When to Wear What: Bow Ties Vs. Neckties
Are you confused about what piece of neckwear is better suited for what occasion? Do you prefer the look of neckties but are uncertain weather or not one would be suited for a particular event? Below is a helpful summary for basic dress code etiquette related to bow ties and neckties.
Formal attire, or more specifically “black tie” attire will require you to wear a bow tie. Not just any bow tie will do, but the solid color black bow tie is the gold standard for traditional formal functions in combination with a black tuxedo.
“Warm Weather” Back Tie
As the name suggests, warm weather black tie refers to a formal function occurring during the day and in warm weather. Such functions are typically associated with open-air events. Formal weddings are a classic example. Just like standard black tie attire, warm weather black tie traditionally requires a bow tie. The black bow tie is still the preferred neckwear of choice. The tuxedo jacket is typically white instead of the traditional black.
“Black Tie” Optional
“Black Tie” optional dress code is also often referred to “semi-formal” attire. As the name suggests, tuxedo and bow tie is acceptable, but there is a trend of dressing down. If you like the look of the tuxedo, then wear a non-black, but sold color bow tie with it. If the event is during the day, and/or in warm weather, then lighter colored bow ties are an excellent choice.
If you don’t own a tuxedo, and do not want to rent one, then a dark gray or black 2-piece suit is also well suited for “Black Tie Optional” attire. Wear a white dress shirt, black shoes, and formal necktie with your 2-piece suit. The best neckties are solid color ties that are made from a smooth satin-silk. As a general rule: The darker the necktie, the more formal it will appear.
Depending on your industry and company culture, business attire can vary widely. Traditional business attire consists of 2-piece suit, dress shirt, and necktie. The most popular dress shirt colors are white, blue, gray, and even light pink. The most popular necktie colors are blue and burgundy red. Striped neckties are also very popular.
“Business Casual” Attire
Wear neither necktie or bow tie! “Business Casual” means that you should dress nice but not too formal. No full suit, and no neckwear is needed. Dress shoes, dress pants, and dress shirts on the other hand make up the basis for “Business Casual”. Stay away from tennis shoes, shorts, sandals, and jeans!