Bow Ties With Sweaters (The Definitive Guide)

bow tie with sweater

How To Wear A Bow Tie With A Sweater (Definitive Guide)

Looking to learn about how to wear a bow tie with a sweater?

Well you're in the right place!

In this bow tie style guide, I'm going to break down the following:

  • Should you even wear a bow tie with a sweater?
  • What's the best way to style a bow tie and a sweater?
  • And 10 different bow tie sweater outfits broken down

Ready to get into this guide and learn how to make the bow tie sweater combo work for you?

Right on!

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Should You Wear a Bow Tie With A Sweater?

Yes... you should definitely wear a bow tie with a sweater.

Assuming of course that it is not the summer in which case, no you should NOT wear a bow tie with a sweater.


Hopefully you didn't need me to tell you that though...

The thing you really need to know about when wearing a bow tie with a sweater is that it often creates this gap or as I like to call it "white space" that a normal neck tie would cover up.

When you dawn a nice merino wool wear a sweater, it covers up that white space and puts the emphasis on the bow tie, which is what we want.

The sweater brings balance to your outfit...

Have a look below as an example.

differences in white space

When wearing a bow tie you have that gap of space.

Honestly, it's not a big deal if you do nothing and leave it alone as seen in the picture above.


When it gets a bit colder in the fall and winter months, it presents an opportunity for bow tie wearers to get more creative with their styling choices.

Enter the sweater.

What's The Best Way To Style a Bow Tie and Sweater?

When styling a bow tie with a sweater, there's only two things you need to keep in mind.

  1. Color
  2. Pattern

If you get these two things down, then your outfit should look good about 99% of the time.

Let's have a look at each.

The way I teach color matching and pattern coordination can be applied to any garment of clothing. What you may have learned from me or someone else as far as how to coordinate applies to matching bow ties with sweaters as well.

Something I will say is that I generally recommend sticking to SOLID colors and/or very subtle patterns when picking out a sweater to wear with your bow tie.

The shirt underneath the sweater can be a loud patterned shirt if you're feeling ambitious or something more solid if you're wearing your bow tie in a more conservative atmosphere.

Take a look at a couple examples below...

patterned bow tie with a gray sweater

Here you can see a more conservative outfit with a black almost charcoal suit jacket with a gray v-neck sweater and a checked shirt.

The gray sweater is a neutral color, which would have matched with any suit jacket, shirt, or bow tie so it works.

The checked shirt is the loudest pattern being used in this outfit followed by the bow tie. Both garments are balanced out with the solid gray sweater and black suit jacket.

This is a good example of an easy outfit to put together and rock a bow tie with a sweater nicely.

As another example to really hammer home the point of matching your bow tie color and pattern with your sweater is the picture of me you probably keep seeing around the website.

example of bow tie matching with sweater

Purple is one of my FAVORITE colors because it just has that feeling of royalty and most people I talk to can't style it thus never wear it.

Here I balance the loud purple paisley bow tie with a solid navy suit jacket, solid gray sweater, and solid white shirt.

The focal point of this outfit is clearly the bow tie front and center.

The navy of the jacket and the purple of the bow tie work very well together while the white shirt and the gray sweater are both very neutral and would've coordinated with anything.

Is There A Wrong Way To Wear Sweaters And Bow Ties?

Overall, I would say if you stick to neutral colors and subtle patterns when picking out your sweater you'll almost never run into a styling issue.

Actually... I take that back.

If you decide its a good idea to rock a bow tie and a sweater and it's above 70 degrees outside. Then, you'll look a like a fool sweating to death in your outfit with people constantly asking you...

"Aren't you hot in that outfit?"

I know because I was that guy... don't be like me... stick to the fall and winter months.

10 Outfit Ideas With A Bow Tie And a Sweater

Hopefully by now you feel at least a little more comfortable with with bow tie sweater combo.

But... I know what you're thinking... bow tie sweater outfit ideas.

I have you covered with some of my additional analysis and breakdown to help motivate you to look awesome in a bow tie and a sweater.

Here we go!

patterned bow tie with maroon sweater

For out first outfit breakdown we have a very stylish fall look.

You see he wears a solid maroon sweater to balance out the brown gingham shirt and the checked bow tie pattern.

The gray suit jacket is a neutral color and would've matched with anything.

That said, the gray jacket tones down the very colorful pocket square making for a very good looking bow tie sweater outfit combination.

Also if you look closely, you'll see that the sweater actually has a very subtle pattern to it making it pop only slightly... a nice touch.

sweater vest with tan suit and bow tie

This next outfit is a perfect example of wearing a sweater vest with a bow tie.

The sweater is a solid dark green on top of a white shirt, which both balance the loud pattern of the jacket and the bow tie.

You'll also notice the pocket square is a solid color also balanced against the loud jacket pattern.

The jacket was a neutral tan color on the brighter side, which pairs nicely with a dark sweater. He could've also worn a gray, navy, blue, or even maroon colored sweater and also looked solid.

bow tie with maroon jacket and gray sweater

Hopefully by now you're seeing a pattern developing... no pun intended!

In this outfit again, John wears a solid gray v-neck sweater with a white shirt. That gives him some space to be a little bit more "loud" with the bow tie pattern and the pocket square.

The gray sweater is a neutral color and would pair nicely with just about any color shirt or suit jacket.

In this case, John went with maroon, which looks great!

navy sweater with bow tie

Here's an outfit where John opted for a dark navy sweater and a white shirt underneath.

Again, very balanced against the loud pattern of the suit jacket.

You'll also notice that the bow tie has only a very subtle pattern here with a neutral brown coloring.

All the colors used in this outfit (except the shirt) are more toned down and dark matching nicely for a fall/winter outfit look.

bow tie with green sweater vest

For our final bow tie sweater outfit combination, you'll see that same green sweater vest, but paired this time with a solid navy jacket and a patterned shirt.

You'll notice John didn't add a pattern to his suit jacket as that would've been a bit over the top and too loud as an outfit.

The bow tie itself is brown almost orange, a neutral coloring, making it a nice pick for the outfit.

I would say that the focal point of this outfit is actually not the bow tie, but is the loud patterned shirt underneath the sweater vest and/or the pocket square which stands out quite a bit against that jacket.

Bow Ties And Sweaters Final Thoughts...

I REALLY like wearing bow ties and sweaters and hopefully by now you've got a sense on how to do it right.

With the right touch and little balance, you can really turn heads adding a sweater to your bow tie outfit.

Again, I would say the biggest rule of wearing a bow tie with a sweater is to only do it when it is cold out!

That and staying to neutral solid colors and subtle patterns.

Nothing looks more foolish than trying to wear a bow tie with a sweater in the hot months of July and August with flamboyant colors and loud patterns.

And with that... I think you're ready to rock a bow tie WITH a sweater.

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More Bow Tie Guides

Want to learn more about bow ties and how best to style them? Check out these other helpful guides!

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