I’m not sure where the myth that bow ties are difficult to tie came from. Perhaps after their popularity declined for a while people assumed that bow tie thing is some kind of lost art, an obscure skill communicated only to a certain initiates of some sartorial secret society. In the days before YouTube, you might have been stuck trying to figure it out from a diagram:
In truth, tying a bow tie is really not a big deal. Like anything it takes some practice to get the hang of it, and if you only wear one a few times a year you may need to refresh yourself, but it is exactly the same knot you use to tie your shoes.
If you catch me during a lull at a show I’ll be happy to demonstrate for you, but my usual response is: just search “how to tie a bow tie” on YouTube. There are dozens if not hundreds of videos to show you how, from quick overviews to in-depth, step-by-step breakdowns of the process. It is so much easier to learn from a video than to try and follow a diagram or (heaven forbid) written instructions!
How to Tie a Bow Tie
I am still partial to the video I learned from – quick but clear:
Patrick has one that breaks down the steps a little more thoroughly:
What about Cravats and Ascots?
YouTube to the rescue again!
How to tie a Cravat
(Really the only major difference between tying a cravat and a bow tie is how the knot is started: by wrapping the cravat from the front to back, then back to front before tying the bow.)
How to tie an Ascot
“Bow Tie.” Wikipedia. Accessed April 11, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_tie.