How to tie a bow tie

So we all know that bow ties are cool. Right? Right.

I get a lot of questions when I wear bow ties. The most common question is whether it’s a pre-tied tie, or if I tied it myself. As someone who knows how to tie a bow tie, I can’t fathom any reason someone would wear a pre-tied bow tie. it’s like someone older than 10 wearing a pre-tied tie. Silly, right? The difference is that any man older than 16 should know how to tie a tie, but it’s much rarer to know how to tie a bow tie.

Tying a tie. Photo by Nicholas Warzin

The second question I often get is how I learned to tie a bow tie. The answer… THE INTERNET. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I learned on the internet. The above photo actually shows me tying my bow tie. You see, I went out for New Year’s Eve with some friends, and we danced, and had fun. In between sets of the band Oldies 990, I went outside with my friend Nick, undid my bow tie and my top collar. Did you know that The Magpie is extremely hot when it’s packed with people dancing? Cool winter air was nice on my skin. I was chatting with band member Ben, and friend Nick and they asked me to show them how to tie a bow tie. So I did up my tie. As you can see in the above photo.

Tying isn’t that hard. The problem is all the YouTube videos and diagrams I saw online showed me that it’s a simple, basic knot, then you form the bow with one strand, then you drop the longer strand over the bow, then you sacrifice a goat, pray to the lord Satan, and you have a bow tie.

It really did seem like simple, simple, simple, MAGIC. I couldn’t understand. I watched video after video, with bow tie around my neck, practising and practising. Failing and failing. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Or more precisely I couldn’t wrap it around my neck.

Eventually I found one video that explained it perfectly. Sadly I don’t know where the video is, but here’s the key. Watch video after video, and don’t get frustrated. It’s a simple process, but finding someone who explains it right TO YOU is the difficult thing. Once you find that one video, it all makes perfect sense. I’ll try to explain it for those reading, if you care.

  1. Flip up your collar.
  2. Drape the bow tie around my neck, with one end longer than the other (I do the right side, shouldn’t matter). We’re going to call this end LONGY. The other will be SHORTY.
  3. Make a simple knot. Make sure the LONGY is pointed up and SHORTY is pointed down.
  4. Grab SHORTY and fold him over at the widest point so you’re forming the bow.
  5. Drape LONGY over SHORTY’s thinest point. This is forming the piece that sits in the centre of bow tie. Keep it neat, or leave it messy, it’s how you decide to tie your tie. It’s a reflection of you.
  6. Now the part that seems like MAGIC. Just fold the formed part of the bow tie forward running perpendicular to you. What you’ll notice is that there’s a loop underneath there, I have no idea where in this step that loop comes from, but oh my god there’s a loop. Grab LONGY from the point that’s closest to the loop, and feed it through the loop.
  7. From there you’re just tidying it up and making it pretty.

Photo by Nicholas Warzin

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