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All ties are created equal but some ties are more equal than others....

How to Rock the Bow Tie

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All ties are created equal but some ties are more equal than others. There is no rule that bans bow ties from any type of business or formal occasion but still most men hesitate to choose the bow. I have been of these men most of my life. Although I have learned how to tie it at a very early age I never really dared to wear it. In the past 25 years there have been maybe half a dozen times that I left the house with a bow tie around my neck. Of course black or white tie night are not in this count, I am speaking of ties made of coloured silk.

Why this hesitation? Probably because bow ties have become so rare and almost extinct. To me a bow tie has been something elegant yet dated. Like a walking cane (which I’d love to use) or spats. But this is all in the past. And bow ties somehow always looked funny. People start grinning when they see someone with a bow tie.

Despite all this I have started to fall in love with bow ties recently. Maybe it’s a matter of age. Maybe it’s the fact that my clothing style is so old fashioned anyway that the bow tie doesn’t make any difference. Maybe I have started to appreciate the advantages.

First of all a bow makes you stand out between all those guys with their regular ties. I like this particularly when everybody wears a dark suit on very formal occasions. A bow tie is different without being too much. It’s not like red socks or funny suspenders. It’s perfectly classic and yet not what everybody else wears. A bow tie is classy because for the same reason. People may think that you’re crazy if you wear it but they will not think that you’re like the other chaps in suits. In that respect a bow tie is like a hat (and I always wear a hat). A practical advantage of bow ties is the fact that you can’t spill your soup on it (or your wine). This is maybe a mere adage but still it’s true.

Bow ties hardly wear out because they don’t have a tip that touches the desk. Bow ties show more of the shirt front which makes them very attractive for wearers of double breasted suits and three piece suits.

The only drawback is that you must learn how to tie it because pre-tied bow ties are out of the question. But don’t worry, it only takes a couple of minutes to master the knot and a bit of practising. I know that the majority of men will still not take the time. But that’s okay…I don’t want everyone wearing it, after all.

About Bernhard Roetzel

Bernhard Roetzel, 45, is an expert fashion writer from Berlin, Germany. The first edition of his book 'Gentleman. A Timeless Fashion' has been translated in 18 more languages since 1999. 2009 saw the launch of the revised edition of this book which has since been translated in more than a dozen languages. He currently works on a new book on menswear which will be published in English in Spring 2012.

One comment

  1. avatar

    Bow Tie? Outside of a black tie penguin event? No thanks.

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