Mens Bow ties can make you look smart and elegant provided you know when to wear formal bow ties and when to wear casual bow ties. Wearing a wrong bow tie can make your whole look go for a toss. In order to make an informed decision, it would be better to know the difference between formal and casual bow ties.  


A bowtie is a kind of a necktie. It has a ribbon of a fabric that is tied around the collar in a symmetrical manner in a way that 2 opposite extremes form 2 loops. Mens bow ties have been popular since the time immemorial. So much so, that once known only as a strict formal accessory, it is now being adorned for casual occasions too.


Formal Vs Casual Bow Ties

A bowtie is not like the formal long tie. It is quite different. It may be worn for a formal occasion or a casual occasion as well. Now the question is how you decide which bowtie is formal and which bowtie is casual.


Well, the occasion as well as the time you are going to wear the bowties for, defines if a bowtie is formal or casual. Thus, you need to intelligently pick up a bowtie. Here are some factors that will help you decide whether a bow tie is formal or casual.



On the Basis of Design

Bow Tie Designs

Bow ties come in various types of designs and patterns. From Paisley to stripes, solid colored, twill; there are too many designs to comprehend. While paisley and striped bow ties can be easily classified as formal bow ties, polka dot ones or the ones with quirky designs like a flag or a cartoon character on them can make for perfect casual bow ties. Here, it is the solid colored ones that can be most confusing since they can be worn for both the occasions depending on how you match them with your attire.



On the Basis of Color



Bow Ties Colors




There is no specific rule here as it may depend entirely on how you team it up with the rest of your attire. For instance a black bow tie with a tuxedo makes for a perfect wedding suit but if the same is teamed up with a nice casual white shirt with shorts may give you that classy casual look. However, if you do not want to experiment too much, then bright colors can be kept for casual affairs while dark solid colors can make for perfect formal bow ties.



On the Basis of Fabric

Bow Ties Fabrics


More than anything else, fabric plays probably the most important role in classifying the tie as a formal or a casual one. Silk and cotton can be perfect formal bow ties but a linen bow tie is generally looked on as casual bow ties. Woolen bow ties are strictly casual too.  The thumb rule here is that a bow tie that has a shiny texture is generally best for formal occasions while the ones with dull or matte type of finish can be used for casual occasions.



On the Basis of how you mix it

A lot depends on how you mix and match your bow tie with your attire to make it a formal or a casual one. This especially comes handy when you are confused between solid color bow ties. While the matching has to be more subtle for formal occasions, “contrast” is the keyword when you wish to wear a bow tie for casual occasions. For instance, teaming up a Red bow tie with a contrasting blue shirt makes the whole attire casual easily. However, if you wear a black bow tie with the same shirt, it may easily be classified as formal attire.


There is a thin line between formal and casual mens bow ties. In the end, it all depends on how you carry it off. Bow tie is not for everyone; only for those who know how to style it and carry it with confidence.