Tyeing a bow tie is technically as simple as tyeing your shoes. However, it is something about doing it around your neck that is really awkward and frustrating. Many years ago, I got pretty good at it because I went to several black ties a year. Recently however, I had to dust off the tux after a long hiatus from formal events and discovered I lost the skill. Yes, I did finally get it right, but swore that I would find an easier way to 1) make my life easier in the future, and 2) encourage others a chance to impress their friends (the coup de grace being the moment at the after party when you casually untie your tie, and let it casually hang down like a genuine Rat Packer.
The last step includes some advice on buying and wearing a tux.
IMPORTANT: THIS TIE IS BEST WITH A TUX SHIRT THAT HAS A "LAY DOWN" COLLAR OR A COMBO WINGTIP-COVERED BACK COLLAR. IF YOU USE THIS WITH A REGULAR WINGTIP, BUT SURE TO KEEP YOUR JACKET ON ALL NIGHT.
Step 1: What You Need
For tools, you will need a dremel with a cutting wheel and some tape (preferably black electrical, but scotch tape will work as well.
Step 2: Cutting the Loops
Next. and be really careful with this part, you need to cut the metal loop that connects both halves of your hand tie. I've tried to highlight this below. Just DON'T cut the adjustable loop.
Us pliers or a vice grip to hold the loop when cutting to protect both your fingers and the cloth of the tie.
Once it is cut, you can bend the loop to remove it. When you are done you should have a loop and hook as in the first photo and two halves of a tie.
Step 3: Attaching the Loops
Right now you may be asking yourself, "Hey why don't I just use Velcro?". The reason I didn't use Velcro is because, 1) I was a afraid it would leave a noticeable lump under the collar and 2) Where is the fun of that when you can use your dremel?
Once you have done this and it looks like the first picture, cover the cut gap in the LOOP with a piece of electrical, or some other tape. The loop is on the adjustable half, and the tape will keep it from snagging on the cut when you adjust the length. you will need to turn the cloth loop inside out to get at it. There is no need to do this on the half with the hook. .
Step 4: Tie the Tie!!
Hint, adjust loop to make the tie as big as possible. This will give you more material to work with.
Step 5: Shaken or Stirred Mr. Bond?
As I said earlier, this is meant for shirts that have a covered collar in the back. Mine is a wingtip, but it also has a a folded down collar in the back to hide the hooks and loops.
Step 6: The PAYOFF (or How to Be a Rat Packer)
TIPS FOR BUYING A TUX: If you think there is a chance you will have to wear a tux once a year, then you should buy one. The time/convenience factor alone makes it worth it. Two keys to buying a tux.
1. Get a shawl collar (it never goes out of style)
2 Never wait until you need a tux to buy one. The best strategy is to just keep your eyes open and when you see a good deal, grab it. If you are on the East Coast, Syms has great prices and when they are having a sale, it can be a steal.
TIPS FOR WEARING A TUX: It is hard NOT to look good in a tux, but some people can pull it off. Usually it is guys who are wearing a tux for the first time. The secret to always looking good in a tux is to "ACT LIKE YOU ARE WEARING JEANS, NOT A TUX." Don't stand ramrod straight, don't constantly fuss with buttons and cuff links. Act like you wear one every day. That's how Frank did it.