Few of us have ever had the pleasure (or pain) of tying a bow tie. The wedding and prom season staple — now co-opted by hipsters — was seen as too complicated a knot for the modern man to pull off, so clip-ons and cleanly pre-tied options ruled the style landscape. But you cannot order a martini, shaken or stirred, in clip-on. The good news: The knot isn’t really as difficult as you might think, and honestly a little mess can go a long way toward an authentically masculine look. It’s okay that it’s off kilter. So man up and follow this quick step-by-step guide to look your best on the red carpet — at your sister’s third wedding.
The Basic Bow Tie
Start: The bowtie should be draped around your neck face up, with an extra couple inches of fabric on your left side than on your right side. Also, pour some Scotch.
Step 1: Cross the longer side (we’ll call it A) over the shorter side (now B).
Step 2: Bring A up through the neck loop towards your chin.
Step 3: Fold B at the wide joint so it resembles a classic bow shape with even sides.
Step 4: Bring A over the top and wrap it around the center of B’s bow shape.
Step 5: Fold A at its wide joint and pinch the fold.
Step 6: Push the pinched fold through the loop created behind B.
Step 7: Pull the folds to tighten and adjust, balancing the sides.
Step 8: Untie it, down your Scotch, and try again. It may take a few attempts, but you’ll be infinitely prouder when it’s done. Then you can let it hang around your neck at the end of the night, like the fifth member of the Rat Pack, letting everyone know you wore a real bow tie. And you probably tied it yourself.
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