November 29, 2010

History of Bow Ties

The Story of the Bow Tie

mens-polka-dot-bow-tieIn general, it seems that there are two types of neckties; bow ties, and straight ties. There are, of course, bolo or string ties to consider, and they do make up a minority. But, the tie universe seems to be pretty much divided down the middle between bow and straight. The bow tie also suffers in popularity, since many times it is perceived as a tie that is meant for more formal affairs with more formal people. A dress code known as Black Tie Attire, for instance, is one place where you can pretty much be assured that every other man will be sporting a bow tie. And, because of this, bow ties can be perceived as stuffy and conservative, while your straight tie is able to swing freely with its bad self. Sadly, many men these days are also unsure as to just how to tie a bow tie. But, just what is the story with this misunderstood neck adornment? And, what’ll happen if you stray to the other side of the necktie tracks?

The short answer is that nothing will happen. You will be wearing a bow tie. Chances are that you won’t be becoming a tax attorney overnight, or lecturing at a local university. But, the long answer is that you will be part of a tradition that stretches back a few hundred years. Bow ties do lend an air of respectability that some men recoil at. But, if you have the confidence in yourself to sport a bow tie at the office, chances are that you will be the center of attention.

So, where does the bow tie come from? Did it evolve from other forms of tie? Do the bow tie and the straight tie have a common ancestor that they’re both derived from? Oddly enough, yes they do. During the Prussian wars of the 17th century, Croatian mercenaries would wear colorful ‘mens scarves’ around their necks to, among other things, denote rank and distinguish officer from enlisted man. The French, who were fighting alongside the Croats, were mightily impressed with this fashion innovation, and took the idea back home with them; adopting it as their own. The resulting neck adornments were called ‘cravats’, and became quite the rage among the upper crust of French society. Whether or not these cravats first spawned the bow tie, and then the straight tie, or the other way around is not known. What is most likely, is that they evolved together and concurrently. Be this as it may, the bow tie had been born, and was around to stay.

As was mentioned above, what can deter some men, is the tying of the tie itself. If you’ve never done this before, it can be a bit of a daunting task; very similar to tying a straight tie, but just different enough as to be challenging. And, if you don’t get the knot right, the bow looks silly. Basically, there is far less margin for error with bow ties. Clip-on bow ties do exist, as well as ones with adjustable neck straps, but where’s the fun in that? An important part of wearing a bow tie, is getting down with the tradition of the whole deal. Tying the knot is an act that takes some skill to master, and is very satisfying to do correctly.

If you do decide to rock a bow tie one day, do not regret your decision. Confidence is an extremely important component of fashion, and if you lack it, other people will be able to smell the fear on you. Choose a tie that compliments you outfit, and then let the tie do its work. Spend the time required to get the knot just right, and it won’t let you down, as long as you don’t let it down with doubt. At the end of the day, a tasteful bow tie can be just the right accessory to set you apart, and get you noticed. It says that you don’t mind being tastefully different. That you don’t mind eyes being on you. And that you recognize that you are part of an age-old and venerable fashion tradition.

Other Related Readings You May Like:
History of the Cummerbund
Wear a Bow Tie Like a Pro

Your Bows-n-Ties.com Team

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