How to Wear Bows Without Being Like “Ugh”

Four good reasons to save your holiday ribbons



I am all about a bow. They can turn any box into a happy package, any outfit into a Look. Last year, during December especially, I was all about the hair-meets-choker option. It was the world’s fastest solution to, “Oh shit, a holiday party.” Like tinsel or lipstick, it instantly added an air of festivity and celebration.


AYR velvet jacket, Cédric Charlier trousers, Pixie Market bow crop top, Brian Atwood pumps

The problem with something semi-novel like a bow, though, is that its magical ability to carry the whole shebang on its own can fade rather quickly. One minute you’re standing before the mirror like, “I rule! This looks awesome!” and the next thing you know you’re like, “Why did I treat my head like a gift at a white elephant exchange?


Pixie Market sweater, Ralph Lauren cashmere skirt, Forever21 velvet bow barrette, Color Temperature bag

So here’s what you do: Add a bow to your hair. Tie it around a ponytail, use it to clip your tail to your head, wear it over your ears, wear it as a headband. Or, fine, wrap it around your neck. Then make that bow aggressively deliberate — It’s bow time, baby! —  by accentuating it with more bows on your body. Bows on your wrists, bows across your chest, bows across your belly…


J.Crew jacket and trousers, Sies Marjan fur scarf

The thinking is that if you’re going to do it, go for it. Like plaid. Don’t let anybody forget it!

Of course, you can also fall back on the simplicity of a single hair ribbon.


Tibi sweater, Sies Marjan skirt, A.W.A.K.E. plaid shirt, Ivy Kirzhner boots

In which case, make your toe-to-neck outfit the focal point and let the bow on top be one of those “Oh, this old thing” things. Your brain is a gift to the world, right? Might as well wrap it up nicely.

Special thanks to our model Ksenia Malyukova. Styled by Amelia Diamond; market and styling assistance by Elizabeth Tamkin; photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

Speaking of gifts, do you know why we give gifts? And you know who would rock the bow? Felicity Jones.

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  • Georgina

    Wish you guys would stop promoting fur. Everything else about you is so forward thinking but this lets you down entirely. Ideally you’d also stop promoting leather etc too but I don’t see that happening, but you really don’t need to be choosing fur items do you? If it wasn’t for this backwards aspect of MR I would absolutely adore you but it really lets you down. Please consider using your platform to promote a more compassionate approach to fashion!! There are so many faux (fur & leather) clothes out there that you could feature instead.

    • Natalalaa

      I´m with you on the anti-fur-train!

      • Georgina


    • Linda

      Georgina, perhaps its best that you promote your own forum/blog for what you think is appropiate and leave MR team to do what they do. If this post is not for you, go elsewhere. Its not everyday police people (who by the way you don’t pay) on how they run their business, style their clothes or what post they choose to publish, sometimes click the ‘x’ button marked in the corner and keep it moving.

      • Georgina

        I think I’m allowed to have an opinion and I’m allowed to share my opinion and give my input too. Change doesn’t come about if you say ‘oh they think differently so I’m going to not bother saying anything’, you have to speak up to be heard. MR is very successful and I think part of the reason is their outlook on issues and how they are quite forward thinking in their articles etc. So I’m making the point that it would be nice if they could be forward thinking in terms of compassionate fashion too. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to comment on an article by a website I otherwise respect making a point about something I’m passionate about by just asking them to consider a more compassionate approach to fashion. Plenty of things in the world ‘won’t be for you’ but it’s not just about ‘oh I don’t like that you’re posting v-necks I hate v-necks’ it’s ‘oh I don’t like that you’re promoting the torture and murder of innocent animals so that people can wear a coat they think looks cute’ so it’s a serious topic therefore I have the right to make my point and I shouldn’t be told by you that I should leave them be because change doesn’t come about by staying silent. And if we’re going by your logic of ignoring things you don’t care for then maybe you should have ignored my comment and “keep it moving” yourself by leaving me to make my point and scrolling by it.

        • Alanis

          I’m with you girl!

          • Georgina


    • Do you eat a vegan diet? I’m just curious.

      • Georgina

        I do yes 🌱

        • In that case, I completely agree!

          • Georgina

            Good to hear!

  • Harling Ross

    This shoot!!! The last outfit especially!!! I want to be inside it so badly.

  • chouette

    I care not about fur, but I wish you would quit promoting Pixie Market and their designer copies. That sweater is a JW Anderson design from less than a year ago. Love the feature otherwise!

  • Love how sartorial this is – not sure I could pull it off or would want to (especially with the fur number) but really fun to see

    – Natalie

  • AryaChic

    Not a fan of fur but I do love bows! They’re a very girly way of being festive, love the post 🙂

  • Number 3. I need look number 3. 🙂

  • Jana

    But where is the Jcrew suit from look 3? The link doesn’t lead anywhere… despair!