Blondie_dagwThere are two secrets to tying a bow tie:

Secret #1. The knot is the same as your shoe. (Unless your shoes are lace-free or Velcro.) And, of course, it is like tying a shoe around your neck. You can do it!

Secret #2. It’s impossible to tie a bow tie. It is only possible to, first, mis-tie a bow tie and then, second, fix the bow tie. In my practice, I spend about 40% of the time tying the tie and, then, 60% of the time fixing it. People who become frustrated tying a bow tie mistakenly think that it is possible to simply tie the tie and have it look right. It isn’t; it doesn’t. Tie it, then fix it.

A Google search will reveal many step-by-step illustrations, each more confusing than the last. And a mirror might simply confuse you.

You can do it!

I have tied bow ties for more than 25 years. Some of the questions I hear are:

Q: “How many bow ties do you have? Where to you get them?”
A: Though I wear them, I’m not a collector. I have 50 or so, but only 25 that I usually wear. Most of my ties are from Beau Ties Ltd.

Q: “Why do you wear a bow tie?”
A: Several reasons:

1. The bow tie never gets in the way; I never spill food on it.
2. A bow tie frames the face, where conversation is focused, rather than pointing to irrelevant body parts.
3. A bow tie suggests a different point of view, so it’s a good start to any conversation.
4. Bow ties are rarely in fashion, so I don’t have to worry about whether my tie is current.
5. If my tie is tied just slightly incorrectly, lovely ladies will fix it all day long.
6. Contrary to common opinion, bow ties are easier to tie. (I am frustrated by managing the length and dimple of the four-in-hand tie.)

Q: “When did you start wearing bow ties?”
A: I learned how as a bartender in college. Then, early in my career in New York, I wanted to build a wall between my workday and my nightlife. On my way out of the office, it was impractical to change my clothes (my apartment was too far from the office), so I simply changed my tie. Wearing a bow tie was my way of expressing that I had clocked out from the day job. (I was raised by Mr. Rogers.)

Q: “Do you only wear bow ties?”
A: Pretty much. Mrs. Isaac likes me in a long tie, so I might wear a long tie when we go out for dinner. When I do, people who know me all week long walk right past, as if I’m wearing a disguise. As I have become a bow-tied caricature in public, taking off the tie has become an easy way to hide in plain view.

Here’s what a bow tie can do for you.