Dress codes evolve over time, especially where formal wear is concerned. Where decades ago most men wore a necktie to work every day and only donned a bow tie when wearing a tux, today bow ties have become much more common.
Today, you can get away with wearing a bow tie, necktie or no tie at your discretion in most situations. However, when you want to distinguish yourself and make a great first impression, it's important to keep best practices in mind.
In this blog, we list four guidelines to help you decide when to wear your favorite bow tie instead of a necktie and vice versa.
1. Choose Your Ties Carefully
Whether you tend to wear bow ties or neckties more frequently, the quality of tie you choose impacts the way it looks. Cheaper neckwear tends to crease and wrinkle, sometimes permanently. This rumpling never looks professional or formal, regardless of your other clothing choices.
When looking for new ties of either variety, consider material as well as color and pattern. For example, a piece of neckwear made of handwoven silk lasts a long time and stays vibrant even with regular wear.
2. Consider Your Persona
You always have the option to make your own rules. It has become increasingly acceptable for men to use bow ties as a replacement for neckties or even as everyday wear. Icons like Bill Nye are even known for just that.
To decide if abandoning neckties is for you, think about the persona you want to present in situations when you'll don neckwear. Bow ties can convey a spiffy, academic air when paired with jeans or a tan suit, while they feel sleek and formal with a tux. If you're going for quirky or slick or some combination, bow ties may be the right choice.
3. Learn Several Tying Methods
Many men decide to try on a bow tie because they become bored with the simplicity of a conventionally tied necktie. However, bow ties that aren't pre-tied also require a fair amount of tying technique.
If you want to spice up your wardrobe, look up a few creative knots you can use on your favorite neckties. Then, if changing up your knots doesn't seem drastic enough, learn how to tie a bow tie. Putting in this extra work ensures that you're always prepared to tie one on, whether you prefer bow ties or neckties.
4. Think of Your Tie as an Accent
Because your neckwear is perhaps the most versatile part of your wardrobe, you may find yourself framing ensembles based around your bow tie or necktie. However, you should always remember that your neckwear is an accent intended to unify the entire look.
If all your suits have distinct pinstripes, a bow tie may be too much even if you like the cleaner look. On the other hand, if you're dressing in plain black with white button ups, your wardrobe is screaming for a little color and fun that could come in the form of a bow tie.
You may also want to look at the ensemble as a whole before making your decision. One of the reason neckties are so common is because they make men appear taller and slimmer. If your bow tie seems to shorten your torso, you may want to wait on wearing it until you put on a cummerbund and tuxedo jacket.
Use these suggestions to dress your best with utmost confidence whatever the occasion.
Looking for a bow tie or necktie that fits your unique style sense? Find sportsman-patterned ties of both varieties that you'll love to wear at Over Under.