Bow tie 101

Sam Kammermeier, senior in nutritional science, and AJ Tjaden, junior in international business and marketing, display their bow ties on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Delta Upsilon fraternity house.

Kenzi Mongar

The bow tie stemmed from a similar neck accessory called a cravat in the 17th century. Croatian mercenaries used the neckwear to hold up the collars of their shirts, according to

The ties were snatched by the French upper class, who were considered fashionable at the time, the website says.

Over time, the cravat transformed into the bow tie. The bow tie saw its peak during the early 1900s. After World War II, though, it lost its every day appearance.

The bow tie is trying to make its way back into everyday fashion.

Bow Tie 101:

  • Bow ties are one size and adjust 13 to 18 inches.
  • Bow ties should always be darker than your shirt.
  • Clip-on bow ties can be quickly detected by people who are familiar with real bow ties.

There are five steps to tie a bow tie.

  1. Place tie around neck and cross ends
  2. Overlap the ends and put one tail into bow form
  3. Bring over other tail to make a knot
  4. Bring one end through the other to hold the knot
  5. Tighten and pull each tail as needed

There are three general fabrics:

  • Cotton – for a more casual look
  • Silk – for a nicer look
  • Polyester

To read a story about two ISU students who specialize in bow ties, click here