Warren Alfie Baker is always on the hunt for just the right bow tie. He’s a Hollywood stylist who helps keep such clients as Lucas Hedges, Norman Reedus and Harry Shum Jr. looking sharp.
“It seems like the easiest thing to sort out, but so many mistakes can be made,” Baker tells Variety.
And the last place you want to make any of those mistakes during awards season is at the Oscars.
These five tips will help you find the perfect bow tie for Hollywood’s biggest night of the year.
1. Black bow ties are the classic and safe choice. “I would only go a different color if you have a colored tux,” Baker says. “Monochromatic is always beautiful and has an impact. … If you wear a colored bow tie and classic black tux, you run the risk of looking like you’re going to prom.” Stylist Jeanne Yang, who works with Christian Bale, Alfonso Cuarón, Jamie Dornan and Matt Bomer, says, “If you want to express your personality, go for something different, but you have to have a coordinating handkerchief.”
2. The fabric of the bow tie should be sturdy. “A good bow tie should have a fullness and nice dimples,” Yang says. “It’s important that you have a full and not flaccid bow tie.”
3. The fabric should also match the tux. “Silk bow tie for a silk lapel,” Baker says. “Grosgrain for a grosgrain lapel. Simple!”
4. Size does matter. “Bigger is better with a wider lapel, and smaller works with a narrow one,” Yang says. Baker adds: “Also, look for proportions. I’m 6’5” so I generally wear a bigger bow tie for my frame.”
5. Self-tie is always better, and Yang notes you can go online to learn how to tie one. “There are some great pre-tie options on the market, but trust me, there is nothing better than being at an after-party and being able to untie that bow tie,” Baker says. “It’s way sexier.”