Before delving into the details about this piece of accessory, let’s have a crash course on the history, just to put things into perspective.
It is believed what we know today as the bow tie can be traced back to the 17th century, worn by the Croatian army in what was known as the thirty years’ war between 1618 and1648. The purpose of this neckwear was functional which was meant to keep the collars of their shirts together. At the end of the war, the French army turned this otherwise functional piece of neckwear into a fashionable accessory and called it a cravat. At the time, the cravat was only worn by the upper class and was seen as a sign of opulence and grandeur. With time, wearers of the bow tie diversified with university professors, lawyers, architects, and sometimes politicians all wearing it and making it a staple piece of accessory.
The bow tie has never really been out of fashion but has seen a huge increase in use in recent years as the fashion world has infused its use into the everyday look. It is now more popular than ever which means you do not have to be heading to a formal dinner party or indeed a specific occasion to wear one. Traditional or stereotypical use has been dwarfed by an ever-increasing trendy demand.
Well know men who have been seen consistently wearing a bow tie includes Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire.
If you intend to wear one, here is what you need to know to help you not only have fun with it but also appear stylish.
I have classified types of bow ties into three categories:
Clip-on – The clip-on is my least favourite even though it can be used with minimum effort. It is literally a pre-made bow attached to a clip, which is in turn attached to the front of your shirt. Unless you intend to wear one for novelty purposes, do not bother.
Pre-tie – A pre-tie bow tie has already been structured and made with specific measurements and style. This is similar to the clip-on but the bow is usually attached to an adjustable neck strap for ease and comfort. This type is the most popular as it is much easier to put on than the self-tie and not as cheap looking as the clip-on. You can literally have it on in less than a minute.
Self-tie – This is also known as the freestyle bow tie and is much more organic than the two above. As the name implies, wearers need to knot this type of bow tie, which in itself is a show of commitment to this piece of accessory. This is by far my favourite. The self-tie looks slightly different every time you knot it and may also look asymmetrical which gives it character and a bit of quirkiness.
Since its popularisation, it has seen changes in function and looks diversifying its shapes accordingly. The butterfly, the big butterfly, the batwing, the diamond point and the rounded club are all shapes the bow tie come in these days.
The diehard everyday devotees aim for the eccentricity it brings to their look, which can be seen as an extension of their personalities. The question is; what’s your look?
So break the mould, present a contrarian point of view in fashion this season and don a bow tie for no reason.
Thank me later!