Mastering Bow Tie & Suspenders: Top Styling Tips

Mastering Bow Tie & Suspenders: Top Styling Tips

Delving into men's accessories, the bow tie and suspenders epitomize timeless fashion. These items have elegantly graced the collars and waists of many, from debonair gentlemen of yore to stylish influencers on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest today.

Long before their current stylish status, suspenders were purely utilitarian, ensuring trousers stayed in place. Over decades, these straps transformed from a mere functional item to a bold fashion statement.

Whether leather or fabric, wide or narrow, suspenders now command attention. Their colors and styles accent a gentleman's outfit, offering both comfort and a dash of panache.

The Basics Of Bow Tie Selection

Venturing into the world of bow ties, one quickly discerns the distinction between pre-tied and self-tie varieties. 

  • The pre-tied bow tie offers convenience, perfect for those in a rush or unfamiliar with tying. 
  • The self-tie, on the other hand, appeals to the purist, exuding a sophisticated touch that showcases one's style adeptness.

Beyond the tie type, the fabric and pattern play pivotal roles. From dapper silk to smart cotton and subtle patterns to eye-catching designs, the right choice can elevate an outfit from mundane to magnificent.

Pairing Bow Ties And Suspenders: The Do's & Don’t

Here's a table for pairing bow ties and suspenders, focusing on both the do's and don'ts:

The Do's

The Don'ts

Harmony in fashion is about colors and patterns dancing in concert.

Avoid overly matching every item, which can appear contrived and deprive the outfit of charm.

A paisley bow tie paired with solid color suspenders provides a touch of contrast that makes one stand out.

Clashing patterns that jostle for attention should be avoided.

The shirt acts as a canvas, tying the accessories together.

Mismatched themes (e.g., formal bow tie with casual suspenders) create discord.

Choose the shirt's color and pattern to complement, not combat, your accessories.

Neglecting fit and proportion can lead to an unbalanced look.

Experiment with textures, like a silk bow tie with leather suspenders, for a unique look.

Ignoring the occasion—ensure the bow tie and suspenders are appropriate for the event.

Coordinate with accessories like pocket squares or cufflinks for a cohesive look.

Overloading on accessories can make the outfit look cluttered and distracting.

Use neutral tones in one piece to allow bolder patterns in another to shine.

Forgetting to consider your build—choose suspenders and bow ties that suit your body type.

Balance bold and subtle elements to avoid an overwhelming appearance.

Avoid overly flashy or novelty designs in formal settings.

Remember the overall style—vintage, modern, casual, or formal—and stick to it.

Skipping a test fit—always try on the complete outfit before the event to ensure harmony.



Accessorizing The Look

Beyond the bow tie and suspenders lies a trove of accessories to explore. A pocket square can mirror or contrast with the bow tie, offering a nuanced touch. When chosen correctly, watches don't just tell time; they narrate a tale of one's taste. And cufflinks? They're the unsung heroes, holding a shirt's elegance in place.

The History and Evolution of Bow Ties and Suspenders

Once seen as mere functional accessories, bow ties, and suspenders have evolved into quintessential elements of sartorial elegance. Originating in the 17th century, the bow tie has its roots in the cravat, a piece of cloth Croatian mercenaries wore around their necks.

By the 19th century, it had transformed into the modern bow tie, symbolizing sophistication and intellectual prowess. On the other hand, Albert Thurston invented suspenders in 1820. Initially, they served a purely practical purpose—to hold up trousers. 

Over time, however, they became a fashion statement, particularly popular in the 1920s and 1930s, before falling out of favor and resurging in contemporary fashion.

Different Types and Styles of Bow Ties

Bow ties come in various shapes and styles, each conveying a different aesthetic. 

  • With its symmetrical wings, the classic butterfly exudes timeless elegance and is suitable for formal occasions. 
  • The batwing, with its slim profile, offers a more modern and minimalist look, ideal for contemporary settings.
  • With its pointed tips, the diamond point adds a touch of quirkiness and is perfect for making a subtle statement. 
  • Self-tie bow ties, though requiring some dexterity, are considered the gold standard due to their bespoke appearance. 
  • Pre-tied bow ties, while convenient, may lack the same level of authenticity but are a practical option for beginners.

Choosing the Right Suspenders for Different Occasions

Much like bow ties, suspenders come in various styles suited to different occasions. 

  • Y-back suspenders, characterized by their single strap down the back, are a classic choice, offering both functionality and style. 
  • With their dual straps, X-back suspenders provide extra support and are ideal for more rigorous activities. Button-on suspenders, which attach to trousers via buttons, offer a vintage appeal and are perfect for formal events. 
  • Clip-on suspenders, while less traditional, are versatile and can be worn with any type of trousers. The material of the suspenders also matters; silk suspenders are ideal for formal events, while elastic or leather suspenders are better suited for casual or semi-formal occasions.

Get Variety Of Suspender Collection Here

Coordinating Bow Ties and Suspenders for a Polished Look

The key to mastering the bow tie and suspender combination lies in coordination and balance. When pairing these accessories, consider the colors, patterns, and textures.

  • A solid-colored bow tie can be paired with patterned suspenders for a harmonious contrast. 
  • Conversely, a patterned bow tie should match solid or subtly patterned suspenders to avoid a clash. The texture is also crucial; a silk bow tie pairs well with leather suspenders, creating a refined look. 
  • A cotton or linen bow tie with elastic suspenders strikes the right balance for a more casual ensemble. 

Additionally, the overall attire should be considered – a well-fitted suit or a smart casual outfit can be elevated with the right bow tie and suspender combination, exuding confidence and sophistication.

The Perfect Fit: Ensuring Comfort And Style

A bow tie should never choke nor hang loose; finding the right knot size is imperative for comfort and aesthetics. Similarly, suspenders should rest comfortably on the shoulders, neither digging in nor sliding off. Adjusting to the right fit enhances posture and adds a touch of confidence to one's stride.

Occasion Matters: Styling Tips For Events

Every event, from black-tie galas to casual weddings by the beach, dictates its dress code. A velvet bow tie paired with satin suspenders dazzle at a formal event, while cotton accessories are more apt for a casual gathering. Understanding the vibe of the occasion ensures you neither underdress nor overshadow.

Taking Care Of Your Bow Tie And Suspenders

Proper care extends the life of these cherished accessories. Gentle cleaning, mindful of the fabric's needs, and careful storage can ensure they remain pristine. Folding bow ties and hanging suspenders can ward off unwanted creases, ensuring they're always ready to complete an outfit.

The Art Of Pairing For Elegance

Pairing is an art, not confined to colors or patterns but also to the very essence of the pieces. An elegant bow tie, perhaps in silk with intricate designs, demands accompaniments that resonate with its vibe. Consider pants with a gentle taper, polished shoes, and a sleek belt to complete the ensemble. Such coordination speaks volumes about the wearer's attention to detail. Master the art of styling suspenders with a bow tie.

Unique Choices For The Bold At Heart

Fashion, at its core, is a form of expression. For those looking to make a unique statement, the standard rules might not always apply—a vibrant, quirky bow tie paired with suspenders boasting a contrasting print. Paired with a monochrome suit, this combination could be an avant-garde choice for those brave enough to tread unbeaten paths.

The Wedding Wardrobe: Making Special Days Memorable

Weddings are a celebration, not just of love but also of style. Whether you're the groom, a groomsman, or a guest, the outfit you choose speaks of the importance you assign to the day. Suspenders can replace the traditional belt for a touch of vintage charm. For those looking to up the ante, pairing them with a bow tie that matches or contrasts the wedding theme can be a winning move.

Ways To Reinvent The Classic Look

While the classics remain evergreen, there's no harm in experimenting. Here are some ways to reinvent your look:

  • Contrast Game: Instead of matching everything, play with contrasts. Think navy pants, a light-colored shirt, and a bright bow tie.
  • Layering: Layering can add depth to your outfit, especially for cooler climates or winter weddings. A vest or waistcoat can be the perfect companion to your suspenders.
  • Patterns and Prints: Who said suits need to be plain? Play with patterns, from stripes to checks. Just ensure the bow tie and suspenders aren't lost amidst the busyness.


In the vast fashion arena, where trends ebb and flow, the bow tie and suspenders remain steadfast in their appeal. Embracing these accessories isn't just about following a trend; it's about showcasing personality, understanding the nuances of style, and making a statement. After all, every accessory narrates a tale; it's up to the wearer to decide its story.

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