Whenever I go to a black-tie event, I always notice who has a hand-tied bow tie, and who has the cheapo clip ons. A hand tied tie is a small touch of class that separates you from the crowd and gives you a slight James Bond/Frank Sinatra air. Even if you don't own a tux, it is worth it to spend the $20 and get a real tie.
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
Okay, this is the important part. For this project you need two ties. The "real" one MUST be a hand tied tie that has an adjustable buckle in the back that allows you to loosen and tighten the tie. Keep your eyes open when you are in Target or Marshals. Mine cost about $20. The second tie you need is a clip on version. The cheaper the better. You can get them for as little as $5. What we really want are the metal hooks and loops.
For tools, you will need a dremel with a cutting wheel and some tape (preferably black electrical, but scotch tape will work as well.