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Monday, May 3, 2010

The Bow Tie and the Man

It's one of those things. I see a bow tie and it grabs my attention. There's a degree of fussiness involved with a bow tie that tells me someone is serious about their style, or at least the statement they're trying to make. Tying a bow tie is becoming an ancient sartorial art and it's use is not as widespread as it once was.

Personally, I'm not a bow tie guy. I know what looks work for me and which don't. That said, I do have an appreciation for those it does work for, the effort they make and the devil-may-care attitude about wearing one... all qualities I admire.

From what I can tell, the bow tie works well for our friend here. A red and white check silk tie breaks up the potential monotony of the blue pinstripe suit. I like blue pinstripe suits but something needs to be done to give it a little flair and individuality. Personally, I tend to use shirt, tie and pocket square color, fabric and pattern combinations to give an otherwise basic suit a little extra something, but the bow tie does the trick. A little harder to see is another favorite trick of mine, using hosiery color to bridge the eyes from the ankles back towards the face. Playing off the red check, a hint of his red socks can be seen poking through. Red socks are a gutsy call. I don't own a pair of red socks. I have a virtual rainbow of color but red is not one I ever felt would fit my style, but then again I don't wear much red anything.

I could write at great length about the bow tie, its history, meaning and utilitarian uses, but I'm afraid everyone will drift off. Short story is back in the 17th Century, a band of Croatian mercenaries came to visit King Louis of France. There's some historical debate on exactly what the mercenaries were doing that led to meeting with the King, but they met nevertheless. Apparently there was a button shortage back home, so the Croatians tied scarves around their necks to keep their shirts closed. King Louis was so impressed by the style he reportedly insisted what became known as "La Cravat" be worn to all upper-class functions.

Was the bow tie the forerunner to the traditional tie worn today? Can't be sure. What we can be sure of is that the bow tie has maintained some degree of relevance for over 350 years and not just in formal wear.

3 comments:

Brett Charles said...

It's a definitive statement of discriminating taste and sophistication. An accompanying pocket square can just about be measured of the same status, perhaps not as dramatic, however. I am an aficionado of both, with a rather sizable collection of each. No suit or sports coat is ‘finished’ without a stylish pocket square. They are essential accessories to a gentleman's wardrobe, in my view. They present an impression of good taste, style and power. BCN

sean said...

agree with u guys - done correct bowtie is nice. to be honest i always assume to pull off the bow - tie u needed to be real gay or real paid (old school upper east side style) - but im now re-thinking... thx

Alan said...

I have worn bow ties for job interviews and it has worked for me. It helped set me apart from the crowd. Some may take offense, but in a crowded job market one has to set himself apart.

Good post! It does depend on the individual.