When to Wear a Bow Tie: 4 Surefire Bow Tie Events

In the world of menswear, there are few accessories that can be more intimidating than the bow tie. And why not!? For most guys, the bow tie immediately conjures up images of nutty professors, Pee-Wee Herman or dandy-dressed rappers. But there’s no need to be afraid. Despite the stigma, there really is a time and place to wear this tricky accessory so you can stand out while looking sharp. Here are a few perfect examples of when to wear a bow tie:

A Wedding or Formal Event

When it comes to things like the food and music, weddings can sometimes be a little hit or miss. But bad chicken marsala aside, an event like this is the perfect opportunity to try wearing a bow tie. The attire is often more formal, so you shouldn’t be afraid of looking too overdressed. Plus, you're likely to see others in the crowd wearing bow ties as well. A foolproof plan for when you first try out the bow tie is to use it to accessorize one of your favorite suits. When you’re already wearing something you love and know you look good in, you will have even more confidence to experiment. When picking out a style of bow tie to wear, don’t be too scared of color for formal events. Pick out a bow tie that draws your eye and plays off the colors of your suit and shirt. For black tie events, the solid black bow tie with a tuxedo will always be classic. However, color can also shake things up as well and add some excitement to your outfit.

At Work

Whether or not you can wear a bow tie to work is obviously very dependent on your job. If you have been in your position for a while, you should be able to gage whether or not a bow tie will work in your office. But be encouraged because if you take the chance, sporting a bow tie is the perfect way to stand out in a sea of dark suits and “normal” ties. But just to play it safe and make it right for the office, keep the bow tie a little more toned down in terms of style. Choose a navy or grey color that has a subtle stripe or grid pattern. Then in the future you might feel good about branching out. If nothing else, you’ll have something to talk about at the water cooler.

On Date Night

In thinking about when to wear a bow tie, a night out on the town with a lovely lady would be another great occasion to give it a try. Whether you are taking her to a nice dinner or being dragged to the theatre, women love it when a man can pull off a bow tie. There is just something very “Jay Gatsby” about it that will keep her eyes on you all evening. If the events of your night out do not require you to wear a suit, a sport jacket will look great with a bow tie and is sure to impress. For a cool, but also more casual look, wear the tie with just a button-up shirt and a vest. It’s more dressed down, but still dapper. What also makes date night a good time to try out the bow tie is you can take the opportunity to experiment. This is the time to go with the fun colors and cool patterns, because if that’s your personality then you wanna show it off!

At Church or Religious Service

Most church services are no longer very formal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still wear an awesome bow tie. But to avoid looking too over the top, instead of a coat, pick out a nice v-neck or button-up sweater, throw it over a shirt, then put on your bow tie for a complete look that is easy and appropriate. Still a little nervous? Throughout the year, there will probably be dressier services on holidays like Easter or Christmas that might make you feel even more comfortable when trying this out.

Now that you know when and where to wear a bow tie, pick one up in a pattern and color that you really love and then go forth and be brave! After all, the best accessory any man can wear is a little confidence.

Cladwell is the man’s personal clothing expert. We help you figure out which clothes to keep and which ones to buy based on your specific needs and preferences. Try it and let us find some clothes that look great on your budget.


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