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How to tie a bow tie: Six steps to perfection

The summer ball and awards season is well and truly upon us.

With many of us men opting for a traditional tuxedo for black-tie events, we can’t help but feel our inner creativity stifled with the lack of options available. Let’s face it, the hardest decision we have to make is what pair of cufflinks we’ll be rolling out.

However, it’s the subtle differences that can really make us stand out, such as spotting those who have self-tied a bow tie and those who haven’t. That’s what separates us from the rest of the pack.

Selfie tying a bow tie is something that all men aspire to achieve, with this ancient skill up there with crafting our own bespoke rocking chair, or creating fire with nothing but our bare hands and a twig.

However, what seems to be a difficult task to accomplish, doesn’t have to be the case.

Luckily for us, our friendly Penarth-based bespoke suit tailor, Nathan Palmer, is on-hand to show us how it’s done.

Firstly, why should we opt for a self-tie bow tie?

We caught up with Nathan to find out:

“There is elegance and authenticity about tying your own bow tie, you are the undisputed origin of your own creativity when you put your time into your own outfit, It looks real and full, whereas a pre-tied bow tie can look quite flat.

“The pre-tied tie looks too springy, and it can sit too far from the neck, especially if your shirt has a big collar.

“By tying it yourself, you make the tie look more natural and full. It can bring people together, the option of having a loved one tie your bow tie is a very special touch which can give your loved one a true sense of valve as you share an intimate sartorial moment.”

Nathan continued:

“The classic signature moment at the end of the night where you pull the tales of your tie and let it hang as you draw a close to your evening.

“There’s a love to the look (and feel) of a bow tie hanging loose around your neck on the dance floor. You can’t do that with pre-tied”

Nathan Palmer’s six steps to bow tie perfection

  1. Different Lengths
    Start with one side longer than the other. The difference in length should be two to three inches
  2. A Simple Knot
    Cross both sides and tuck the longer end up and over to create a simple knot.
  3. Pinch a Bow
    Fold the shorter end into the shape of a bow, pinching it against your neck.
  4. Pull and Fold
    Pull the long side over the bow and then fold both sides of the bow together.
  5. Enter the Loop
    There will now be a hole in the bow near your neck, a loop behind the bow portion. Fold the middle of the dangling end of the bow tie and push it through the loop.
  6. Refine
    Refine the bow tie until it takes the shape you want.

A’ ? for Sam Warburton

Posted by Nathan Palmer on Sunday, 29 April 2018

Customise your bow tie

Traditionally, when thinking of a bow tie, you think black and plain, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can customise it to your own style and personality.

When looking to mix things up a bit, Nathan suggests:

“When opting for bow ties, it is to the preferred individuals taste and desire. For novelty bow ties cotton is common, the range of themes available is much greater than with other fabrics. The advantage of cotton is that designs can be easily printed straight onto the cotton.

“Most fashion bow ties are made from silk, although you will find some in the other fabrics. The quality of silk bow ties are far more superior than cotton.

Although velvet isn’t available in a huge amount they are usually found in a handful of plain colours unless you visit a tailor or bow tie specialist that can offer you a wider range of colours.”

Nathan Palmer is a Penarth-based fashion designer and bespoke tailor. Nathan studied fashion design at the University Caerleon and traditional tailoring techniques in a tailoring school based in Canton, Cardiff. 

Nathan established his ‘made to measure’ and ‘bespoke’ suit tailoring business in 2014 – https://www.nathanpalmer.co.uk