Expert Q+A

I've noticed a resurgence of bow-tie wearing among guys my age. Should I get one? If so, when am I supposed to wear it?


The look has definitely been trending the past few years, but you have to be in the right mood. In the same way that a woman has to be ready to wear a red dress, you’ve got to be ready to wear a bow tie. Because people will notice; they will look at you.

Basically, I think there are two ways to wear a bow tie: for a really dressy look and for a fun, casual one. Are you hosting a holiday party? Going to an event where you’ll be in a tuxedo? A bow tie works in either case. I also like a bow tie with a more casual look, such as the collegiate, prep-school style. You could pair one with a blue denim shirt and corduroy blazer, moleskin pants and lace-up boots, but I wouldn’t wear one to a job interview -- it makes too big of a statement.

As for the kind of tie to buy, I prefer them a bit on the large side. Textured ties are great and will layer well with the rest of your outfit; try one in cashmere or wool rather than shiny silk. If you’re just starting out with bow ties in your wardrobe, consider matching the color with your favorite shirt or suit jacket. The resulting monochromatic look can be very elegant, and it’s not so “Bam! Here I come with my tie!”

There are plenty of videos on YouTube that will show you how to tie a bowtie correctly. You can also buy a pre-tied one (just not a clip-on, please). If you tie your own, chances are it won’t stay perfectly straight. But that’s OK; just go with it. -- As told to Thomas Farley

About the Expert

Joe Lupo Joe Lupo is the co-owner and lead stylist of Visual Therapy, a New York City–based personal styling and lifestyle company. Part of two-man “style SWAT team” widely covered in such publications as Vanity Fair, The New York Times, InStyle and Elle, he’s co-authored three books, including the most recent, Work It! Visual Therapy’s Guide to Your Ultimate Career Wardrobe.

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