January 31, 2013

How and When to Rock A Bow Tie

Carl Michael Ziehrer, one of the first gentlemen who truly rocked the bow tie.

There is no doubt that we are a pampered generation of men. Bravery for the average Joe used to be displayed in the form of ice water diving with the Polar Bear Club, an afternoon rugby match or resting one’s head in the mouth of an alligator.  These days, however, one of the boldest moves the modern man can make is topping off an everyday outfit with the illustrious bow tie.

Bow ties first gained relevance during the Prussian wars of the 17th Century and were used to distinguish rank in the realm of enlisted men. In return, the French adopted this idea as an innovating breakthrough in fashion. Eventually, the bow tie became associated with tax attorneys and college professors; a mild-mannered balance of success and wit. Today, many men attempt to rock the bow tie both in casual and formal wear but success is never a guarantee!

So how does one truly pull off a bow tie? Subtlety.If too much attention is drawn to your bow tie, you’re already in trouble.  A bow tie should never be the first attribute a passerby notices about your ensemble.  If this is the case, you run the risk of giving off a Bill Nye The Science Guy vibe instead of that smooth jazz aura you were initially going for.

Wearing a tuxedo sheds a whole new light on Bill Nye, even with that technicolor bow tie.

The subtlety of your bow tie can be determined by its first impression. This means that it is vital you stick to muted colors and humble patterns. Our low key attributes will not only benefit our outfits but also determine our overall class and swagger.

Now that we are all experts in how to rock a bow tie, the real question is “when?” The answer is simple: “All the damn time…respectfully”. Whenever a situation arises where you may wear a necktie, whether sporting a tuxedo or not, you’d better believe you can break out that bowtie. A bowtie pushes the boundaries of your “nice” outfits and this is mostly because those other guys are utterly terrified of learning to tie one.

Also, you’d better believe that an array of critics will have a field day with your choice of tie.  When your so-called buddy publicly yells “Nice outfit, Pee Wee Herman!” in an attempt to embarrass you, this is when you flip on the swagger switch (we all have one). Your bow tie feeds off of your genuine confidence and will only look as good as you allow it to. So when the Pee Wee remarks do surface, you merely smirk, re-adjust your bow tie and carry on like a true gentleman.

So why not give it a shot?  Bow ties are not only distinguished but will differentiate you from the masses of men too afraid of looking nerdy in the eyes of their peers. Not to mention, your new found passion for bow ties is a fantastic conversation starter and in many instances, will even speak for itself.  It tells your bartender that you enjoy a frosty bourbon on the rocks and it lets your hot date know that you won’t dine and dash. All in all, the bow tie is not only an advancement and trend in men’s formal wear but an ode to to our founding fashion fathers as well.

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