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What bow tie for your tuxedo?

tuxedo bowtie

Are you having a gala or a fancy dinner soon? It probably says on your invitation that you are expected in the dress code ‘black tie’. Is your first thought to run to the store (or open your laptop) and buy a black tie? Then it's high time you invest a few minutes of your time in the etiquette of the tuxedo. Indeed, gentlemen wear a tuxedo to a black-tie occasion.


What's a tuxedo?

A tuxedo. Chances are you don't have one in your closet. So here's an overview of what is meant by this outfit:

  • Black trousers with a satin piping on the outside of your trouser legs that runs all the way from top to bottom.
  • A white shirt with a traditional “father killer” collar. This is a collar where the only two points of the collar are folded forward, so the collar seems to fly above your shirt. Many men also choose a different collar shape, it's up to you.
  • The tuxedo shirt traditionally has a blind button closure, so there is a band over the buttons at the front so that they are no longer visible. This is also called a pleated shirt. Here too you can make your own choice. Do you just want to show your buttons, absolutely fine. You can also choose a shirt with contrasting black buttons.
  • The tuxedo shirt has double cuffs. That's the name for a shirt where the cuffs (at the end of the sleeve) are turned over and where normally there is a button, allowing you to use cufflinks. Choose for example a classic silver coloured pair or go for coloured cufflinks, perhaps to match your square.
  • A bow tie. Choose a satin bow tie preferably in silk. Read more in this article for tips on choosing the right bow tie.
  • A pair of braces with leather loops. Normally there are about 6 buckles sewn to your waistband on the inside of your trousers. You can attach your tuxedo braces to this.
  • Don't you want to wear braces? A black, smooth leather belt is also a great choice.
  • Officially you're supposed to wear a white pocket square in your breast pocket, but this accessory lends itself perfectly to make your own choice. For example, choose a striking red pocket square or opt for a pocket square in the colour of your bow tie.
  • Black socks.
  • Black shoes. Traditionally you should wear shiny lacquered shoes with a buckle closure. But if you go for lace-ups with a coloured blue lace and wear a blue bow tie it will look great too.


A tuxedo officially consists of a black suit, but if you want to give your own twist to your outfit then dark blue or burgundy is also a good choice. Let yourself be inspired by a few examples below:

tuxedo bow tie

Which bow tie do I choose for my tuxedo?

Do you want to appear at your gala or dinner according to the rules? Then choose a white or black bow tie in satin silk. This fabric has a rich look and a beautiful sheen by candlelight. If your bank balance is tight at the end of the month or you don't expect a gala in the coming years, you can also buy a polyester bowtie. Although the look is a bit less chic, polyester is not only cheaper, but it is also a lot easier to clean than silk.


Traditionally, a self-tie bow tie is worn. This used to be one long ribbon which meant that you could not adjust it to size. Nowadays self-tie bow ties consist of two parts that are connected by a hook, which makes it easy to adjust the size. The bowing takes some practice and  probably the first time it will take you at least 10 minutes to tie the knot. Read our step-by-step guide to tying your self-tie bow tie here, including a tutorial. A self-tie bow tie derives its charm mainly from the fact that it will not be perfectly symmetrical so don't get frustrated if it doesn't look like the pre-tied bow tie.

black self tie bow tie

Classic tuxedo self-tie bow tie

Do you have a little less patience, then a pre-tied bow tie is a fine alternative. This bow tie also has a hook to adjust the size which is very handy because when you are buying a bow tie, you don't have to worry whether it will fit around your neck. Not sure about how to tie the pre-tied bow tie? Have a look here about how to attach your bow tie around your neck.


Pick a colour

A bow tie lends itself perfectly to distinguishing yourself in a sea of dark suits. You can estimate for yourself how formal the occasion is. If, for example, you are invited to a wedding, then it is undoubtedly appreciated if you give a festive accent to your tuxedo. A bow tie is the perfect accessory.  Choose for example a striking red bow tie and wear a pair of cufflinks in the same colour. Or tie a royal blue bow tie around your neck and put one of our blue pocket squares in your breast pocket. It's not just colour that sets you apart, it's also material that makes you stand out. Velvet, for example, gives a warm and luxurious look, a woollen bow tie gives your look a trendy accent whereas a knitted bow tie adds a retro touch.


Velvet bow tie

Velvet bow tie in burgundy

It is important to remember that if the occasion is very formal - such as an opening or a special ceremony you should opt for a black or white bow tie.


And what does white tie mean?

If there is white tie on your invitation, you will be expected to wear a dress suit. This is a black dress coat with tails, often jokingly referred to a penguin jacket. You will also wear a white shirt with a white or black bow tie and possibly a cumberband. The difference is in the fact that at a black-tie event you can give your own touch to your outfit and at a white tie event you have to stick to the dress code. A white tie event might only happen once in your life. For example, when you have a meeting with the royal house or another very ceremonial chic event.


Now that you know everything there is to know about the bow tie, it's time to make your choice. We've put together a beautiful collection, in the right sizes and best materials, so you'll find the perfect one to go with your tuxedo or costume! 

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