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.
But with the warmer, more carefree summer party circuit on the horizon—weddings, society croquet galas, et cetera—you’ve got permission to lighten things up a bit. That means cotton instead of silk, linen instead of cotton and, for the love of all things holy above 90 degrees, not a stitch of velvet in sight. So we’ve rounded up a few lightweight substitutions for your tuxedo routine that will keep you just as dapper through the hotter months to come. No sweat.
Because friends don’t let friends look disheveled in black tie. (This snap comes from last night’s Time 100 Gala, when the magazine honored their picks for most influential people of the year.) The approving gaze of Justin Timberlake says it all.
Sager Wisdom: Made Man catches up with the NBA’s famously flamboyant sideline reporter Craig Sager to talk style, double-breasted silk Versace and where he draws the line (surprisingly, he has one, and it’s bow ties).
A handful of glamorous black-and-whites were unleashed on the Internet with yesterday’s announcement of Mad Men’s season six return—and while the majority of chatter has centered on Pete Campbell’s burgeoning muttonchops, we noticed something else worth noting: a depiction of the full spectrum of bow tie shapes in one single snap.
Now, no matter what Big Bow Tie would like to have you believe, there are really only three shapes of bow tie: the batwing, butterfly and diamond-point (or, as our friends at Forage Haberdashery like to call them: arrowheads). And the photo above has the perfect example of the subtle differences among all three. Most obvious is Roger Sterling’s diamond-point, but here’s where the nuance comes into play: Don is wearing a batwing—signified by its straight, slim blades that don’t get too much wider than the knot—while Pete is wearing a butterfly, or “thistle,” that creates a much more pronounced and rounder appearance akin to its namesake’s wings. It’s a lesson worth learning for the cravat-inclined, but as you can see, there’s really no wrong choice.
One of our favorite sartorial holiday traditions is the New Year’s Eve tuxedo.
And the most important part of the look is your bow tie—sitting there, dead center, staring back at everyone, inviting them to drink in your tuxedoed-ness in full splendor. Done right, a well-chosen bow tie can make up for some overzealous peak lapels or lightly scuffed tux loafers, but the wrong one could ruin an otherwise splendid black-tie affair. The trick is to choose wisely and make it a notch different than anyone else who dare rival your penguin suit. (And by different, we mean better.)