Bowties & Bogans


This is a guest post by Trent Beven

The other evening my girlfriend and I were walking down the main street of our town to an art opening at my favourite gallery; I was a bit excited about this but more excited because I was wearing my new bow tie from Le Noeud Papillion.


While we were stopped at traffic lights I noticed a car waiting there also. What drove my attention to the car was that the girl inside looked right at me, laughed, then said something to her boyfriend so he could get in on the joke. With the window down it was pretty easy to see the two of them grinning, glaring and laughing directly at me until the lights changed.

I’m new to this sort of style (it’s only the 3rd time I’d worn a bow tie) and I have to admit it got to me a little.

Had I been either more brave or petty I might of pointed out that his singlet is only meant to be an undergarment, his hat was crooked and, with a bachelor in fine arts, I can say his tattoo looked standard issue and thoughtless.

Most others in this small rural town when seeing me in a bow tie that night just looked at me like a little oddly, and I guess I was the odd one out so fair enough.

This little experience has taught me at least two things.

Firstly, wearing a bow tie in this world requires a confidence of a belly dancer (they look pretty confident to me). If you show any sign of individuality in your appearance you’ll be judged and ridiculed. You can pull it off only if you tell the world: “I’m confident in myself. No matter how ridicules you think I look I disagree and I’m not fussed with your opinion”. I was a little funny about it at first, but I look forward to wearing a bow tie at our local jazz and wine festival. I like bow ties, I look good in the bow and my girlfriend thinks so too. All the good reasons to continue wearing them.

Secondly, you should never point and laugh at people from your car when stopped at traffic lights.

Trent Beven is a fine arts graduate in rural Australia with weakness for fine hats, blazers and american folk songs.



  1. I feel for you Mr Beven, as someone who also lives in non-metropolitan Australia and experiences this frequently. Just the other night I was off to a party and someone who could be described as a bogan driving an entry level mercedes with oversized glasses felt the need to slow down just to look and laugh as he passed me.

    They honestly can be animals – I imagine they would never trade their dirty polyester and mass produced printed singlets for a higher taste.

    We must simply rise above them and remember that we do the world a service by wearing such fine clothes. We provide the world with lovely things to look at amidst the dull reality of their lives.

  2. Trent,
    My job has provided me with the opportunity to live in both rural and metropolitan Australia, and I do enjoy showing all of those people what good taste looks like. It’s a good feeling knowing that you’re one of only a handful of men (if not the only man)in the room that’s bothered to learn how to tie your own bow…

    Keep it up mate.

  3. Trent,

    If I told you the number of people who said to me when I started: ‘bow ties, who wears them anymore? Why on earth would you waste your money investing in something like that?’.

    Life has taught me that you must not listen to others. I started a nightclub in 2008, the same voices that said ‘a tiny nightclub in a back alley, no, not for me, I don’t go out anymore’. But once it was done they all came and they had a swell time and danced all over my burgundy velvet couches. It became the hottest place to be and we stole the in crowd from people who spent huge money on getting them in their doors. We didn’t spend a cent. Before I had a nightclub I ran the Sydney Comedy Store. The same voices said the same thing. After the Comedy Store I started a compost bin company. Again, they said the same thing. And after that I started to dj weddings (which eventually led to the nightclub). At every turn I was initially met with resistance but when you remain focussed and dedicated to something, people will eventually follow you.

    I handed over my idea for a film to a person who is a very famous actor who lives in Los Angeles. We had been friends in Paris. He didn’t get why I would want to make this ‘remake’. Disgruntled by my first attempt I then told Baz Luhrmann about it in my bar one night. He liked it, so much so that he then bought the rights four weeks later. It is now being filmed in Sydney… The Great Gatsby.

    I think what I am saying is, trust your convictions. And if wearing a bow tie turns you on, who gives a rats arse about the idiot in the singlet. He probably has his own insecurities and perhaps his bird is a trollop and has a tramp stamp on her lower back of a Chinese symbol she wouldn’t know the meaning of.

    You need those people though Trent, you need them to cross paths with you so that you remain forthright in your convictions. And eventually, something good will come of it.

    Best wishes, good night and thank you for buying my bow ties. I certainly appreciate it.

  4. never wear a bow tie

  5. “Might of” is unfortunately a sign of boganism

  6. its the first rule of business to not be denied by people who have little idea of business so Atgemis has some reason.The idea of Bow ties? Well wear what you waqnt and for sure bow ties will make a comeback but at the moment they dwell on the shelf of PRAT. What has never gone out of style is the cravatte. Now thats coooool!!!!

  7. stick to your guns i say…i live in Melbourne and work in the CBD, wear a three piece suit with pocket hanky and also get looks etc…

    oh well…i like it and have so for many years…

    keep at it sounds like you love it…

  8. I don’t live in Australia, but a smaller sized city in Canada, and I do get the same reactions from the rednecks in the city as the Trent described. It got to me at first, but for every 10 trailer trashes who think it’s funny or stupid for me to wear a bow tie, a woman will come and compliment me…

    The way I see it, I’d rather have one woman with good taste comes over to talk to me, then have 10 men who think I’m gay and make fun of me.

  9. I live in Oxford, where many academics wear bowties with their suits. They look distinguished, confident and valued, and are accustomed to the stares of tourists and students alike.

    I think however, that they are best shown off with a decent suit, preferably with a waistcoat to hide the uncovered placket, pocket square and other accessories, and traditional polished shoes. In other words, they should be reserved for your very best effort. Wearing them with a short sleeved shirt, shorts and sockless boat shoes gives off a ‘My other car is also a yacht,’ vibe, whilst with a decent suit they seem say ‘reliable gentleman.’

  10. I’ve taken to bow ties myself, lately, but … $150 a pop? That’s an awful lot when you’re still deciding whether bow ties are your thing.

  11. Brutus Crombie says:

    A good post and some good comments especially by Nicholas and Neil. I agree with what´s been said entirely and would really like to emphasise that a snide comment from a person in a singlet or tracksuit etc. is really to be taken as a compliment. It´s proof and confirmation that you´re doing something right and you have placed yourself so far from these peoples (lack of) standards that they actually feel the need to comment on it. They see in us what I believe is a threat, the threat of the fact that they are not as “cool”, “original” and “independent” as they think they are in their “rebellious” and oversized gymnastics gear.

  12. Do yourself a favour and change ‘might of’ to ‘might have’.

  13. “A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.”
    –Frederick Douglass

    “Bow ties are cool!”
    –The Doctor

    I agree with the above sentiment that people will sneer, but attractive women will compliment you on a bow tie. Wear it if you like it.

  14. I do live in Paris, and amazingly enough bowties have quite disappeared from street style for quite a long time. However, I am going to make the jump and start wearing them too. Happily I am Black, so I am quite sure my move will be taken as the type of bold way to dressing we are sometimes able to display, no matter how the surrounding world might come to think of!

  15. I understand and I don’t live in a very rural area at all. I just want to wear a suit but no matter the person, everyone asks “what is the occasion”. When my answer isn’t satisfactory they just give puzzled looks.

  16. Rob, just tell them, “It stays out of the soup.” This gets a laugh and then you’re done explaining.

  17. “It stays out of the soup.” I like that answer.

  18. Hello,
    I’m another Aussie poster. Your article on bow ties underlines a truism, that is, the most ignorant of people often comment on matters beyond their knowledge or experience. In your case,a gutter snipe showed his true origins. I know it’s difficult, but you need to ignore such types. I own about 70 bow ties and wear them more often than straight ones – usually with a pair of grey flannels and a Scottish cardigan. I call it my Harvard law professor look.
    Anyway, next time a moron says anything, just say, ‘good enough for Churchill, good enough for me!’
    Ian from Downunder

  19. I’m essentially a rocker, and I’m only beginning to develop a more elegant side. Think more Keith Richards, less Cary Grant.

    So I can tell you that it’s not bow-ties, or elegance per se – it’s eccentricity. The bow-tie is now rare so it provokes reaction. And the standard reaction to eccentricity is lacks the normal inhibitions against commenting on strangers’ appearances.

    I have mutton-chop sideburns – young Charles Darwin style. While your tattooed stranger might have appreciated these, different people find them amusing, and don’t hide it.

    As you implied, you just have to suck it up. While the majority may laugh at you, the minority that you are more interested in will be impressed. You can’t please everybody. The more unusual your appearance, the more this is true.