How to tie cravats, ruched ties, and bow ties

When it comes to formal dress, knowing how to tie a tie is not always as easy as it seems. There are a wide variety of formal ties available, ranging from bow ties to cravats, with each tie featuring a different knot and requiring its own special technique for securing it in place.

Here at the Scotland Kilt Company, we have been helping people look their finest in formal wear for over 15 years and know more than one easy way to tie a tie. Here are our most simple methods for tying a cravat, ruched tie, and bow tie.

How to tie a cravat

Cravats have become a popular choice for formal events such as weddings and ceremonial balls. Originating from the 1600s, the cravat was a style worn by a military unity known as the ‘Croats’ and is also commonly referred to as an ascot tie in some cultures.

Knowing how to tie a cravat is not as hard as some people mistakenly believe. Simply follow these easy steps to end up with a chic and stylish cravat:

  1. Start with the cravat hung around your neck with your collar turned up. Both sides A and B should be at an equal length.
  2. Cross side A over the top of side B.
  3. Loop side A underside B, pulling side A through the gap between the cravat and your collar.
  4. Place side A over the top of Side B. Side A will now be slightly shorter than side B when resting on top.
  5. Cross side A behind side B. It should look like the shape of a really tight “4”.
  6. Tuck side A back through the gap between where side A overlaps side B.
  7. Pull side A tightly to create a knot.
  8. Place side A on top of side B, before tucking both sides inside your waistcoat.
  9. Secure the cravat in place by placing a pin through both sides of your cravat and your shirt.
  10. Fold down your collar.

Your cravat will now be securely tied in place, ready for you to party the night away!

How to tie a ruched tie

A ruched tie, sometimes referred to as a ‘Victorian’ or ‘ruche’ tie, is similar to an ordinary tie, except it features more fabric with wider sides. The ruched tie looks like a hybrid between a standard tie and a cravat, making it the perfect formal addition to any Highland wear.

Follow these simple instructions to create a classic look:

  1. Begin with the ruched tie hung around the neck, with your collar turned up. Side A will be longer than side B.
  2. Cross side A over the top of side B.
  3. Loop side A behind side B, pulling side A into a right angle.
  4. Cross side A back over side B, across the point where side A originally overlapped side B.
  5. Tuck side A back through the gap between the ruched tie and your collar.
  6. Pull side A down through the loop, as you would an ordinary tie.
  7. You will then end up with a tied knot, with side A placed on top of side B. Side A will now be shorter than side B.
  8. Place both sides of the tie inside of your waistcoat.
  9. Fold down your collar.

Voila! This wide tie showcases a voluminous ruched style that will perfectly top off your formal dress.

How to tie a bow tie

Bow ties are a great alternative to long ties like cravats and ruched ties, traditionally worn at black-tie functions. Bow ties match perfectly with an Argyle suit jacket or even an entire Prince Charlie outfit, making them the perfect accessory to complete your formal ensemble.

Many people are unsure of how to tie a bow tie and many people unnecessarily find self-tie bow ties too difficult to master. In reality, tying a bow tie is a straightforward process that can be conquered using our simple steps:

  1. With the bow tie hung around your neck, ensure your collar is turned up. Side A of the bow tie should be longer than side B.
  2. Cross side A over side B.
  3. Loop side A underside B, bringing it up through the gap between the bow tie and your collar. Hold side A up for now.
  4. Fold side B over itself horizontally to form a classic bow shape.
  5. Drape side A over side B at the centre point of the bow shape.
  6. Fold the end of side A over itself to form another classic bow shape.
  7. Pull the side A bow shape under the side B bow.
  8. Pull the side A bow shape through the back loop of the knot.
  9. Gently pull both sides of the bow to tighten.
  10. Fold down your collar.

You will now have a beautiful bow in place, ready to look your best ahead of your big celebration!

Styling shirts

There is a wide variety of tie and shirt options available, with each combination providing an elegant and timeless look. Finding the ideal shirt to match your favourite tie will help you feel and look your best at your next important event.

Our favourite shirt for formal events is a Victorian shirt. A Victorian shirt is a fantastic option that can be worn with any type of tie, featuring crisp wings as part of the collar that neatly folds over the edges of your tie. This shirt and bow tie combination creates an eye-pleasing style, giving your formal wear an undeniably classic aesthetic to help you stand out amongst the crowds.

Here at the Scotland Kilt Company, we offer a broad selection of formal shirts. Our men’s formal shirts are available in a variety of colours including black and ivory, perfectly complementing the pattern of your tartan kilt.

Final thoughts

Whichever type of tie you prefer, knowing how to perfectly tie the knot can elevate your style and make your outfit look even more luxurious. Being able to tie a cravat, ruched tie, or bow tie will ensure that your time getting ready before your important event is stress-free, allowing you to fully enjoy your celebration with loved ones.

Pair your favourite type of tie with one of our formal shirts, as part of a classic Highland outfit. Represent your clan with pride using our tartan finder to show off your heritage with a timeless look.