Keep It Interesting With These Bow Tie Knots

Keep It Interesting With These Bow Tie Knots

Modern gentlemen tend to tie their bows in a standard and consistent way, which may suggest that there aren’t other, perhaps fancy bow tie knots. Not so! As bow tie history plainly shows, there are numerous different bow tie knots to play with. 

Although, to be fair - as you will see - the more accurate way to describe types of bow tie knots is to address the different ways how to tighten a bow tie knot.   

How Do You Tie a Bow Tie Knot?

The first eight steps of every bow tie knot we’ve featured are the same - it’s how you adjust the bow once tied that determines the final look. We have an easy to follow step-by-step YouTube guide on how to tie a bow tie, and have also captured each step here. 

Note that these steps are written for the right-handed gentleman. If you are left-handed, try doing the opposite of these directions and see what it feels right.

Creating the ideal bow tie knot may be intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will be second nature. 

We have selected this handsome navy and white polka dot bow tie, in our Jackson shape, to demonstrate the basic knot. 

Step 1: Prepare 

Begin with your right side about an inch longer than your left.

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 1

Step 2: Cross

With your right hand, take the right side and cross it over the left. 

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 2

Step 3: Under & Through

Now, hold the left side in your right hand and, with your left hand, push the fabric under and through.

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 3

Step 4: Cinch

Once pulled through, cinch the ends in order to create a simple knot with sides of even length.

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 4

Step 5: First Bow

With the bottom side in hand, make your first bow by folding the fabric in half. In your left hand you’ll have a loop; in your right you’ll have the end.

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 5


Step 6: Pinch

Pull the first bow loop and its end to the front, leaving the top side to lay in between. Pinch the fabric together with your left hand, creating a hole.

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 6

Step 7: Second Bow

Switch the pinched fabric to your right hand and with your left take the long top side end and push it through the hole, letting your index finger create the loop as you push it through. 

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 7

Step 8: Tie & Tighten

As you would with shoelaces, now pull both bows until the knot is secure, comfortable and handsome. This is the basic knot.

This knot is also known as the Jackson style. It's great for less formal gatherings and ideal for creating all of the knots we’ve featured here.

How to Tie a Bow Tie - Step 8
The basic knot, tied here using R. Hanauer's Jackson shaped bow tie.

The Small Bow Tie Knot 

Pulling the fabric to create a tight central knot and neat, small bows quickly produces the small knot. Timeless and elegant, the small knot - which was Winston Churchill’s trademark knot - is a fantastic choice for the gentleman who is either more modest with his fine accessories, or has other accessories that he wishes to take center stage in the moment.

This is a small bow tie knot
The small knot, tied with our Jackson shaped bow tie.


The Parallel Bow Tie Knot

From the basic knot or small knot, creating the parallel knot is elementary. Simply loosen the knot and adjust the fabric until the bow presents in a softer, fuller formation.

This is the parallel bow tie knot
The parallel knot, tied with our Jackson shaped bow tie.


The Cross Bow Tie Knot

The cross knot offers a deliberate nod to Victorian bow ties of the past. Though it looks elaborate, it is another variation on the basic knot which - instead of being tucked and tied neatly, one bow on top of another - is pulled apart. The final result is akin to a traditional bow, such as is seen on a gift. It just requires a bit of fixing. Given its volume, the cross bow knot is best accomplished from the foundation of a fuller knot.

This is the Cross Bow Tie Knot

The cross knot, tied with our Jackson shaped bow tie.

Bow Tie Shape & Length

You can achieve varied bow tie looks by altering the length of the neckband, and by choosing different bow tie shapes

R. Hanauer's classic bow tie shape - the Henry


At R. Hanauer, we offer five basic shapes (the four below, plus the Jackson above): 

1. Classic: The Henry / Churchill

The Henry / Churchill has a 2¼" standard style bow tie shape, and is among our most popular styles.

The Churchill / Henry Bow Tie Knot Style
The Henry / Churchill, tied into a basic knot.

2. Butterfly: The Phillip & The Stuart

Our 2½" butterfly bow tie, the Phillip, is also a well-favored shape at R. Hanauer - as is our 3” butterfly, the Stuart.

The Phillip Bow Tie Knot Style

 The Phillip, tied into a basic bow tie knot.


The Stuart Bow Tie Knot Style

 The Stuart, tied into a basic bow tie knot.

3. Diamond Tip: The Louie & The Stanley

We offer two diamond tip bow ties - the 2 ⅜” Louie and the 2” Stanley. This cut is also known as the Diamond End or Diamond Point

A diamond tip bow tie, tied in a Louie style

 The Louie, tied into a basic knot. 

4. Single End Bow Tie

The Single End bow tie is for the connoisseur who strives for simple elegance. Having no hardware, the Single End is an especially good choice for a tuxedo shirt.

Single End Bow Tie Style


More Bow Tie Knot Knowledge!

Menswear is full of tradition and nuance, and it just so happens to be our favorite topic! The R. Hanauer Gentleman’s Guide is chock full of information and inspiration for all ages, including: 

Check out our social media pages as well - we’re on Facebook and Instagram. We invite you to share your favorite #RHanauer looks and to tell us what menswear tips, tricks and history would be of interest to you. We’re here to help!