Wearing Bow Ties: Who, When, and With What

I’ve written previously about how bow ties are back “in.” However, many men still exhibit apprehension about tying a bow around their necks. In order to banish your doubts, here’s a practical, generalized, and possibly completely misguided guide to wearing bow ties:

Who should wear bow ties:

  • Anyone younger than 30 or older than 55. Sorry, but middle aged men dressing for work are forever doomed to neck ties.
  • Educators. If you’re a high school teacher, your dress code might include a tie. Since your bosses won’t judge you based on your neckwear, you might askanye west sporting a bow tie well shock your pupils with a decorative bow. If you’re a tenured professor, there’s no excuse not to wear unorthodox clothes.
  • Dandies. “Dandy” is a term for someone who takes clothing very seriously, always wears a pocket square, etc. Dandies completely disregard how people perceive them; instead, they heed only the clothes themselves. Bow ties are awesome clothes, so dandies should wear them. They probably already are.

When should you wear bow ties:

  • To proms and fraternity/sorority formals. Most of the attendees will have no clue how to dress. Anyone wearing a bow tie will quickly achieve legendary status.
  • To dinner parties. If conversation is stalling, wait for them to mention your bow tie. It will be mentioned eventually.
  • To get your picture taken. 20 years from now, anyone who glances at a picture of you wearing a bow tie will label you a sartorial god. Especially those who’ve never met you, but are looking at your picture: Your reputation will precede you.

With what should you wear bow ties:

  • Boring white shirts. Regular bow ties are loud enough, forgo the striped and checkers.
  • Jeans and a casual white shirt. By casual, I mean slightly wrinkled.
  • Khakis and a blazer. Suits are conservative, bow ties aren’t.

Final piece of advice: Pre-tied bow ties are synonymous with clip-on ties. Avoid both.

Photo credit: dresslikekanyewest.com

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