Bow Ties vs Neckties: Which Is Better? (Guide)

Thinking of wearing a bow tie instead of a necktie to an event but not sure if it will be considered casual or formal?

No worries. We understand that you don’t want to get overdressed but, at the same time, don’t want to look utterly casual either.

Here is The Differences Between a Bow Tie And A Neck Tie:

Neckties and bow ties both are used in formal and semi-formal dress codes for special events. Bow ties are generally worn with tuxedos and pleated shirts – both of which are considered highly formal.

That is why bow ties are usually worn to formal gatherings or events only. However, it is not a rule to wear only a bow tie with a tuxedo.

If you are not sure about the differences between a necktie and a bow tie, you have come to the right place.

Here we will look at which of these options is more formal and where exactly to wear either one of them. We will also find out if you can tie a necktie into a bow tie. So, let’s get started.

What is the Difference Between a Necktie and a Bow Tie?

In addition to the way they are worn around the neck, there are some subtle differences between these two accessories when it comes to formal, semi-formal, or casual attire.

You are not supposed to wear bow ties to every gathering. However, if you want to make it one of your personal style statements, then go ahead and wear it without feeling uncomfortable.

Not everyone can carry a bow tie with confidence, and therefore if you decide to wear it, you are considered self-assured and highly poised.

When it comes to a necktie, there are many ways to wear it, such as four-in-hand, Windsor knot, half-Windsor, and so on.

On the other hand, there is only one style to wear a bow tie; however, it comes in different types, such as clip-on and pre-tied bows.

A bow tie can be considered a standard variant of a necktie. However, most people prefer a necktie because it makes them feel comfortable in their skin.

Are Bow Ties Considered Neckties?

Yes, the bow tie is a type of necktie and something that came after the necktie as its variant.

However, their shapes and the way they are worn around the neck make them quite different from one another.

Deciding whether to wear a necktie or a bow tie to an event depends on the other pieces of your outfit.

The style of your shirt, whether you are wearing a traditional suit or a tuxedo, and the formality of the event you are about to attend are all deciding factors for your neckwear.

Can You Tie a Necktie into a Bow Tie?

Yes, you can use your regular necktie to tie a bow around the collar.

Using your necktie as a bow tie is known as repurposing, and it’s something a lot of people do nowadays to save money.

However, when you don’t want to buy a new bow tie or only need to wear it to a single event, you can choose a necktie from your collection and use it as a bow tie.

You will need to fold the necktie and stitch it in a few places to make sure it sits nicely around the neck and looks like a real bow tie.

Sometimes you might need to cut the necktie in half and use the extra piece to tie the center of the bow tie.

Which is Better: A Necktie or a Bowtie?

It largely depends on your preference and what you’re wearing.

As previously pointed out, bow ties are usually meant for infrequent and special occasions only. However, you can wear it to any event if you can carry it well.

If we talk about the opposite sex and what women prefer in men, we see that about 60% of women prefer men who wear traditional neckties.

Also, about 72% of women are impressed by men who wear a tie on their first date.

A bow tie will not suit you if the space between your chin and your neck is short. If this is the case, always wear a necktie as it will be the safest choice for you.

Silk bow ties will never go out of style. These accessories have evolved into a fashion statement over the years instead of just being limited to very formal gatherings and academic functions. However, bow ties are not as common as traditional neckties, making them even more alluring and stylish.

Is a Bow Tie More Formal than a Regular Tie?

Yes, a bow tie is a formal piece of clothing, and it is usually worn with a tuxedo and pleated formal shirts only. However, if there is a dress code for the event you’re going to and it is mentioned to wear a black tie, then wear a black bow tie instead of a regular necktie.

If you are attending a casual gathering and there is no specific dress code, then it’s evident that everyone will be wearing a traditional necktie.

However, if you must wear a bow tie to a formal event, make sure you don’t wear a pre-tied bow tie. Men who don’t know how to tie a knot are not considered gentlemen and so, tie it yourself and carry it with confidence when you have to wear it.


Bow ties and neckties are both parts of formal attire for men.

However, traditional neckties are more common and more accessible to carry than bow ties. When you have to wear a bow tie to an event, always pay attention to the size of the collar, which shouldn’t be too small or too large compared to the size of the tie.

Typically, it is seen that people who dare to be different wear a bow tie to an event if it’s not supposed to be very formal. However, if you also decide to don one instead of a regular necktie, you are definitely opting to make a statement. Regardless of which one of these accessories you choose to put on, it is essential to wear it like a pro.

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