When one thinks of wearing bow ties, they think of events such as a gala, a ball, or a black-tie wedding. However, bow ties have become much more common for less glamorous affairs. Some men have even replaced their ties for a bow tie. Bow ties first entered the scene at the beginning of the 19th century as a new style of necktie. By the mid-1880s, the bow tie was a staple in the more affluent man’s wardrobe.
The tradition of wearing a knotted piece of fabric around a man’s neck dates back to the 17th century. The Croatian soldiers of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) were one of the first documented to wear the necktie, which they used to keep together the collars of their shirts. After the war, French soldiers brought the look back home, and by the 1700s upper class had adopted the necktie as a fashion staple in a man’s wardrobe.
Bow ties crossed gender lines into women’s wear in the 1920s and 30’s when adorning actresses such as Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich wore spotted wearing them. This paved the way for women wearing masculine attire such as top hats, button-down shirts, tailored suits, and of course the bow tie.
The bow tie has been used in many corporate identities. The beer company Budweiser introduced a bow tie-shaped can in 2013 as a tribute to its logo dating back to 1956. Chevrolet co-founder, William C. Durant, introduced the company’s bow tie logo; however, there are many theories of its origin. Playboy Enterprises, Pringles, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are other major companies that incorporate them into their logos.
The Composition of a Bowtie
Less fabric is used to make them (37 inches) in comparison to traditional ties (57 inches). You can find bow ties in any men’s section of a department store, men’s specialty shops, and online. Amazon also has some really good choices! Brooks Brothers, Men’s Warehouse, and Jos A. Bank are also great options plus you can find shirts to match. Do not be afraid to choose a bowtie with fun patterns and colors. Bowties are not meant to be boring. The perfect way to add a touch of your own personality is to choose a funny and creative bow tie. You can find everything from M&Ms to banana bow ties and mustache ties to dollar-bill ties. Whatever you like!
Black is, by a large margin, the most popular bow tie color. This should not come as a surprise since the black bow tie is part of the formal black-tie dress code. Pink surprisingly is also extremely popular. Almost 1 in 14 bow ties sold is pink in color. Most of these are sold during the spring and summer months and are worn at weddings and proms.
Types of Bow Ties
There are generally three types of bow ties: the pre-tied, the clip-on, and the self-tie. Pre-tied bow ties are ties in which the distinctive bow is sewn onto a band that goes around the neck and clips to secure. Some “clip-on” dispense with the band altogether, instead clipping straight to the collar. The traditional bow tie, consisting of a strip of cloth which the wearer must tie by hand, is also known as a “self-tie,” “tie-it-yourself,” or “freestyle” bow tie.
How to Tie a Bow Tie on Someone Else
Tying a bow tie is easier than you think! I found this bow tie and pocket square for on Amazon. Whether you’re tying for someone or on yourself check out these super easy steps!
1. Make sure the back of the tie is adjusted to your neck size. Here’s how to get your neck size if you don’t know how to Get Your Shirt Measurement.
2. Drape the bow tie around the neck. One side should be laying lower (2-3 inches) than the other side.
3. Cross both sides and tuck the longer end up and over to create a simple knot.
4. Drape the longer end over your shoulder. Fold the shorter end into the shape of bow pinching it against your neck.
5. Move the longer side from shoulder over the bow. Pull the two ends of the bow and hold them together.
6. There will now be a loop behind the bow near your neck. Fold the middle of the longer end of the bow tie and push it through the loop.
7. Pull the folding ends until you are satisfied with your bow. It won’t look great at first but as you keep pulling and shaping the bow it will look awesome!
A self-tie bow tie will never be perfectly symmetrical which is part of its charm!