I have an opinion about men who wear bowties. They are mavericks; truly adventurous dressers who live on the sartorial edge. They are nonconformists and often seen as threatening to the establishment. Yes, look out for the man who sports a bowtie – he probably has an attitude.
For a long time, those who wore bowties were depicted as milquetoasts or mamma’s boys. This situation has slowly changed and bowties have begun to re-emerge as symbols of intellectual rakishness and individual dressers. Sure, they are not overly common for day wear, but when worn in public they do carry a certain intellectual air. Sill, apart from being paired with a dinner jacket, many men are still afraid to tie one on.
And so there is no confusion, the only appropriate neckwear to pair with a dinner jacket is a bowtie. Please refrain from that annoying Hollywood “look, we’re going against the grain, notice us” habit of wearing bolos, long ties or silly a Nehru collar with a tuxedo. We get it; you’re creative, now just follow George Clooney’s lead you’ll look great.
Bowties have been a favorite of mine for years; I even wore them in college to student government meetings. I felt intellectual when sporting one; even a little dashing. Bowties have so much more personality than regular neck ties and it always seemed to me that interesting people inevitably wore them. A bowtie can provide a natty counterbalance to an otherwise staid outfit – something that a neck tie can’t claim.
I am a longtime fan of journalist George Will, in part because he almost always would wear a bowtie on TV. Recently he has been wearing more neckties, and this is too bad. Sporting a bowtie and that perpetually brainy look, you knew right away that this guy has something to say and that he marches to his own drummer. Bowties have that power.
One reason bow ties are more often the purview of clever men is that at first they are difficult to tie. And let me stop you cold here. Never, under any circumstances should wear a clip-on or prettied bowtie. Ever. They are just so wrong on too many levels. Learn how to tie one yourself and be proud of it. A particularly useful way to practice is using your calf as a stand-in for your neck. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple.
Bowties can be paired with many types of outfits. On the business side, they look good with all nature of suits, though models with a higher lapel stance can visually compensate for the dearth of exposed shirt fabric cascading down your front.
They also can work well in less formal settings, allowing for a bit of dress up when needed. Paired with jeans or khakis, cords or gabardines, bowties can give voice to your inner college professor.