Men’s Formal Bow Ties Guide (5 Types)

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Men's Formal Bow Ties Guide

In this guide, I’m talking about formal bow ties.

Types of Formal Bow Ties

The first thing we’ll do is go over the five different types of formal bow ties.

The the big butterfly, the semi butterfly, the straight end, the diamond point and the modified butterfly.  Let’s begin with the big butterfly.

Big Butterfly

big butterfly bow tie

With its size, this is a shape that makes a statement. As a result, it won’t be suitable for everyone.

The size of your bow tie should be proportional to the size of your face as a general guideline. If you have a narrow face, the big butterfly might not be the greatest option.

It’s a shape that looks best on males with broad faces and who prefer to make a statement.

Semi Butterfly

Semi Butterfly Bow Tie

The semi butterfly is the next shape on the list. This is your most classic and conservative option. In terms of dimensions, you’ll want something with a two- to two-and-a-half-inch width at the ends.

The semi butterfly is a terrific choice for almost everyone, especially if your style is classic or conservative.

Straight End

straight end bow tie

The straight end is right here.

The straight end has a certain cool element for me. It’s a classic option, but it still manages to seem current and elegant.

You won’t see this one very often, and if you wear it, you’ll stand out because the majority of people will choose a butterfly shape.

If you have a thinner face or consider yourself a traditionalist who likes to stand out within that conventional framework, the straight end is a suitable choice.

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Diamond Point

diamond point bow tie

Following that is the diamond point, which is the most attractive of the group. This is the shape that James Bond takes in the first scene of Dr. No.

If you’re going to wear a diamond point, you need to be comfortable with it and have the personality to go with it. And if that describes you, this shape is going to be your top choice.

People with narrower faces and larger personalities will benefit the most from this shape.

Modified Butterfly

modified butterfly bow tie

And at last, we have the modified butterfly. This is a non-traditional shape with a classic appearance, but it’s also quite intriguing.

It has a normal butterfly shape on the bottom and is straight on top. This, in my opinion, is the shape of the true fashionista.

It has a classic style and won’t take attention to itself, but it has the kind of nearly hidden detail that not many people will notice, but the ones who do will most likely be the folks you’re currently conversing with at the cocktail party.

These are the five different types. Now let’s discuss about fabric, which is really crucial.


Formal bow ties are often made of satin or grosgrain.

Satin bow ties offer a silky finish. Bow ties made of grosgrain have a thicker, ribbed appearance.

When choosing a formal bow tie, the most important thing to note is that the bow tie fabric should match the lapel fabric. Choose a satin bow tie if your lapel is satin. Choose a grosgrain bow tie if you have a grosgrain lapel.

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Is it necessary for the bow tie and lapel fabrics to match exactly? No, I’m not going to say that. Because unless you have your bow tie specifically cut in the same fabric as your lapels, or your tux and bow tie are from the same brand, such as Ralph Lauren, it’s impossible to match them perfectly.

That’s perfectly fine. Because, in the vast majority of cases, they’ll examine closely enough.

What if your jacket has a self-facing lapel, meaning it’s made of the same fabric as the rest of the jacket? In this instance, you have the option of wearing a satin or grosgrain bow tie.

As far as I’m aware, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to velvet bow ties. However, I believe it looks best with a velvet jacket.

I believe you could wear a velvet bow tie with a satin or grosgrain lapel as long as the jacket is velvet.

Both pieces make a statement, and if you’re already wearing a velvet jacket, go all out if you want to. I personally don’t think a velvet bow tie looks good with a classic tuxedo or dinner jacket since it stands out too much, and not in a good manner.

That is simply my viewpoint. It’s up to you whether you choose to take it or not.

Tie Your Own Bow Tie

One last thing I’d like to mention is that you should always tie your own bow tie. The appearance of a bow tie should not be perfect.

One of the things that I believe looks really dreadful is when you see one of those pre-tied bow ties from the department shop. I understand the need for everything about the tuxedo to be flawless. There’s a difference between making the best decisions and having everything appear great.

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What is truly needed, especially with the bow tie, is for it to be perfectly imperfect, if that makes sense. It appears to me to be more elegant and comfortable.

Plus, the best part of tying your own bow tie is that you can untie it at the end of the night, and it’s just so nice to have it hanging around your neck. It also appears to be quite appealing.

Finally, remember that the bow tie you choose should complement both your face shape and your personality, whether it’s a huge butterfly, a semi butterfly, straight end, diamond tip, or modified butterfly shape.

types of formal bow ties


  • Christopher

    Christopher has 9+ years of experience as a creative fashion designer who stays current with the latest trends.

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