You know the expression “it’s like riding a bike”? When something is so easy that you could not do it for years and it would still come to you easily and naturally…
Well, tying a bow tie is nothing like that.
The problem with the whole bow tie thing is that (for most men) the opportunity to wear one comes along very rarely. And every time, it’s pretty much like learning how to do it from scratch all over again.
It's one of those laws of physics or fashion or something that a bow tie will almost never tie perfectly on the first go, except in cases where one is not fully attired and ‘just practicing’. In such cases, it will turn out wonderfully—leaving you with no option but to untie, remove it and try again when wearing a tux, in which case it will take several attempts (for this reason, we heartily recommend bow ties with a clasp allowing the wearer to remove the tie whilst keeping the bow intact—not to be confused with a clip on tie. Just don't go there).
Having a handy diagram to reference when tying is, of course, rather helpful, but for our money an actual video guide is an indispensible tool.
This clip is courtesy of the fine folks at Details magazine—one minute and forty-one seconds worth of simple, clear and straightforward instructions. Essential Groom’s Editor-In-Chief swears by this as a foolproof how-to… by the third or fourt repeat, you’ll have it nailed.