page header graphic
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO EVENING WEAR ( SECOND EDITION)



 

The Apex of Elegance
Evening Tailcoat & Trousers
Full-Dress Waistcoat
Full-Dress Shirt
Full-Dress Bow Tie
Other Accompaniments


► Tying a Bow Tie


See Tying a Bow Tie for step-by-step instructions.  Tip: be sure your hands are clean when handling the tie as the cotton will soil easily.

Full-Dress Bow Tie

 


The white full-dress bow tie is made from cotton piqué (marcella in the UK), the material of choice since the 1930s.  It is considered especially smart if the tie is of the same type of piqué as the waistcoat and, if applicable, the shirtfront.  The tie is traditionally semi-butterfly or batwing shaped as described in Classic Black-Tie Neckwear.  


It should go without saying that a self-tied model is infinitely preferable to a factory-assembled version.  If pre-tied neckwear is considered unrefined in a relatively informal office environment then it can only be viewed as downright gauche in the context of an ultra-formal society ball, royal state dinner or Nobel Prize ceremony.  White tie may be a virtual uniform but it is a gentleman’s uniform and a gentleman appreciates the human touch of a slightly irregular hand-tied knot compared to the cold perfection of a pre-fabricated contraption. 


Adjustable-length models are acceptable although there is a sublime pleasure derived from donning a tie custom sized to fit a man’s own neck and devoid of clasps, hooks and extraneous material. 


When tying the tie, keep in mind that formal bow ties are meant to be worn outside the wings of the collar, not tucked behind them. 


Finally, unless you are a waiter or a butler you must never wear a black bow tie with a tailcoat.  Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The full-dress tie is unique in that it is made of washable material.

 

 

 

Full-dress bow tie with detachable collar full-dress shirt.

   

 

UPDATES · GLOSSARY · BIBLIOGRAPHY · SEARCH · LINKS · ADVERTISE · CONTACT



COMPARATIVE ENGLISH TERMINOLOGY

Picture credits: Hover over images / check picture properties for image source.
Text and original images copyright © 2012 by Button-Down Services Inc.  All rights reserved.