How to wear bows the grown up way

The Duchess of Cambridge (as with so many trends) started it, and now Nicole Kidman has confirmed it. Bows are back in a big way.

Both famous faces have been spotted wearing a classic black bow threaded around an equally chic bun or ponytail in recent weeks – but the rise of the ribbon is not exclusive to hair. Style app has reported an increase in demand for bow-based products generally, with the number of clicks rising by 128% in recent weeks.

How to wear bows
Nicole Kidman sporting her black velvet hair bow. Image: Getty Images

In their SS19 shows, Erdem, Preen and Emilia Wickstead all sent bows down the catwalk – and on the Golden Globes red carpet on Monday, stars including Charlize Theron, Constance Wu, Kaley Cuoco and Penelope Cruz incorporated bows into their ballgowns. If, as the saying goes, it takes three to make a trend, we’ve got a trend several times over.

How to wear bows
Just some of the bows on the Golden Globes red carpet. Image: Getty Images

The good news is that this particular trend is easy – and affordable – to pay homage to. From flirty and feminine to big and bold, we’ve rounded up five easy ways to take a bow this season.

How to wear bows the grown up way

In your hair

Well, if you’re going to copy anyone, it should probably be Kate. The Duchess of Cambridge has been spotted with her signature J.Crew velvet hair tie around her royally approved ponytail at several public events.

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As one might imagine, the ‘Kate effect’ has caused the original version to sell out – but Madewell has a similar pink version that’s perfect for the spring months to come.

Velvet bow hair tie, £8.37, Madewell

No matter what hue you choose, be sure to keep your pony mid-height and neatly groomed, a la the Duchess – shift it up, and it veers into cheerleader territory.

As a collar

The pussybow barely ever goes out of style, but seeing Saint Laurent showed them at Paris Fashion Week (on none other that Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber) it’s time to reintroduce it back to your daily wardrobe rotation.

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Take a walk on the wild side and incorporate it two trends at once by incorporating animal print – this semi-sheer blouse is one of Zara’s current bestsellers.

Animal print blouse with bow, £39.99, Zara

Around your waist

Take inspiration from Constance Wu’s nude and neon (pictured above), or Jennifer Garner’s sequin sash at an Art of Elysium event earlier this month; the chicest way to cinch your waist is with a bow.

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The trick is to choose a neutral shade as your base and then let the bow to add a pop of colour – try Hobbs‘ Thao dress, which has a sash of showstopping red.

Black Thao Dress, £129, Hobbs

In reverse

Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan just pulled off the backwards bow with aplomb on the red carpet, and you can do it too, even if you don’t want to go quite this luxe with your look.

J.Crew’s silk bow-back top comes in a choice of four colours – blush, ivory, navy and black – and can be worn anywhere, from the office to the bar and back again.

Silk bow-back top, £128, J.Crew

On your shoes

Magda Butrym’s bow-front mules are a firm favourite amongst the style set – at least those who can afford the £700 price tag. This season, however, the high street is awash with affordable alternatives.


Mango have come up trumps with a wearable, everyday take on the trend – all of the glamour of the pink satin and point, with a slightly more reigned-in topper.

Bow satin mules, £35.99, Mango

More beautiful bow buys

Earrings with a bow, £8.99, H&M

Meryl dress, £145, Ghost

Claudie Pierlot Bow-fastened wool cardigan, £92.50, Selfridges

Olivia Burton Vintage Bow Chain Bracelet, £45, John Lewis & Partners

Olivia ochre velvet bow mules, £36, Monsoon

Angelica jumper, £40, Boden

Hiva crepe flared jumpsuit, £70, French Connection

See by Chloé pussybow satin top, £129, Net-A-Porter

Black satin bow scrunchie, £4.99, New Look