Bow Ties

Bow ties. The hotly disputed, professorial older brothers to the standard necktie, they are currently making an unprecedented return to the forefront of dapperness.

And you want in.

But understandably, you’re worried that you might end up coming off more Colonel Sanders than Fred Astaire. While this is a valid concern, it’s also easily avoidable; all you need is a little direction. And that’s where we come in, with a few carved-in-stone guidelines for making the jump from four-in-hand minor deity to neckwear god.

With that, we solemnly present: the 10 Commandments of Bow Ties…

1. All men shalt know how to tie a bow tie. Refresh thy knowledge here.

2. Thou shalt never clip-on. Pre-tied is one thing, but have a little self-respect.

3. Thou shalt respect the differences between styles. Batwing, butterfly and arrowhead: the subtle distinctions explained here.

4. Honor thy bow tie, and thou shalt never need to launder. Though in case of last resort, you should always trust its care to a seasoned professional. (Your local dry cleaner, that is.)

5. Thou shalt not strive for perfection. “A bow tie is like the ideal life. You have to play with it, tweak it, to get it right. Even then, of course, it’s always a bit askew. But it should be.” More on that here.

6. Thou shalt politely smile at any barbershop quartet jokes. And forgive them, because they know not what they mock.

7. Thou shalt not be afraid to dress it down. Roll up your jacketless sleeves in summer, or don your bow tie with a sweater or bomber in the colder months.

8. Remember that black silk is for formal occasions. If it’s just an idle Tuesday, try something more textured like linen or selvage.

9. Thou shalt not fear being bold. But remember, you’re also not here to make any statement other than that bow ties should be more commonplace.

10. Thou shalt not wear a bow tie indiscriminately. Because wearing one every day would dampen the thrill of it all.

And isn’t that the reason you’re wearing a bow tie in the first place?

—S.P.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Stephen Praetorius