Everyone likes a little variety. That’s why we’ve got three different methods—Half Windsor, Full Windsor, Four-in-Hand—for securing your necktie in the morning. But when it comes to the bow tie, there’s just the one technique. (And once you’ve mastered it, we’d wager you won’t be looking to learn a new one anytime soon.) So how to inject a little diversity into the mix? That’s where shape comes in. Here, the three main types.
The blades of the tie—the parts that don’t wrap around your neck—are cut straight, and generally measure about 1.5” to 2” at the widest point. Taking a look at an actual bat’s wing, it’s clear that the rationale for the name is either lost to the ages or was never there, but it makes for a slim, modern bow, nonetheless.
Unlike the batwing, it’s pretty easy to see where the moniker comes from: The blades are shaped like, well, butterflies. (It’s also called the “thistle” by some, but the alternative is more popular.) The narrow center of each blade forms the knot, and the bow flares out to around 2.5” in from there. It’s the classic bow tie shape, and it’s got a place in every guy’s wardrobe.
Not really a new shape, but a variation on either the batwing or butterfly. Instead of ending with a blunt, straight line, the diamond tapers to a point at either end of the bow. It creates an asymmetrical bow—the point faces out on one side, and backwards, towards the neck, on the other—that’s a nice counterpoint to the bow tie’s formal associations, and it’s a great way to mix things up a bit.