Video: How To Tie a Bow Tie

Whether you’re sipping mint juleps at the Charleston Cup, attending Sunday worship service in a 300-year-old church, or running for City Council, a dapper bow tie will give you a sure boost on the Holy City social ladder. But unless you think you can dupe the blue bloods with a clip-on — and you can’t — you’ll have to learn to properly tie one on.

Colin Richardson, a salesman at King Street clothier M. Dumas & Sons, says the bow tie is technically a semi-formal accessory, although Southern sensibilities have changed on that topic in modern times, allowing it to make appearances in formal settings. When you plan an outfit with a bow tie, he says, it’s best to wear a spread-collar shirt (with a slightly flared collar that doesn’t button down). In his experience, women learn the technique more quickly than men. For beginners, it can help to tie the bow tie around your thigh before tightening it around your neck.

Just follow these steps, or watch our helpful how-to video at, and you’ll be shucking oysters and kissing babies before you can say “Chaahlston.”

1. Pop your collar, drape the tie around the back of your neck slightly off-center, and start the knot the same way you would start tying a shoe, with a simple over-and-under twist of the longer end.

2. Take the shorter end and fold it, pinning the bow-shaped section against the knot with your finger.

3. Take the other end and pull it down over the middle of the bow.

4. Put the two sides of the bow together, forming a sort of taco shell around the end you just pulled down.

5. There should be a loop behind the bow now. Take the lower portion of the tie (the part spilling out of the bottom end of the taco) and push it through that loop.

6. Gently tug at all four portions of the bow (front and back, left and right) until you’re approaching symmetry. Remember, no bow tie is perfect. Try incorporating intentional imperfections, like “dimples” near the center fold or flared wings that stick up from the chest.

7. Go knock ’em dead.

Support the Charleston City Paper

We’ve been covering Charleston since 1997 and plan to be here with the latest and Best of Charleston for many years to come. In a time where local journalism is struggling, the City Paper is investing in the future of Charleston as a place where diverse, engaging views can flourish. We can't do it without our readers. If you'd like to support local, independent journalism:



Bill Murray threatened with ‘eternal damnation’ by lawyer for Doobie Brothers song in ad

Heath Ellison

Do y’all miss fun news stories? We do, too. Thankfully, Charleston’s favorite prankster Bill Murray got a cease and desist letter from the lawyers for rock band the Doobie Brothers, and it exceeds expectations. The law firm King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano called on Murray to no longer use the Doobie’s classic “Listen to the […]


9/27 COVID-19 update: 569 new cases; 3 deaths; 13.8 percent positive

COVID-19 updates: South Carolina health officials reported 569 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, with three additional confirmed deaths. With 4,118 tests collected, the percent-positive rate was 13.8 percent. As of 6 p.m. Sept. 27, via S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control:Confirmed cases in S.C.:  141,909 (+569 new cases since Saturday)Percent Positive: 13.8% (up from 11%) Positive tests […]

October openings present pandemic-inspired art around Charleston

As the city settles into a new kind of normal during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, art galleries around town are reopening, both virtually and in-person for socially distant viewing.

LayWills levels up on new EP ‘Upper Class’

Lowcountry rapper LayWills’ sophomore album, Upper Class, is all about the next step up. Taking the formula she laid down in her debut EP PreSchool, LayWills upped the ante on the feel-good party vibe without losing the soul of that last album.

Challengers hope to shift Senate power, Charleston-area seats in play

As Democrats seek to flip four Senate seats in the Lowcountry in the Nov. 3 election, Republicans are looking to wrest five Democratic seats in reddening rural districts in the Upstate and Midlands. Of the Senate’s 46 seats, 27 currently are held by Republicans and 19 are held by Democrats. There are 32 seats facing […]