Gentleman, Dressed: The Bow Tie

I haven’t made many forays into this particular realm. I think personal fashion is a sum of calculated risks and its always best to stay in your lane with the gridlock of trends overwhelming menswear today. Would you have worn yellow slacks had mustard not been denoted as an “it” color for autumnal wardrobe? Trends (transient in essence) are usually done best by those who start them; everyone else is just copying. Likewise with the bow tie, you have to first observe it being donned by those who originated it, if not an icon.

Gene Kelly

Some are happy being a reflection of class, others want to start a new school.

After which, you have to decide whether you can “start” (and support) a trend with it based on how you construct your look, or if you’re just trying to be as accurate in your replication as possible. Some are happy being a reflection of class, others want to start a new school.

As with all experiments, ask questions but also take cues.

Failure may serve as a filter.

–Thierry Augustin

You’ve ventured into unknown territory and unless you know how to handle yourself, I suggest you tread softly. Bow-ties are nothing like the traditional neckties you’re used to, they’re tricky to pull off. Without having some knowledge about the tie, any attempts at looking sophisticated and distinguished will be futile. The sophisticate is either intrinsic or fervently learned, not forced. Just because you were gifted a bow-tie does not mean it’s to be put to immediate use–with your Arrow-collared shirt, perhaps (don’t do it!)–without any real thought.

The sophisticate is either intrinsic or fervently learned, not forced.

When it comes down to it, you just have to figure out if it works or how you can make it work with your personal style in a particular setting. For instance, casual days can be met with a patterned, and season-appropriate textured bow-tie to add some flair to your already relaxed look. A casual day at work could call for chinos and a button-down shirt with collars that will allow for a bow-tie that falls in line with the fit, textures, and colors you’re working with. For a more formal approach, I think Paul Newman’s (right image) approach serves more or less as a template.

Paul Newman

Just remember, some things are not meant for everyone. In the case that you realize this to be true about your attempts, step away from it, altogether. Forcing the matter in efforts to make a fashion statement or spark a trend will be nothing but a misstep on your part. Stay the course.

–Stephen Obisanya

3 Comment

  1. I love bow ties. They are so classy and attractive.

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