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How To Put On A Clip-On Bow Tie

The front and back of two blue clip-on bow ties on a gray textured background

A clip-on bow tie is pre-tied, so you don't need to know how to tie a bow tie to wear one. Phew! However, you still need to know how to put it on—and there is a trick. This step-by-step guide will show you how to quickly put on a clip-on bow tie and keep it securely in place all day (and night). Let’s finish getting dressed.

Step 1

Remove the bow tie from its packaging. The front of the bow tie looks like a normal tied bow tie. The back of the bow tie should have two skinny clips that stick out horizontally from the middle and are usually about an inch long on either side.

The front of a blue clip-on bow tie

Step 2

Hold the bow tie face down so that the metal clips are facing you and the bow is facing away.

The back of a blue clip-on bow tie

Step 3

Firmly grasp the bow on both sides, with your forefingers in the front and thumbs in the back, and fold them downward. This will open the clips away from the fabric of the bow tie. At this point the bow tie should look like a butterfly. (Note that we changed the direction of the bow tie in the photo below to better illustrate how your bow tie should look.)

The side view of a blue clip-on bow tie, flipped opened

Step 4

A mirror will help with this step, especially if you’re new to clip-on bow ties. One at a time, position each side of your collar between the fabric of the bow tie and the metal clips. (NOT between the slightly opened metal clips. See footnote below.) In this photo, that's the space displayed between the bow tie and the clip.

A blue clip-on bow tie with one clip in front of the collar on a white dress shirt

In the photo below, we have tucked that clip behind the shirt collar so it's no longer visible looking straight on.

A blue clip-on bow tie with both clips behind the collar of a white dress shirt

Step 5

Check the positioning of your bow tie. Is it straight? Awesome! Now you can take both sides of the bow tie and fold them back against your collar, closing the clips and securely attaching the bow to your shirt collar. We find it easiest to again position your thumbs in the back of the bow tie and forefingers on the front, while pressing down with those forefingers and pushing the thumbs slightly forward.

Tip: If you can't get the bow tie straight by securing both sides at once, instead close one side, adjust as needed, and then close the other side.

A blue clip-on bow tie attached to a white dress shirt

Important Footnote

Many people put their shirt collar between the metal clips of the clip-on bow tie. However, we find that the bow tie stays in place more securely with the collar between the fabric and clip.

Watch the space between the metal clips as you open and close the bow tie. The clips move closer and farther apart as you move it. When completely in a straight line, there is no space between the metal clips. But many clip-on bow ties extend slightly further than this when closed and the space between the clips actually opens back up. It’s difficult to see this spacing when putting a bow tie on, so we find it easier and more secure to always place the shirt collar between the bow tie’s fabric.

In Conclusion

Now that you’ve attached your clip-on bow tie, all that’s left is to add a pair of suspenders, a suit jacket or wear the bow on its own. When you’re ready to remove the bow, simply grasp the bow tie on each side and push forward with your thumbs.

About TieMart

TieMart is an online retailer of men’s neckwear, including bow ties. The family-owned business carries a wide selection of clip-on, band collar and self-tie bow ties. While clip-on bow ties are available in solid colors, pattern and striped bow ties are available in other styles. TieMart keeps large quantities of ties in stock at their Midwest location for group and uniform wear, too. TieMart ties are affordable and ship quickly.


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We are a family-run tie company based in Illinois. We've been in the biz since the late 90s, so by now we know a thing or two about men's fashion and accessories. Tiepedia is our lil spot on the web to share that knowledge with you.