Bow Tie vs. Necktie: Which Is Better?

Understanding when and why you should be wearing the right accessories means you will always appear prepared for the event you’re attending. Whether you’re choosing wedding attire or looking for casual men’s attire for work, sometimes it’s tough to determine when to wear a tie, how to wear a tie, and which tie to choose. 

With different types of ties for men available, you’re left with a few questions: Should you go for a hand-crafted bow tie? What’s the proper tie length if you choose a necktie? Is there some dress code for men out there that dictates what you have to wear? 

The good news? We’ve made things a bit easier for you by settling the great bow tie vs. necktie debate once and for all. 

The History Behind Bow Ties & Neckties

Choosing a bow tie or necktie often depends on the type of event you’re attending, and it can also rely on your sense of style. For example, maybe you like the dapper, cheeky look of a bow tie, even with casual clothing. Or perhaps you enjoy adding southern-style neckties or a bold floral necktie to your favorite workwear. 

Before the bow tie vs. neckties dispute, it’s important to know a bit about the history behind both of these pieces of neckwear. The bow tie traces back to the 17th century to a cravat seen in what used to be known as Yugoslavia. Then, the French, always trailblazers when it comes to fashion, came up with what we know as the bow tie today.

Neckties are a newer neckwear innovation, and they took off back in the 1920s. At that time, some had military symbolism, and you even had hand-painted options. By the 1950s and ‘60s, neckties got a more professional look that became popular with suits. 

Coming to the great debate on which piece of neckwear is better, there’s really no one answer here. The best choice will depend on how casual or formal an event would be. More formal occasions demand a bow tie, while less formal events may allow for a necktie or no tie at all. Of course, if the event’s formality isn’t dictating what you wear — it all comes down to your style!

How to Wear Both

Should you wear a bow tie or necktie? Here are some common situations and the right option for each one:

  • Pleated shirts. Are you wearing a formal pleated shirt? If so, a bow tie will be the best choice, especially if you’re wearing button studs with the pleated shirt. 
  • Donning a tux. Anytime you have a tux, your best bet is a bow tie, whether you choose a black bow tie or a fun color. If the event is a bit more laid back and you want to wear a necktie, go with a simple black silk or satin option. 
  • Suits. Bow ties, such as a cotton bow tie, can look great with suits and make you stand out. However, it’s fine to wear a necktie with a suit. There’s no wrong choice!

When it comes to bow ties versus neckties, there’s no one winner. It all depends on what you’re wearing and where you’re headed when you make your choice. Just remember, no matter which option you choose, the quality of your tie impacts how you look, so stick with well-made neckwear for every occasion.

At High Cotton Ties, we have a wide selection of heirloom-quality men’s accessories to make everyone look and feel their very best. Browse our wide selection of bow ties and neckties today!