How to Determine the Length of a Bow Tie for Neck Size

by Laura Swisher ; Updated September 28, 2017

In 1886, Pierre Lorillard V donned a bow tie with a dinner jacket, resulting in the world's first tuxedo and forever linking the bow tie to formal wear.

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

It has been said that no single male fashion accessory is as provocative as the bow tie. Worn by doctors, professors and magicians, the bow tie can be traced back to the Croatians who tied scarves around their necks to hold their collars closed. It was ultimately French aristocrats, though, who popularized the wearing of bow ties throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. In order to become part of the rich history of men's fashion and align oneself with the daring men of today's stylish world, you must first find your proper neck measurement so you may order the proper length for your bow tie.

Lay the shirt on a flat and even surface. Make sure to smooth the collar so it lays completely flat for an accurate measurement.

Measure from the center of the collar button to the far end of the button hole, using the tape measure.

Record the measurement. If necessary, round up to the nearest 1/2 inch. This is your neck size.

Compare the measurement to those listed in the following standard bow tie length chart: Regular Length: 14.5 to 17.5 inches in neck size Long Length: 18 to 21 inches in neck size Extra-Long Length: 21 to 22.5 inches in neck size


  • Know that most fixed-length bow ties fit necks from about 15 1/2 inches to 17 1/2 inches, spanning a 2-inch range. Smaller and larger neck sizes may have to be a special order.

    If you do not own a collared shirt, an accurate measurement can be achieved by wrapping the tape measure around the largest part of the neck and laying two fingers flat on the neck underneath the tape. Including the two fingers will allow for any swelling of the skin that may occur throughout the day, as well as general comfort.

Our Everyday Video

Brought to you by LEAFtv
Brought to you by LEAFtv

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Laura Swisher has worked in the field of journalistic and news editorial services for more than two decades and spends most of her time editing press/media releases for various federal government branches and offices, as well as reviewing live event transcriptions for release through wire services and national media outlets.