Wearing a bow tie with any outfit is a blunt act of just not giving a sh*t what people think. If you can wrap your head around this concept that is the very first step in wearing a bow tie confidently.
No, you are not going to look like a waiter. No, you will not look like a professor unless you want to. And, no, you will not look like Peewee Herman. Often times, I find myself wanting to still wear a bow tie, but in a more casual sense.
Enter jeans. Pulling off this look is extremely simple when you know what you are doing. As you will see, it actually has very little to do with the jeans and almost everything to do with all things above your waist. First, let's cover how to actually tie a bow tie. If you already know how to do this, please feel free to skip ahead.
How to Tie a Bow Tie
I have personally been wearing bow ties for 6 years now. The first time I wore one was at my cousin's wedding in the summer of 2012. Admittedly I had no concept or clue how to actually tie a bow tie.
So lets first take a look at how to tie them. Below is the YouTube video I made when I returned home from the wedding. Since the summer of 2012, I have probably tied 5k plus bow ties.
ELLA BING has held bow tie tying events at the Haberdashery teach men how to do so. Also, anytime I go to an event where men are wearing bow tie, I am always sought out to assist. With all this said. The video below is old, but the content is gold. And it's still the same process I use today.
Pro Tip: Unlike the content of this video. Ensure your bow tie is no wider than your jawline. If the bow tie is outside your jawline (like in this video) that means you have the bow tie ribbon, sized too large. If this occurs, untie your bow tie and bring the size down one to two notches. If your bow tie sits at your jawline or past, you'll just end up looking like a guy who doesn't know what they are doing, or worse yet a clown.
Picking the Right Collar
Let's start with the type of shirt you should wear with a bow tie. Because, believe it or not, this make a huge difference.
First and foremost the number one rule here is to wear a shirt where the collar has structure. A slight rigidity goes a long way.
If your collar has little to no structure after you tie your bow tie your collar will be bunched up and looking disheveled. This is the number one rule to follow when picking the correct shirt to wear with your bow tie.
In general a straight point collar will do well. I would suggest staying away from long button-down collars, ie. collars that have buttons. This gives the collar a higher neckline, shrinking your neck. For a majority of men, this is not a good look. Save the wing tip collar for more formal situations such as Black Tie events.
Now let's talk about add-ons. I mean items that will compliment you when wearing a bow tie with jeans. A vest will do you miracles with this look. It's somewhat trendy, but also a classic look. And to be honest, most men are not confident enough to pull this look off. So when you do, you will be the cat's meow.
For an added twist. Do not forget a lapel pin or flower. This is a very important detail, most men skip over.
Another amazing add-on when wearing a bow tie with jeans is the addition of a fedora. I personally enjoy the hats over at Goorin Brothers, they give an updated look on traditional pieces. Again, wearing a fedora is something most men do not have the confidence to do. This is called winning for you.
Another key add-on can be suspenders or braces. suspenders work great if you have a long torso. I myself do not have a long torso and wearing suspenders compresses my upper body. Pro Tip: If you want to look like a real suspender aficionado, replace the alligator clips your suspenders probably already have. With having buttons sewn into your pants and using button-in straps, you will look like a real pro. Pro Tip 2: If you choose the suspenders route, never EVER wear a belt, for the sake of all things good in this world do not wear a belt.
Tucked or Untucked
Often A debated topic and I totally understand why some men might want to do this as wearing jeans is often associated with a casual look. But when you wear neckwear specifically a bow tie you are classing up casual denim.
When you wear your shirt untucked while wearing a bow tie, you are classing-down your look. In essence, doing the complete opposite as you set out to originally do. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with your shirt untucked.
NOW. with all this said. If you do decide to go untucked please ensure your dress shirt is not long. Remember, most dress shirts are long on purpose, why? Because they are meant to be tucked in. If you must, find a dress shirt, probably an oxford that falls no more than 4 inches past your belt.
Let's talk about your denim of choice. Jeans are very personalized. Obviously, since it is nearly 2019, that whole Ed Hardy look should be well gone from your vocabulary. Thank goodness. This still blows my mind when I see men wearing these jeans. But hey, to each their own.
I would certainly suggest dark denim, whether that is blue or black. Rips and tears are completely up to you. Just like your trousers or chinos, have your jeans tailored to better fit your body type. A well fitted pair of jeans can go a very long way.
What if I have no butt?
If you have no butt, we that sucks. But we have a solution for you. Go for a slim-straight tapered fit, stay away from jeans that sag in your rear end. Also, ensure the back pockets are not too small in comparison with your butt.
How about the Shoes?
With most things in life. It depends. Namely, because it matters what you chose to do from your ankles on up. I'm not going to sit here and tell you what is wrong or right with your shoes. I would suggest to stay way from trends and concentrate on the classics.