To the haters of bow ties (and hipsters), I say Horsefeathers! Phooey! Hogwash! Malarky! To quote the most recent incarnation of Doctor Who, "Bow ties are cool."
I will be the first to admit that not everyone is meant to wear a bow tie–just like not everyone is meant to wear hats or skinny jeans or beards–but bow ties should not automatically be discounted like they were a pair of Crocs or sweatpants. Instead, men, educate yourselves, find out if you can walk the bow tie strut, and ask yourself if you want to attract the kind of lady who respects and swoons for the man who boldly dons a bow tie.
Here are the basics for non-formal bow tie wearing:
Thrift stores are a great place for a novice to pick up their first bow tie (the price is right) and for the intermediate wearer to find some vintage classics. Just like with regular ties (or any clothing) fabrics make a difference in how classy and cool the bow tie looks. Natural fibers like silk, cotton, and wool, are always better than, say, polyester.
There are three major types of bow ties: The batwing (named after a cricket bat), the hourglass or butterfly, and the pointed. Bow ties may come in several different widths, which of course gives you different looks and more options. Many bow ties are adjustable around the neck, but you can also get them in a specific neck size; the measurement is the same as the neck on your dress shirts. You can also get pre-tied clip ons, which isn't my favorite version of a bow tie, but I won't judge you if you do.
|From left to right: batwing, hourglass, and pointed.|
Here are two diagrams about how to tie a bow tie. I'm sure there are videos on YouTube as well. Like anything worthwhile, it will take a little practice. But if you can tie your shoes I trust you have the fine motor skills to master the task. Bonus: Learning this skill will help you become a better wrapper of presents, much to your lady's delight.
Famous Bow Tie-ers!
Whether it helps or hurts my efforts, here are some famous wearers of bow ties.
|Starting from top left Andre 3000, Frank Sinatra, Matt Smith as Doctor Who, Bill Nye, Pee Wee Herman, |
Groucho Marx, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Humphrey Bogart, and Winston Churchill.
Enjoy some modern examples of your potential bow tie excellence. Please keep in mind that these are fashion photos and not necessarily your end goal. You can keep it simple and wear bow ties in a way to fit your wardrobe and aesthetic. You don't have to wear tweed, suspenders, or waistcoats to "pull it off," and you don't have to wear bold-patterned bow ties. Remember that experimentation is key in fashion. It's okay to have fashion fails as long as you keep trying. I have them all the time.