What Collar Do I Wear With a Bow Tie?
- The wing collar is worn with bow ties to formal, white-tie events. Extremely stiff due to heavy starch, wing collars stand upright around the neck and the tips fold down to form two small triangles. The tips of the collar are then tucked behind the bow tie. Originally wing collars were sold separately from the shirt and were attached with studs to the neckline. Currently, wing collars are sewn to tuxedo shirts and are worn to white-tie occasions. The tie must be white to match the collar of the shirt, as the bow tie's band will be exposed when encircling the erect collar. An event that calls for a wing collar might be a formal wedding in a cathedral, a gala dance or a state dinner.
- When wearing a bow-tie to a black-tie or semi-formal event, a turn-down collar is the correct choice for your shirt. Turn-down collars resemble standard men's shirt collars in that the collar folds down over the entirety of the neck, fully covering the neckband of a bow tie. However, turn-down formal shirt collars have narrower collar tips than other men's shirts; the tips of the collar are hidden by both the bow tie and the lapel of the jacket. The turn-down collar is chosen for black-tie engagements to prevent the harsh contrast of a black tie band against an exposed white neck, as would be the case if worn with a wing-collar shirt. Turn-down collars should be worn for any event that is specified as a black-tie occasion; ask your host for clarification if you are unsure whether or not your event calls for a turn-down collar or a wing collar.
- A standard men's dress shirt collar is an appropriate choice for a bow tie, especially when you want to give the look a fun and funky spin. Choose a patterned shirt and bow tie in similar color tones for a refreshing take on bow tie style. For a casual summer wedding, pair a pastel men's dress shirt with a patterned bow tie in a complementary color. Avoid red bow ties and white shirts whenever possible; the combination is regarded as cheesy and outdated.
Collars to Avoid
- A Nehru collar, which stands straight up and does not fold over at the tips, would look exceedingly strange with a bow tie. While the collars of polo and golf-style shirts fold over in a fashion similar to the turn-down and standard dress shirt collars, the softness and casual air of these collars make them impractical and unfashionable for pairing with a bow tie.