There Is No Smarter Tie Than The Smartly-Tied Bow

The bow tie took the 1900s fashion world by storm. Every other ad on the paper trended on the topic of spur ties. Initially, a men’s fashion statement gradually blended boundaries and seeped into the women’s fashion world. Surprisingly still maintaining its value in fashion, the bow tie is one fashion statement we should be thankful is still relevant. The 28th of August is marked as World Bow Tie Day.

Source: www.retrowaste.com

It was 1927. Bow ties were in, and fashion media outlets promoted advertisements. One such ad on The Saturday Evening Post read:

“I adore smart-looking bows.”

“Referring to me, or my tie?”

“Both.”

Vintage Ad

So, now let’s prep up our prime questionnaire.

What Is A Bow Tie?

It is basically neckwear; a fun alternative twist to the usual necktie. A must-have accessory that exudes class and sophistication. In today’s fashion, it is an accessory that can complete any formal attire. This neckwear can be worn to a variety of settings, from cocktail parties to everyday wear. Owing to their amassed popularity, they have gained the status of being a perfect fit with seersucker suits. The person with the bowtie oozes confidence and quirkiness. History is proof of the fact that bow ties have been fashioned by many prominent personalities like Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill. Even fictional characters such as James Bond, Pee-wee Herman, Hercule Poirot, and Sheldon Cooper were not left behind.

Types Of Bow Ties

  1. The Self-tied (aka the freestyle bow tie; one that needs to be manually tied)
  2. The Pre-tied (attached to an adjustable neck strap; easy to slide to get the perfect fit)
  3. The Clip-on (a type of a pre-tied with a metal clip; hooks itself onto a shirt’s collar)
The Self-tied
The Pre-tied
The Clip-on

Shapes Of Bow Ties

  1. The Traditional Butterfly (aka the Islet shape| most common)
  2. The Large Butterfly (more relaxed and bigger than the butterfly)
  3. The Batwing (aka the slim or straight bow |shortest with flattened ends)
  4. The Diamond Point (edges are pointed to give a diamond shape)
  5. The Rounded Club (rarest of all | rounded ends instead of flattened)
The Basic Bow Tie Shapes

Invention And Initial Progression

The roots of the bow tie date back to the 17th century. A style had originated amongst the Croatian mercenaries employed by the French during the Thirty Years’ War. The Thirty Years' War as the name suggests, lasted for three whole decades from 1618–1648. A scarf was used in an attempt to bind their shirt collars together. These highly decorated military men wore their neckerchiefs with pride to the battlefields. These were initially meant to be part of the uniform; symbols of bravery.

The upper-class Frenchmen were quick to adopt it, but it wasn’t officially a part of the ‘court’ dress, i.e. it was considered informal. It was only when King Louis XIV (the boy king) the crowned ruler of France donned a silk scarf and named it ‘La Cravate’; that it was officially marked as formal wear. Thus, by the 1700s the cravat was widely adopted, marking the use of neckties as a fashion statement. Later, it was this cravat that finally evolved into the bow tie and the necktie.

Modern Progression To Cross-Gender Fashion

The bow tie predominated in the section of men’s wear. It was the evolution of androgynous fashion that led to the bow tie officially crossing gender lines in the 1920s and 30s. It was then popularised by on-screen stars Marlene Dietrich (a German-American actress and singer) and Katharine Hepburn (an American actress).

Marlene Dietrich
Katharine Hepburn (https://www.thecut.com/2012/08/katharine-hepburn-look-book.html)

Modern-day neckwear has its origins deeply rooted in history. So, the next time when you adorn your neck accessory marvel for a moment at the history that is wrapped up in that single bit of cloth. Let’s celebrate Bow Tie Day, letting out your ties to flutter in the breeze.

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Kasturi Goswami

Writer| Mechanical Engineer| Writing expresses my inner embedded code. It is a portrait of words spun with ink.