Red Bow Tie Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts for Formal Events

Written by Martina May

• 

Posted on April 23 2024

Red bow ties exude confidence, sophistication, and a hint of flair, making them a popular choice for formal occasions. Whether you're attending a black-tie event, a wedding, or a gala, wearing a red bow tie can add a touch of personality to your ensemble. However, mastering the etiquette of wearing a red bow tie is essential to ensure you make the right impression. In this guide, we'll explore the dos and don'ts of wearing a red bow tie for formal events, along with tips on how to style this bold accessory to perfection.

Dos of Wearing a Red Bow Tie

red bowtie white suit

1. Coordinate with Your Outfit

When wearing a red bow tie, ensure that it complements your outfit harmoniously. Opt for a red bow tie that matches or complements the colors of your suit or tuxedo. For example, pair a black suit with a vibrant red bow tie for a classic and sophisticated look, or opt for a dark red bow tie to complement a navy suit.

2. Choose the Right Fabric

Selecting the appropriate fabric for your red bow tie is crucial for achieving a polished look. Opt for luxurious fabrics such as silk or velvet for formal events, as they add an element of sophistication and elegance to your ensemble. A red velvet bow tie, for instance, can lend a touch of opulence to your attire, perfect for upscale affairs.

3. Consider the Occasion

Take the nature of the event into account when choosing to wear a red bow tie. While red bow ties can make a bold statement, they may not always be suitable for every occasion. For formal events such as weddings, galas, or black-tie affairs, a red bow tie can add a touch of flair to your ensemble. However, for more conservative events or business settings, it's best to opt for more understated colors.

4. Pay Attention to Proportions

Ensure that your red bow tie is proportionate to your body and face shape. Choose a bow tie size that complements your build and doesn't overwhelm your frame. Additionally, pay attention to the width of the bow tie straps, ensuring they are neither too thin nor too thick for your neckline.

5. Experiment with Patterns

Don't be afraid to experiment with different patterns when wearing a red bow tie. While solid red bow ties are a classic choice, you can also explore options such as red polka dot bow ties or black-red bow ties for added visual interest. Just ensure that the pattern complements your outfit and doesn't clash with other elements of your attire.

Don'ts of Wearing a Red Bow Tie

1. Overdo It with Red:

While a red bow tie can make a bold statement, avoid overdoing it with red elsewhere in your outfit. Opt for subtle accents of red in other accessories or clothing items to prevent your ensemble from appearing too monochromatic or overwhelming.

2. Misjudge the Formality of the Event

Be mindful of the formality of the event when choosing to wear a red bow tie. While red bow ties are suitable for many formal occasions, they may not be appropriate for extremely conservative events or settings. Use your discretion and consider the dress code of the event before donning a red bow tie.

3. Forget to Tie it Properly

Ensure that you tie your red bow tie properly to achieve a neat and polished look. Whether you opt for a self-tie or pre-tied bow tie, take the time to master the tying technique to ensure it sits properly and doesn't come undone throughout the event.

4. Clash with Other Colors

Avoid clashing colors when wearing a red bow tie. Ensure that the colors of your shirt, suit, and accessories complement rather than compete with the vibrant red hue of your bow tie. Stick to neutral or complementary colors to create a cohesive and stylish ensemble.

How to Style Red Bow Ties? 

Solid Red Bow Tie

Pairing a men’s red bow tie with a black suit creates a classic and sophisticated look that is perfect for formal events. Opt for a solid black suit red bow tie to add a pop of color to your ensemble while maintaining a timeless aesthetic. 

Red Polka Dot Bow Tie

For a playful twist on traditional formalwear, consider wearing a red polka dot bow tie. Pair it with a charcoal or navy suit for a stylish yet sophisticated ensemble. The playful polka dot pattern adds a touch of whimsy to your outfit. 

Dark Red Bow Tie


A dark red bow tie exudes elegance and sophistication, making it a versatile choice for formal occasions. Pair it with a navy or grey suit for a refined and polished look that is suitable for a variety of events. 

Red Velvet Bow Tie

For a luxurious and opulent look, opt for a red velvet bow tie. Pair it with a black tuxedo for a formal event or gala, or dress it down with a charcoal suit for a stylish evening out. The plush texture of the velvet adds a touch of extravagance to your ensemble, making you stand out in any crowd.

Final Words

Wearing a red bow tie is a bold statement that can elevate your formal attire to new heights.Whether you opt for a classic solid red bow tie or a playful polka dot design, embrace the versatility and sophistication of this timeless accessory.