Should You Wear a Bow Tie or a Long Tie? Here’s How to Decide

As soon as an event comes along where you have to look spiffy, the inevitable question comes to mind about choosing a tie. What's it going to be? A bow tie or long tie?

Answering this question isn't as simple as it used to be due to both the bow tie and the standard tie being worn in all sorts of formal and informal situations. Even so, there are dress codes that can be followed or used as a blueprint for your own decision making. Let's explore what's generally accepted in today's dresswear for wedding events and formal gatherings.

Choosing to Wear a Bow

Despite more relaxed rules for formal attire, the bow tie is still the default choice when it comes to what tie to choose to wear with formal attire. Bow ties are sophisticated and help to mark a right of passage for men who are donning a tuxedo or suit to go to a prom or wedding.

Bow Tie with a Tuxedo

When it comes to men's dress wear for a wedding, you most often see the groom and his groomsmen wearing bow ties with a tuxedo. It's also the tie of choice for male celebrities walking the red carpet in their crisp black, white or other color tuxedos. The bow tie is the perfect accent for an elegant ensemble, and it helps give men a dashing appearance.

Bow Tie with a Suit

The alternative to the tuxedo is a well-tailored solid color suit, usually in black, navy or grey. Sometimes a tan suit is chosen and that's okay too. Some men choose to wear a bow tie on a suit, and this can work for a formal event. However, the look is not quite as sharp and sophisticated as a tux. A pocket square and corsage worn on the lapel can up the level of elegance.

Casual Bow Tie Looks

If you're looking to dress casual for wedding celebrations, there are definitely weddings where the preferred men's attire leans more down-to-earth than usual. For instance, a farmhouse wedding may have the groom wear a tux or suit with a bow tie and groomsmen wear shirts and suspenders with bow ties.

Choosing to Wear a Tie

The long tie is the preferred style of tie to wear with a business suit. This look is common in offices that require formal business dress and it usually consists of matching pants and a suit jacket. The three-piece suit includes a matching vest, and the tie is tucked underneath. Wearing a tie for a wedding or with suits for prom night is very on-trend.

Tie with a Tuxedo

Can you wear a tie with a tuxedo? Yes, but think very carefully about your choice of tie because it's likely going to diminish the overall look of the tux jacket. If you're okay with the tux looking more like a business suit, then your best option is to choose a white, light grey or silver tie that doesn't distract too much from the "V" look of the white shirt against the dark tux jacket.

Tie with a Suit or Vest

For guys who want to dress casual for a wedding, a tie with a great-looking suit is the less formal modern alternative to a tuxedo. The groom and groomsmen can all be wearing sharp looking suits with ties or the groom opts for a tie and vest combination with groomsmen wearing casual button-down shirts with bow ties and dress suspenders.

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