How to Tie a Bow Tie Step-by-Step

by Jessica Cook ; Updated September 28, 2017

Conduct an orchestra in style when you learn to tie your own bow tie.

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Tying a bow tie may seem to be a skill that few men need to know, but it can come in handy for formal occasions. Learn how to tie a bow tie and you can dress for your role as a college president, an international man of mystery or even a time-traveling British doctor. Dress it up with a tuxedo or down with a corduroy blazer and you and your bow tie are ready for anything.

Hang the bow tie around your neck so that the ends point down toward your chest. Pull on the end on your right side so that it hangs down a few inches lower than the end on the left side.

Cross the right side end over the left side end, then wrap it under the left end and up and over the center of the bow tie.

Hold the left end in your other hand and fold it horizontally on itself to make the shape of a bow tie. To do this, bring the very end in toward the center and then move it to the center of your neck, folding it in on itself accordion-style if needed.

Bring the right end down in front of the tied left end. Fold the right end horizontally on itself to make a bow tie shape.

Slide the bow tie shape of the right end behind the bow tie shape of the left end, catching it in the center loop on the back of the tie. Pull on the ends of the tie in front and back to tighten it and adjust its position on your neck or collar.


  • Tying a proper bow tie takes practice. Use a mirror and be prepared to take a few tries to get it right.

    These instructions are for right-handed people - reverse them if you are left-handed.

Photo Credits

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