Gentlemen, let’s discuss the bow tie. The small but mighty cousin of the normal workday tie, bow ties have experienced a recent resurgence in the fashion world, so it’s vital that any gentleman of style consider adding one to his wardrobe. Fashion designers have begun to produce a variety of both casual and formal bow ties that add instant refinement to any wardrobe, and as an added bonus, many of these designers offer pre-tied options–so if you’re new to the world of bow ties, there’s no excuse not to familiarize yourself with the trend.
Designers bring the bow tie back into fashion
Designers like Tom Ford are largely responsible for reintroducing stylish men everywhere to the humble bow tie; today you can find bow ties from a range of designers including Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs and Band of Outsiders.
Once reserved for high society galas and other such stylish affairs, the bow tie is now a must-have accessory for every event from weddings to casual Saturday luncheons. These days you can find celebrities such as Ryan Gosling and Tom Hiddleston looking dapper in bow ties. The bow tie is such an essential piece of the modern man’s wardrobe that it even featured prominently in the cult TV series Doctor Who, with the eleventh doctor sporting a signature red bow tie.
Why bow ties are better
No offense meant to its humble cousin, but in the style game, the bow tie is surely better. Part of the allure of the bow tie is the vintage glamour of the style; even a simple chambray shirt and linen slacks look instantly more stylish when paired with a printed bow tie. Even better, the style of a bow tie lends itself well to pattern mixing in a way that a regular tie simply can’t match. Their small scale means that bow ties handle patterns and loud colors with aplomb, and it’s easy to pair them with other colors and prints without overburdening the eye.
While the number of patterns and colors available on the bow tie market is seemingly endless, and enough to delight any man of fashion, true dandies will also be thrilled with the wide array of fabrics at their fingertips (or rather, their throats). Wool, velvet, silk, tweed, chambray and more: the variety of textures adds a whole new dimension to any outfit.
And of course, there’s an obvious practical side to the bow tie: unless you’re extremely unlucky, you’ll quite likely not spill anything on it, nor get it caught in anything by accident!
How to pull off a designer bow tie
Many men would love to rock a bow tie, but are unsure of how to do so. It’s certainly easy enough to pair a black silk bow tie with a tux for an evening event, but daytime dressing requires a little more finesse. If you’re concerned that your bow tie will overwhelm your outfit, you’d be wise to stick to a muted color in a plain fabric. Cotton or wool are great; grosgrain and seersucker offer a little more texture and a more contemporary vibe.
If you want to mix it up a little, try a patterned bow tie with a plain shirt, or get really daring and mix two patterns. Remember, great style is all about expressing your personal tastes, not about following the trends. Don’t shy away from something just because everyone else isn’t on board with it.
If it isn’t so much the style that concerns you, but rather the tying of the bow tie, take heart: clip-ons and pre-tied styles are on offer from labels like Rag & Bone. If you plan to tie your own bow tie, you have options: the casual batwing, the traditional (but sharp-looking) pointed tie, and the classic hourglass. When choosing a more traditional style of bow tie, opt for less traditional colors or fabrics, or you run the risk of looking stuffy and mismatched.
Some of our favorite designer bow ties
Barney’s New York has one of the best online portals for finding designer bow ties to suit your every taste and mood. This is an invaluable resource for the gentleman too pressed for time for a proper brick-and-mortar search for a new designer bow tie. Search the site by designer, color, price or popularity; the site boasts every designer from Alexander McQueen to Saint Laurent (famously worn at the 2014 Oscars by actor Jared Leto, who paired his red bow tie with a white tuxedo jacket). We love Marc by Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford for more formal designer bow ties; if you’re looking for something with a more casual weekday vibe, consider Band of Outsiders, Alexander McQueen, Duchamp or Rag & Bone.