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There Is No Smarter Tie Than The Smartly-Tied Bow

The world celebrates the 28th of August as Bow Tie Day.

1927, a spur bow tie ad on The Saturday Evening Post read:

"I adore smart-looking bows."

"Referring to me, or my tie?"


The bow tie took the 19oos fashion world by storm. Every other ad on the paper trended on the topic of spur ties. This is one fashion statement we should be thankful is still relevant.

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 the accessory that completes 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 man 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 and Hercule Poirot were not left behind.

Types and Shapes of Bow Ties

The basic types are:

  • The Self-tied (aka the freestyle bow tie; one that needs to be manually tied)

  • The Pre-tied (attached to an adjustable neck strap; easy to slide to get the perfect fit)

  • The Clip-on (a type of a pre-tied with a metal clip; hooks itself onto a shirt’s collar)

The basic shapes are:

  • The Traditional Butterfly (aka the Islet shape; most common)

  • The Large Butterfly (more relaxed and bigger than the butterfly)

  • The Batwing (aka the slim or straight bow; shortest with flattened ends)

  • The Diamond Point (edges are pointed as to give a diamond shape)

  • The Rounded Club (rarest of all; rounded ends instead of flattened)

When and where was the bow tie invented?

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; that ensued between the years 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, 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.

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

Modern-day neckwear has its origins deeply rooted in history. So, the next time when you adorn your neck accessory marvel for a moment 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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