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How To Tie A Bow Tie :: Step-By-Step

Updated on January 16, 2012

You Can Learn How To Tie A Bow Tie!

You can learn how to tie a bow tie!
You can learn how to tie a bow tie!

The classic bow tie is a look that transcends passing style fads and gives a classic look for every formal occasion.Learning how to tie a bow tie is easier than you probably think!

From Prom Night to Weddings to Black Tie Events - even dressing up for Halloween - a bow tie gives a real look of sophistication!

Learning how to properly tie a bow tie can give you that extra special touch that a clip-on tie just can’t. And if you need to wear a bow tie for your job, then learning to tie one in the correct manner will help you stand above the slackers with their cheesy clip-ons!

If you need to learn how to tie a bow tie, then chances are good that you have a special occasion coming! If that’s the case, then look no further!

Here you will find step-by-step instruction on how to tie a bow tie, along with helpful illustrations and videos that will teach you how to tie a bow tie in no time at all!

Looking smart in a red bow tie
Looking smart in a red bow tie

Where Do I Find A Bow Tie?

If you have the need for a Bow Tie but don’t already own one, they can range from terribly inexpensive to ridiculously cheap!

Just like other styles of necktie, the bow tie is available in every color and pattern you might need, and there even bow ties available in kid’s sizes.

How To Tie A Bow Tie, Step-by-Step

How to tie a bow tie, step-by-step!
How to tie a bow tie, step-by-step!

First familiarize yourself with the bow tie. It is a long strip of fabric, often silk, with two identical hourglass, or “bow”, shaped ends. Since both ends are identical, it doesn’t matter which side goes on the left or right (unlike a regular neck tie). The thickness of the strip that connects the two ends will determine the thickness of the knot in the tied bow tie – for a thinner knot, choose a tie with a thinner connecting strip.

Here are the step-by-step instructions
(don't worry - there are videos later on that you can refer to!)

  1. Place the bow tie around your neck, with the right-hand side about 1 ½ inches longer than the left-hand side, so that the tapered middle of the longer end is lined up with the bottom edge of the shorter end. (The longer end will be the FRONT of the finished bow tie.)
  2. Slip the shorter end under the longer end.
  3. Tuck the long end under the short end, just like the first step when tying a shoelace.
  4. Adjust the tightness of the bow tie now – you won’t be able to change the tightness later!
  5. Take the dangling shorter end and double it over itself by folding the wider part of the top of the hourglass shape in half.
  6. Pinch the center of the folded piece and place it over the top button of your shirt. You will continue to hold it there for the rest of the knot-tying process. Your index finger will provide a path for the other end of the later on.
  7. Now fold the other end of the tie over itself, just as you did for the first end.
  8. Hold the new folded end perpendicular to the first folded end, forming a cross-shape.
  9. Place the new folded end under the first by passing it through the hole behind the first bow (where your index finger is), forming a knot in the center, just over the top button of your shirt. Use your index finger to push the new folded edge through.
  10. Now pull on the ends of both bows to tighten the knot.
  11. Adjust the ends of the bow tie to make sure they are even.
  12. Now you’re done and ready for the big day!

Handy Tips For Tying A Bow Tie

  • For your first attempts at tying a bow tie, try tying it around your thigh or something similar - a sofa bolster or a teddy bear, maybe.
  • Tying a bow tie is very much like tying a shoe, but upside down! Think about it like a shoelace and you might have an A-ha! moment.
  • When buying a new bow tie, keep in mind that the texture of the material will affect how easy (or difficult) it will be to tie it. Smooth fabric like silk is more slippery than a roughly textured material, so it can be tougher to get that perfect knot when you're first learning how to tie a bow tie!

Classic smooth in a bow tie
Classic smooth in a bow tie

Watch Some Videos And Learn How To Tie a Bow Tie

How To Tie A Bow Tie, Step by Step Video

The Same Step by Step Video, but with a hot girl tying a bow tie!

Here’s another method where you can skip the second fold and just stick the end through…

Here’s a video that clearly illustrates the "hole" from step 9!

Animals Wearing Bow Ties

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I look sophisticated in my new bow tieWho's your kitty?Pug in a green bow tie!I look adorable!
I look sophisticated in my new bow tie
I look sophisticated in my new bow tie
Who's your kitty?
Who's your kitty?
Pug in a green bow tie!
Pug in a green bow tie!
I look adorable!
I look adorable!

All Text Copyright The Author. © 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Photo Credits

Blurry Bow Tie photo from / CC BY 2.0
Man in Blue Blazer and Red Bow Tie photo from / CC BY 2.0
Closeup Bow Tie Tying photo from / CC BY 2.0
Black and White Man in Bow Tie photo from / CC BY 2.0
Pug in Green Bow Tie photo from BY 2.0
Cat in Bow Tie photo from / CC BY 2.0
Bichon in Red Bow Tie photo from / CC BY 2.0
Spaniel in Red Bow Tie photo from / CC BY 2.0


Submit a Comment

  • almasi profile image


    7 years ago

    Thanks for simplifying this whole process.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    well done! Great

  • profile image

    Bowtie and cummerbund 

    8 years ago

    A men's bow tie reflects the classic way of dressing. The reason why most of the men opt for a bow tie is the level of comfort it offers. Irrespective of the personality, the bow ties find to be a great match; either lean or fat.

  • BowTied profile image


    8 years ago

    When I started high school, Catholic high school, the guys had to wear dress shirts, dress pants, dress shoes, and TIES. I chose to take advantage of the opportunity to wear BOW ties right from the start. Been wearing nothing but bow ties ever since.

  • GmaGoldie profile image

    Kelly Kline Burnett 

    8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

    Very well done! Very difficult item to learn - patience is the key - the Playboy video is awesome.

  • samsons1 profile image


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    rated up & useful -- very good job Edweirdo; "only someone who cares about how he appears in public and is proud of his accomplishments ties his ties by hand..." my dad always said. very, very true.

  • wavegirl22 profile image


    8 years ago from New York, NY

    great hub Edweirdo. . but I have to stick my 2 cents in here and tell you a sexy look for a man . .is that bow tie untied at the end of the night .. ;)

  • Edweirdo profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from United States

    @SteveoMc - I fully agree! I stopped wearing a "collar" long ago, and hope never to wear one again. But sometimes a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do :D

    And I'm sure you could manage it if you had to - just tell your wife you have to watch that video of the hot girl tying a bow tie over and over and over and over...

  • SteveoMc profile image


    8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

    I am so confused. Haha, there is no way I could possibly tie a bowtie. First of all, I would never wear one, secondly, I don't like learning a whole new way of tying something around my neck. It makes me feel like I have a collar on. MY wife has been trying to do this to me for a very long time. Careful, I bite.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Thanks for the instructions on typing a bow tie as it isn't that easy. Good hub.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for doing such a thorough job.

  • 2besure profile image

    Pamela Lipscomb 

    8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I use to always tie my dad's ties. There is a certain art to the bow tie!


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