Bow ties are available in a wide array of fabrics, colors, and patterns. However, black is typically the preferred choice. (Think "black tie"!)
A pre-tied bow tie has a distinctive bow, sewn into its shape, with a band around the neck, sometimes incorporating a clip.
Some "clip-ons" dispense with the band altogether, and simply clip to the collar. The traditional bow tie, consisting of a strip of cloth, which the wearer has to tie by hand, may be known as a "self-tie," "tie-to-tie" or "freestyle" bow tie, to distinguish it from clip-ons and ready-made bow ties.
Bow ties may be made of any fabric material, but most are made from silk, taffeta, polyester, cotton, or a mixture of fabrics. Some fabrics (for example wool) are not as common in bow ties, as they are in less formal styles (See: Four-in-Hand Knot)