Once the decision is made to go the bow and establish a few ground rules—namely no clip-ons and no synthetic fabrics—the next challenge is finding the style that suits.
Bow tie specialist Nicholas Atgemis, founder of Le Noeud Papillon, suggests a degree of trial and error to get it right. “Play with them, try different ones to see what suits your face,” he says. It doesn’t hurt to know a bat from a butterfly before you start…
Butterfly (top) With a cinched centre, the butterfly has flared, triangular wings. “Depending on how big you cut the shape, it can look too voluminous on some people,” Atgemis says. “You don’t want it to be so big that it takes up a large proportion of the neck—it comes up quite high and can actually touch it.”
Batwing (middle) The most universal shape, the batwing is recognisable by square ends curved into the centre of the bow. “It’s a blocky shape, not as curved and flared on either side as a classic butterfly,” Atgemis says. Choose a slim batwing (tips 3-4cm wide) or wide batwing. “The slim batwing is that Frank Sinatra 50s look, good for a very thin person. Conversely a bigger frame suits a wide batwing.”
Diamond point (bottom) The is a variation on either the batwing or butterfly where the edges of each side peak outwards. “A person with a pointy, angular face would look good in a diamond point,” says Atgemis.