September 1, 2010

What Color Bow Tie

How to Pick the Right Bow Tie Color

what bow tie colorBow ties come in endless amount of colors, patterns, and even sizes. These endless amount of choices might make it difficult to find the perfect fitting bow tie. When choosing the right bow tie you not only have to consider the occasion and dress code, but you should also consider the time of the day, your ensemble, as well as your facial features and proportion.

The Classics: Black, White, & Silver
These three colors are by far the most popular bow tie colors with black being right at the top of this list. The solid black bow tie is the classic choice for black tie attire consisting of classic tuxedo and either waistcoat or cummerbund. Silver is a great alternative to black. It is formal and elegant and unlike the black bow tie also suited for occasions during the day. Traditionally white is the most formal bow tie color. In fact, there is a dress code called “White Tie” that consists of white bow tie, tailcoat jacket, and a white waistcoat.

Bright Colors: Reds, Yellows, Greens, & Co
Bright colored bow ties are most common for weddings that occur during the day. Those bow ties are typically matched with a handkerchief. Especially bright colors and pastels are popular during the spring and summer. As a general rule: The more shiny the bow, the more formal it will appear.

Patterns: Polka Dots, Stripes, Paisleys
The more casual bow tie has a pattern. These bow ties are popular among bow tie aficionados that often times choose a bow tie over a necktie for their daily attire. Such bow ties are typically matched with sportscoat or blazer jacket rather than a complete suit. Typical professions that wear these bow ties are professors, architects, and designers. We at carry a wide selection of Casual Bowties

A Note on Size
There are several bow tie sizes. By size we mean the bow tie spread (the vertical size of the actual bow), rather than the length that is tied around the neck. Most common are bow ties that have a spread of 2.25 inches – 2.75 inches. Smaller, skinnier bows (sometimes also known as bat-wing bows) look best on men that have a narrow and longer neck. Larger bow ties (commonly called butterflies) looks best on men with wider and shorter necks.

Free-style or Pre-Tied?
Most men that only wear a bow tie for special occasions choose a bow tie that was already pre-tied. These bows are not only more convenient, but they also accommodate any necksize. There is no need to tie your own bow, and the actual shape is already perfect! Self-tied bow ties (also known as freestyle bow ties) are most popular among bow tie aficionados. The self-tied look does add more sophistication and will differentiate the true bow tie lover from the occasional bow tie wearer. For more information you may also want to have a look at our tutorial on How to Tie a Bow Tie

Other Related Readings:
Wear Your Bow Tie Like a Pro
Necktie, Bolo, and Co

Your Team

38 thoughts on “What Color Bow Tie

  1. Eric Lee

    Dear Sir,
    My son is going to get married. I am thinking what color/pattern/size of a bow tie should I wear with on that big day.

    Thank you,

  2. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for your good question. Typically bow ties (especially the solid colored ones) are a bit more formal than the necktie. Is there a particular dress code such as black tie? If so, then the solid black bow tie would be the right choice. Not wearing a tux but a suit? Then have fun with some color (especially for weddings during the day and in warm weather). If you like more specific style tips, then please send us an e-mail through our contact us tab and our stylist Ashley will be happy to make suggestions. Just tell us what suit (color, cut, and pattern) as well as what dress shirt (color and pattern) you will be wearing, and we are happy to suggest some great ties for you.

  3. sadi

    Hi Eric

    I am wearing a dark blue suit to a wedding (its not super formal), I was wondering if a red or a black bow tie would suit me better? Its not a tux, its a suit.

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Sadi, a red (darker red actually) bow tie would be better than black. While a black bow tie is formal, it might clash when worn with a very dark blue suit. If the wedding is in the spring season, then here would be a perfect one for you (simply copy/paste this):

    Hope this helps.

  5. Tom

    Hi. We will be celebrating our graduation ball this coming March 9. Just wondering if black bowtie will suite me if i’m wearing a black coat, dark gray long sleeves, and black pants? Or what bowtie color will suite me? TIA! :)

  6. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Tom,

    Certainly! A black bow tie is a classic style staple. It is elegant, formal, and timeless. If you want to really impress, then learn how to tie your own bow tie! Also well suited for formal evening functions are solid bow ties in dark navy or maroon.

  7. Bill

    Hi , I’ll wear a dark blue suit for prom night. … and I don’t know what color should I choose for my bowtie …. can youhelp me please ??

  8. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Bill, most formal would be a very dark navy blue bow tie or a bow tie in a dark burgundy color. But, since you are going to Prom, the strict dress code is not as critical. We often see the guys wearing bow ties that match the girls’ dresses, for instance…

  9. chad

    I am attending a graduation and will be wearing a solid green long sleeve express 1mx shirt with grey or black slacks. Im curious as to what color bowtie would best fit…. I would really like a colorful option if it would fit but as someone who doesnt wear bowties too often I want to make the right selection.

    Help would be greatly appreciated

  10. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Chad, can you tell me a bit more about what shade of green the shirt is? Is it a light green, bright green, or a darker green. Typically you want your tie to be darker in color than the shirt. You mentioned you are looking for a bright colored bow tie. One that would stand out a little. I would suggest to pick a bow tie with a pattern (like a madras plaid). The bow tie should also feature a shade of green similar to the shirt. Here are two options I think that would work very well:

  11. Rhys

    Hi, My wedding is in september (spring down in Australia) and i am wearing a navy suit but not the traditional dark navy, its a shade or two lighter with a white shirt. I am struggling with my bowtie selection… the bride is wearing ivory and the bridesmaids are in cream with the flowers and colours of the wedding being pastels. I have looked at patterns,paisleys,checks,dots etc but not sure which way to go! any suggestions??

  12. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    HI Rhys, thanks for all the detail. This makes it very helpful. How about a tie in a coral shade? Coral is a shade of pink with a red undertone. It is perfect for spring and summer weddings, and it looks fantastic with blue summer suits. Another great color are pastel pinks

    Here are a few suggestions (please copy/paste into your address bar):

  13. leah

    Hi. Me and my partner are going to a wedding and he is determined to wear his dickie bow. Its dark purple and has small white polka dots. What colour shirt and trousers would you suggest??

  14. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Leah, that sounds like a great looking bow tie. For shirt colors, the classic white one is always a good fit. But you can also go with a light lavender (as long as it doesn’t clash with the purple of the bow tie). Personally, instead of adding more color on the shirt I would stick to a classic white shirt and then add more “uniqueness” by the shirt pattern or weave. A subtle solid white herringbone or fine gingham plaid (in white, silver, and gray) would be perfect. For the suit you can opt for any color. For the spring and summer I would suggest tan or navy suits. I hope this is helpful.

  15. Gus

    Hi, I am attending a graduation and I am wearing a medium-light grey suit with a lavender shirt. What colour bow tie would suit this best?
    Thanks in Advance :)

  16. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Guys, lavender shirt and a light gray suit is a fantastic color combination! Great bow tie colors are dark purple, charcoal, light silver, and midnight blue. I hope this helps.

  17. Ian

    Hey guys, I am attending a college prom which I decides to wear black suit (black coat and pants) and a black shirt. What color should my bow tie be? If it’s black will be a clash. I am considering maroon or red. What do you think?

  18. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Richard, it depends on how classic you want to go. The most classic and timeless look would be the solid black bow tie. Want some contrast while still keeping the look elegant for evening formal wear? Then try the solid silver bow tie. Patterns should be avoided.

  19. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Ian, yes you can definitely go with a Maroon colored bow tie. Silver would also be a nice choice, and black would work very well also as long as it is a true black and not a shade of charcoal or gray. Keep the bow tie solid in color without any pattern.

  20. Vaibhav Shukla

    Sir, I’m 18 and I’ve just got a dark blue (almost black) coloured suit stitched. I’m wondering what coloured bow tie should I wear. Also, its a day time event and I intend to pair it with a pocket square.
    Thanks in advance :)

  21. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Vaibhav, congrats on the new suit. Dark midnight blue is a color that pairs well with any tie color. But, because it is a daytime event, I would suggest a bow tie that is NOT black and that is NOT solid in color. If the event is in the spring and summer, then bow ties in light blue, pink, yellow, and green are excellent picks for a dark blue suit.

  22. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    That all depends on the dress code and how formal the event is. For formal functions choose solid black for the bow tie. Good formal alternatives are silver, dark navy, as well as burgundy. Bright colors should be avoided for evening wear and are best for daytime functions such as weddings. Also, the more pattern, the more casual the bow tie will be.

  23. kapil

    I am to attending a wedding at night time and will be wearing a white shirt with black formal pant (jet black) which colour bow tie should I wear?

  24. dave

    For my brothers wedding i will be wearing a white long sleeve shirt and a Navy blue 3piece suit. What shape and color bow tie do you suggest. It will be an evening wedding. I am large with a roundish face. I also dont really want to stick out. I just want something a little more fancy for the occasion

  25. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi Kapil, black pants and a white shirt will work for any bow tie. But because the event is at night I suggest a more classic bow tie color in silver, charcoal, black, burgundy, or navy. Also, to avoid looking like a waiter I would stay away from a solid black bow tie. Instead pick something with a little bit of pattern or design. Small pin dots or a monochromatic paisley design would be perfect here.

  26. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    HI Dave, great choice on the 3-piece suit in blue. That alone will earn you style points! As for the bow tie I suggest a self-tie one with a little bit of texture and color. Here are some suggestions (please copy/paste these links into your address bar):

  27. JB

    Hello, I am attending a pretty formal event. Going to try out a bow tie, I have a black suit and pants with a lighter blue long sleeve shirt. Trying to figure out what color bow tie would match best with that combo? Preferably something solid and not overly flashy. Thanks

  28. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Hi JB, if you want something formal, then swap the light blue shirt for a solid white one and pair it with a solid black or silver bow tie. As for the light blue shirt and black suit combo a great bow tie colors are: gray, silver, burgundy, dark navy.

  29. TP

    Hi, I will be attending a dinner I consider formal (my partner’s going to wear a light yellow evening gown). I will be wearing a black suit and I have a grey bowtie. Do you think a white shirt will suit me better (black suit + grey bowtie) or shall I wear a light yellow shirt (will it look awkward with the grey bowtie?) to suit my partner? Thanks a lot!

  30. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    Definitely no light yellow shirt for the formal evening function. Stick to the solid white shirt which is always classic and elegant. If you want to to match your date’s dress, then you need to do so via smaller accessories. A boutonniere, pocket square, and/or bow tie will do the trick.

  31. Bows-N-Ties Post author

    HI Ervene, that is some bold color you picked out. Great job! As for the bow tie, I would suggest something that reflects some of the color on the jacket or the shirt. How about this one right here: (please copy/paste the address into your address bar)

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