how to wear a bow tie and suspenders

If you’re going for a retro or hipster vibe at your special event, fill the room with a sea of bow ties and suspenders. They instantly add personality to a formal wear look and can be worn by men in tuxedos or women in tailored suits. Ready to add a fresh look to your special day? Here’s how to wear bow ties and suspenders with formal wear!

Suspenders: Show Off Or Hidden Away?

First, let’s chat a little bit about the unsung hero of formal wear: suspenders. These stretchy, adjustable straps are critical for keeping pants in place during important events. After all, nobody wants to accidentally show off their undergarments during a wedding dance or when posing for prom photos, right?

If the wearer is tall and slender, go with a narrow strap. Bigger guys and gals should opt for wider suspenders. As you browse suspender options, you’ll notice some clamp to pants, while others have buttons and loops that are secured and hidden in the waistband of pants.

Suspenders are simple to wear. Simply attach them to the front of your pants in front of each hip bone and in the center at the back of your pants, then pull the straps up over your shoulders. Ditch the belt – you don’t need one with suspenders. Adjust the suspenders, so they feel snug, but aren’t bunching your formal wear shirt.

Can suspenders be worn without a jacket? Of course!  Usually, this style is best reserved for semi-casual events or after a formal event cuts loose, like the late-night dance at a wedding reception.

The Smart, Sweet Bow Tie

Top off the look with a perfectly placed bow tie in the center of a crisp, buttoned collar. Whether you opt for a clip-on option or tie it yourself, you really can’t go wrong as long as it’s balanced and snug enough to stay in place.

Choosing a bow tie opens up a world of options! Think of it much like a pocket square or vest. The color and pattern of the bow tie can match these other accessories, coordinate with the style of the suspenders, or stand out on its own.

For weddings, we love the idea of a groom’s bow tie, highlighting the color of the bride’s dress. If it’s a same-sex wedding, the couple can pick bow tie colors that set them apart from the colors their attendants are wearing. For formal events like quinceañeras, anniversary parties, or awards ceremonies, matching the bow tie to the date’s outfit creates a unified couple’s look.

You can wear suspenders and a bow tie to any event where you plan to wear a suit or tuxedo. These accessories are just one more way to add a little character to your look, flaunt your personal style, and tie into the colors or theme of an event. Ready to customize a formal wear look? Check out these accessories at Jim’s Formal Wear online to spark ideas!


bride, groom, maid of honor, best man sit with their backs facing us and the reception in the background. Bride and bridesmaid hold hands as the men fist pump.

How to Host an Anniversary Reception

Since many couples chose to host a minimony or microwedding over a traditional wedding in 2020, a new trend has emerged in 2021.  Couples are planning anniversary receptions to celebrate their love and union with family and friends, since it wasn’t possible due to COVID…