Bow Ties Sydney, Australia - Le Noeud Papillon - Specialists In Self Tying Bow Ties

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Recommended Black Tie Bows For Your Upcoming Christmas Events - Choosing The Right Bow For Your Face And Suit

I thought I would elaborate on a few different styles of black bow ties that we currently offer which might give you a little piece of mind prior to going on the hunt for your black bow tie. This short explanation is intended to be a rough guide and we do emphasise that choosing your bow tie is subjective and requires you do some of your own research.

Stay Between The Red And Blue Lines

Below you will see a Le Noeud Papillon customer wearing our Majestic Black bow tie. You will note that the bow tie fits between the red outer edges of the customer's eyes (although given the angle of the photo, the left hand side is slightly over the edge!) . Between the red lines and the blue lines is where a bow tie should sit. Bows that sit outside the confines of the red are often bows that are jumbo in size. The following shapes should roughly sit in between the red lines.

1. Diamond Point:

a bow tie ideal for shorter men or else pointier slimmer faces. Also works well for peaked lapel tuxedos as the peak of the lapel and the diamond tip complement one another.

2. Skinny batwing:

 a great bow tie for all types but it take a certain personality to pull it off. It's also a bow tie shape that has appeared on some of the most interesting characters in the 20th Century from Albert Einstein to Walter Gropius. They tend to be roughly 4cm in height.

3. Batwing:

Famed Parisian 'chemisier' must sell thousands of batwing shaped bow ties each year as this shape is their signature. Theirs is roughly 6.5cm in height with a straight top and bottom.

4. Butterfly:

The English love a classic butterfly bow tie. Between 6 and 8cm in height, this bow tie is perhaps the most understood 'classic' shape of a bow tie. 

5. Modified Butterfly

Straight edge on the top and curved underside, Le Noeud Papillon actually coined the name 'modified butterfly' when the name of the shape was published in our Wall Street Journal article in 2011. If you read any other website describing their bow ties as a modified butterfly, you can thank us! This shape ranges from 6.5 to 7.5cm in height. Depending on the bow tie is tied it can be 11 to 12.5 cm across. This shape works very well for men between 5"11 and 6"3.

6. Wide Butterfly:

Think Don Rickles. Think Dean Martin. Think Las Vegas and your favourite entertainer. This shape is for the gregarious, the outspoken, the funny and the charming. But it takes a certain person to have those traits and if done incorrectly it can look clownish. This shape ranges from 8-12cm in height.

7. Mid Batwing:

Most men don't see this shape often. It is slightly bigger than a skinny and slightly less than a regular batwing ranging between 5 and 6cm in height.

8. The Papillon:

The papillon is a bow tie which looks like a butterfly when tied. It is very rarely seen, as rare as sighting a Sapho Longwing butterfly. 

Bow tie shapes outside of these shapes are usually specifically designed for either a) men with exceptionally large necks or b) men who are searching for something to accentuate the lines or shape of a suit.

You might ask, what kind of bow ties are smaller than the blue lines? The answer is none really but some skinny batwings can be tied to be very short and stubby and the closer you get towards the blue lines the more the bow tie starts to appear unnatural. So, it's not that you are going to get to the blue lines but that you ought to realise that the closer you get the less appealing the bow tie.

Satin Silk Or Grosgrain Silk

Although wool and silk barathea and silk moire is popular amongst some men, 99% of all bow ties made for black tie events are made of satin or grosgrain silk. When I say 99% of all bow ties, I mean premium bow ties. Anything made of polyester should be given the cold shoulder if you can afford to purchase silk. Not all customers have the budget for silk, and to be fair, there are some nice polyesters out there, I have seen them myself, but they are synthetic fibres and they rarely make the same kind of dimpled contours as silk and they give off a slightly different lustre. You should ultimately aim for natural fibres in your neckwear in the form of silks, wools or cottons.

Satin Silk:

Satin is a style of weaving where by the weft threads are woven interlocking over a number of warp threads giving a very flat and shiny finish to a silk and giving a great deal of reflective light which means it's usually shiny and rich to eye and soft and smooth to the hand. As a general rule, the English are more inclined to go grosgrain, whereas Italians are more inclined to go satin.


Grosgrain is made by having alternating threads of different weights weave alternating lines of weft threads across the warp. This gives a grainy effect in the silk and it looks ribbed. Grosgrains tend to look a little bit like a micro repps silk. Because of the grain and texture they tend to reflect less light making the appearance of the silk slightly more subdued which is perhaps why is often favoured by English suit makers and tailoring houses.

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