Nothing says sartorial sophistication like a well-executed bow tie. At the same time both casual and elegant, the bow tie is a playful finishing touch for any gentleman about town. Today we’ve rounded up a few world-class resources to help you tie the knot.
A history of the bow tie
The bow tie found its earliest origins in the knotted ties made popular by Croatian soldiers of the Thirty Years War. Their stylish French comrades repatriated the look in the late 1600s, and by the next century neckties were a strictly upper-class affair. The cravat, as these ties became know, were a men’s fashion staple for over 200 years.
In 1886, sartorial risk taker Pierre Lorillard debuted his new vision for men’s eveningwear at a ball held at the Tuxedo club (yes, THAT Tuxedo). Fickle fashion enthusiasts flocked to Lorillard’s folly, and “black tie” soon became synonymous with high society fashion.
When to wear a bow tie
Once relegated to the confines of the highest classes, the bow tie is now as ubiquitous as the modern necktie. For black tie affairs, the bow tie is still considered de rigueur. You can, however, wear a well-knotted bow tie with anything really. The key is ensuring that your base shirt has a strong collar to help the tie hold both its shape and its knot. Tab colors are fine as are full colors. Button-down collars, however, should be avoided as the bow tie renders the buttons unnecessary.
Choosing a tie
Choose your tie as you would any accessory. Since the function of the tie – keeping a gentleman’s collar together – is no longer a necessity, today form trumps function. Colors can be as muted or as bold as your personality. Dressed in neutrals? A bow tie can offer an unexpected pop of color and draw attention to the face. Dressed to kill? Keep the tie closer to the base shirt or coat to lend a hint of subtle sophistication. Finally, if you are one who shies away from prints and patterns, give your bow tie a make over. On such a small canvas, stripes, dots and zigzags can have major impact without making your feel clownish.
Tying your bow tie
There is no easy way to describe proper bow tie tying. Instead, I pass the torch to the good folks at RealSimple. Their video guide gives clear, step-by-step instructions on perfecting your technique.
Caring for your bow tie
Care for your ties should be based on the individual tie’s base fabric. Stains should be treated as soon as possible – by a professional if you’re not comfortable with the process. Store your ties flat, folded once in half. Only iron if the fabric will take the heat without scorching or losing its shape.
Looking for help choosing the perfect bow tie? Contact Vince at any time to discuss which tie works best for you. Also, we can review our in-store collection of vintage ties or find you the ideal source for modern and vintage-inspired bows.
If you’d like to shop with Vince in person, check out our online calendar to find out when we’ll be in your area. You can also visit Vince’s shop at the Lovely Boutique in Orlando’s trendy Audubon Park neighborhood and our men’s section at Winter Park’s Orange Tree Antiques.