The Complete Guide to Buying a Bow Tie on eBay

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The Complete Guide to Buying a Bow Tie on eBay

Men have three options for neckwear when dressing for formal occasions: the straight tie, the ascot, and the bow tie. Men’s neckwear in general is said to have originated from neckerchiefs worn by ancient soldiers. They became fashionable when Louis XIV and his court became enamoured of them. The bow tie has declined in popularity during the late 20th century, but it is still the tie of choice for the ultimate gentleman.

The practicality of the bow tie is definite. For instance, it has fewer chances of being dripped on and lesser odds of getting snagged or caught on something. Bow ties are not purchased as commonly as many straight ties, which are usually found in extensive collections; however, a variety of different bow ties can be found and purchased through eBay. Understanding how to recognise the different types and styles of bow ties allows the customer to more efficiently shop for the right selection to go with a specific suit or occasion.

Basic Types of Bow Ties

The long history of the bow tie has allowed the fashionable elite to popularise several kinds of bow ties. These vary in design according to functionality or style. There are different types of bow ties, including: freestyle, clip-on, and pre-tied.

Freestyle Bow Ties

Also called the self-tied bow tie, these ties are shaped bands of fabric that the wearer has to knot himself. This is at the height of bow tie fashion, as different people can tie the knot to individual or personal styles. The knot may require more time and effort to get right, but the end result is worth it.

Classy, high-end, and top fashion are associations that a quality freestyle bow tie implies, more so than the other two types. For many men in elite fashion, there really is no better option of bow tie.

The self-tied bow tie is a must in the fashion conscious male's clothing repertoire. However, the greatest frustration is tying the bow correctly. Those who try find it easier than many people think, just like tying shoelaces, in fact. Experience with tying gift bows is a plus, or at least, the basic idea is the same.

Clip-on Bow Ties

The clip-on is the easiest and most simple bow tie available. It has three advantages. The first is the already tied knot, saving time and frustration in getting dressed just right. The second advantage is the clip behind the knot that allows the customer to simply pin it onto the collar. Lastly, clip-on styles are some of the cheapest types of bow tie on the market.

However, the clip-on bow tie is considered somewhat gauche when worn to formal parties, unless the wearer is a child. This type of tie is more suited to quick meetings where fashion can be discounted, like parties with friends.

Pre-tied Bow Ties

Like the clip-on, the pre-tied bow tie has, as the name implies, an already fixed knot. Unlike the clip-on, the knot attaches to a band of fabric that goes around the collar, like the freestyle. People who don’t like expending the effort of getting the perfect knot but are looking for something more classy than a clip-on may be satisfied with the pre-tied bow tie. Formal occasions are more accepting of the pre-tied bow tie than the clip-on, and it is also more suitable to a casual gathering than the self-tied, as the wearer does not need to spend too much time on it.

Bow Tie Styles

The distinctive wings of the bow tie are formed by the two opposing loose ends of the fabric band. The shape of the ends can vary, but there are three classic styles that are seen in most bow ties today. It is possible to purchase bow ties with oval shaped ends or different sized wings.

The Butterfly Style

The loose ends of the butterfly style tie are distinctive wide curves. Men with larger frames and wider necks look better in the larger butterfly style because the neckwear is not overwhelmed with their body size. Leaner bodies would do better with the slimmer styles of bow ties. The folding point of the butterfly bow tie is the widest part of the curve. This means if bigger bows are desired, find ties that have wider curves.

Batwings or Straight End Style

The straight end style of bow tie has no curves. The loose ends of the fabric band are angled and rectangular. The narrow style of the batwing bow complements men with thin faces. The large butterfly bows may emphasise the ascetic qualities of tapered facial features, which admittedly may be appropriate for painfully formal gatherings, but not for more casual occasions.

Pointed End Style

If a customer is looking for something unique, yet still in the realms of the classic, a bow tie with a pointed end could be a satisfactory choice. The fabric band ends in a curve, generally narrower than the butterfly, but then tapers to a point where the butterfly ends in a straight edge. The finished bow has the pointed ends peeking out behind the loops. Self-tied types need a little more work than other styles to get the bow just right because the wearer has to align the wings of the bow more precisely in order to get the full effect of the style.

Single Ended Style

Single ended bow tie styles are rarely seen by customers. The single ended tie comes with only one of the loose ends shaped. It makes for a tighter knot, with wearers being less worried that their neckwear may fall apart, particularly those made of low friction fabrics. The style is simpler than the others and is easier to complete.

Sizing a Bow Tie

The length of a bow tie can generally be based on the wearer’s shirt neck sizes or collar size.

Collar Size (inch)

Collar Size (cm)

Bow Tie Length (inch)




15 - 15.5

38 - 39

57 - 58

16 - 16.5

41 - 42

60 - 61

17 - 17.5

43 - 44

62 - 63

18 - 18.5

46 - 47

65 - 66

A rule of thumb that works for sizing ties is adding 19 inches, or 49 cm, to the neck size to determine the appropriate length of a tie. Take note that when converting the numbers, decimal leftovers should be rounded up. Having a slightly longer bow tie length than optimal is better than having one too short that fits uncomfortably close.

Many bow ties today have buckles that adjust tie lengths. Most adjusting bow tie lengths fit neck sizes from 39 to 44 cm. These are the most favourable choices for efficient dressing with a cosy fit. However, make sure that the buckles or other adjusters are hidden by the collar of a shirt. The more fashionable, though also more expensive, option is the custom-fitted bow tie.

Buying a Bow Tie on eBay

You can most likely find the most complete range of bow tie selections through online retailers, like eBay. Finding a bow tie on eBay is a piece of cake. Simply enter "bow tie" into the search bar and you are provided with a wide selection of every kind of bow tie that is currently available. You can narrow down your search by inputting more specific search parameters, like "silk bow tie" or "black classic bow tie". Polka dot bow ties, slim bow ties, and pre-tied bow ties, there are bow ties in every kind of shape, size, and colour. There are enough so that searching for the perfect tie is but the work of minutes.

Before bidding or buying on eBay, be sure that you have vetted the seller and product thoroughly. Ask questions of the seller; make sure that you understand his or her policies on sales and returns. Doing a little research for good prices, sellers, and goods help you get the finer items in more uncomplicated ways.


Bow ties are coming back as staples of the sharp-dressing man’s wardrobe. Still, there are a lot of men that cannot figure out how to pull off the look. This is understandable, since it has not been long since bow ties were the province of geeks, nerds, and old people. The above information helps any male look good wearing bow ties in both formal and casual style attire.

Bow ties are nearly exclusive to the tuxedo, but are wearable with any button down style. When determining what bow tie to purchase, take into consideration whether clip-on, pre-tied, or self-tied would best serve one's interests. Clip-on bow ties are most appropriate for younger children. If a person is more conscious of style and image, then go for quality self-tied options. Men who buy bow ties are only a fraction of the number that buy straight ties. This makes it easier for a person to make an impression when wearing a bow tie.

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