by James Gallichio
There are certain elements of men’s style that have a kind of antiquated charm about them; shaving with a double-edged safety razor, appreciating a good old-fashioned shoe shine and, as we discuss in this article, the classic bow tie.
First, a history lesson.
The bow tie originated from a centuries-old style of tie, known as “the stock”, which was a long strand of fabric wrapped around the wearer’s neck and tied at the ends. Over time, this evolved into the bow ties we know and love today. By the end of the 19th century, there were two distinct styles of bow-tie. First, was the butterfly bow tie, a somewhat antiquated style that was difficult to tie and difficult to produce, due to the fact that the thickness of the wearer’s collar affected the lengths and widths of fabric required.
Hence, the batwing bow tie was born, which used straighter ends, are easier to tie and easier to mass-produce.
How To: Tie a Bow Tie
In the video below, you can see a simple how-to guide for tying a bow tie.
There are 3 important steps to follow when tying a bow tie:
1. To start, one side must be slightly longer than the other, by about 3cm. This is the end that you will lead with so needs extra slack.
2. The basic technique is exactly the same as when you tie your shoes.
3. Once it’s tied, adjust. Then adjust again. Then adjust some more.
Wearing a bow-tie is all about adjusting your image.
How do you wear your bow-tie? What kind of look are you trying to convey? Below, we’ve included some examples of different ways a bow-tie can tie together a man’s image.
The Classic, Formal Approach:
The tuxedo and the bow tie are the perfect pair, and create a classic, classy, dressed-up look. Above, we see Hugh Jackman sporting a perfectly-tied black bow tie to accompany his perfectly fitted black tuxedo. The outfit works as a whole because every detail just screams ‘impeccable style’. Everything matches and everything fits – and this is reflected in the way the bow tie is tied, with a precise, perfect symmetry.
The Contemporary Approach:
In this contemporary utilisation of the bow tie, we see a much more personal, unique look, in which the bow tie has been used to form a kind of pastiche for the outfit. Placing an older-style article, such as a bow tie, in a contemporary outfit adds an element of charm, while the tweaked, un-uniform tying style and polka-dot pattern compliments the contrasting patterns and colours used in this outfit.
As the world moves past the first decade of the 21st century, fashion trends are gradually heading back to the older days of formality. Not only are we seeing a resurgence in bow ties, but also a newfound appreciation for double edge razors, dress shoes and well tailored suits. As demonstrated above, the bow tie is best used to compliment the outfit as a whole, rather than standing out. A simple rule of thumb is: Your outfit shouldn’t make people say, “Wow, look at that guy’s bow tie!” Rather, it should say, “Wow, that guy looks cool! And he’s wearing a bow tie!”