Learning this knot can be tricky, but it’s still one worth learning, especially for wedding season. Unless you’re using a larger bowtie (normally reserved for special occasions) you’ll want to use this particular piece of neckwear with discreet collars, such as a traditional button-down (for a professorial vibe) or a smaller spread collar. For formal events you might also consider a wing collar, which is the only true way to do classic black tie.
Take a breath and prepare yourself for a few tries. Chances are you’ll have to start over a few times either to work out the handiwork or, at the very least, do some length adjusting on the bowtie.
1. Drape the tie around your neck, leaving the right end slightly longer. (These instructions assume right-handedness. If you’re a lefty, reverse the first part.)
2. Pass the longer end over the shorter end, forming an ‘X’ just below your neck.
3. Pinch the shorter end in place as you pass the long end underneath the loop you’ve got around your neck and back up through.
4. Take the shorter end and bring it up just below your neck, in a horizontal position. The middle of the ‘hourglass’ should be exactly in the center and lay flat against your chest.
5. Now pull the longer end back down from your shoulder and let it hang vertically over the horizontal end.
6. Here’s the key move: Take the long end in your right hand, bring it up behind the work-in-progress center knot, very gently, and back through the loop you can feel behind it.
7. Pull the front right tip while holding onto the rear left end. Do the same with left-front and rear-right.
Your goal is a bowtie that’s not tilting up or down - but only about 70-90% symmetrical in terms of front bulge and back, left end and right. Wear these imperfections with pride; after all, they let everyone around you know that your bowtie did not come pre-tied.