.
  • Velvet – Like in the case of silk and satin, a black velvet bow tie is also an excellent choice for fancy events. Match it with a black suit and white shirt for the ideal outfit.
  • Sequin – No matter if you choose black, pink, gold, silver or red, a sequin bow tie will be appropriate only for fun parties or holidays like Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Otherwise, you might risk looking a bit like a clown.
  • Wool – Black wool bow ties are wonderful for wearing during cooler seasons, like autumn or winter, especially if you want to sport one at the office or as day wear.
  • Paisley – Paisley patterns are highly fashionable and can be worn on bow ties for both casual and formal events. Make sure that the rest of your outfit uses simple colors or subtle patterns that won’t pack everything up.
  • Striped – A striped black bow tie is a fine alternative to a traditional, solid one for semiformal and formal situations; discrete, elegant and tasteful all at the same time.
  • Polka Dot – For a funky and fresh outfit in the city, a black and white polka dot bow tie can spice up any street wear attire.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This