Fashion 101

The Ultimate Guide to Bow Ties

800px Bow tie colour isolated The Ultimate Guide to Bow TiesImage Source: Wikipedia

Don’t be ashamed if you have a bit of a man-crush on Idris Elba. Besides being an incredible actor, maybe even one of the most-talented actors as of late, the man has an impeccable sense of style. It honestly doesn’t matter what he’s wearing. He always appears to be dapper. So, we were a little caught off guard when he sent out a questionable tweet recently.

While on his way to the Palm Springs Film Festival, the Mandela star took the following selfie with a comment that borders too-much information.

2014 01 06 15 10 12 Twitter   idriselba  My Bow makes my dick hard every ... The Ultimate Guide to Bow TiesImage via @idriselba on Twitter

Look. We’re not prudes. We just never would have expected someone to love bow ties that much. After-all, aren’t bow ties supposed to be worn by stuffy college professionals and nerds who have never had a conversation with a woman? Not exactly.

History of the Bow Tie

The bow tie goes back to the 17th century during the the Thirty Years War. It was at this time when Croat mercenaries wore knotted fabric to hold together the opening of their shirts, and to also distinguish themselves from other fighters. During a victory celebration, King Louis XIV of France spotted the look and liked what he saw. It didn’t take long for the French upper class to be adopt look – who called the fabric bows ‘Cravats’ derived from the French word ‘Croat’. It didn’t take long for the bow tie to become widely popular during the 18th and 19th centuries.

As the 20th century moved along, the bow tie became synonymous with professors, attorneys, waiters and politicians. However, it was common for even the most manliest men in history to wear a bow tie. Besides Winston Churchill and FDR, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Malcolm X and James Bond were frequently seen in bow ties. At some point in the middle of the 20th century, bow ties became less desirable. This is when the stereotypes of bow ties wearers, and those horrifying clowns, became the common association of this once proud accessory.

While the bow tie remained a common fixture in formal events, such as weddings, it wasn’t accepted outside of those functions. That all changed sometime around 2009.

Today, it’s not only common, but accepted, to catch men wearing bow ties to the office or when going out on a Friday night. It’s about attitude and not being self-conscious. As GQ’s resident style adviser, Glen O’Brien states, a “…bow tie can be a badge of courage.” Maybe that’s why Idris Elba feels so comfortable and passionate about a bow tie.

How To Tie a Bow Tie

613px HowToTieBowtie VersionA The Ultimate Guide to Bow TiesWikipedia

While you can purchase self-tie models, ready-tie versions and the always classy clip-on (that was sarcastic, by the way), there’s nothing quit like tying your very own bow tie. While it seems intimating, it’s not the most difficult task in the world. Just remember, practice makes perfect.

  • Wrap the bow tie around your neck so that one end, which we’ll call “A”, is about two inches longer than the other end, which we’ll obviously dub “B”.
  • Cross “A” end over “B” end, bringing “A” up and under the loop.
  • Double “B” over itself so that it forms the front base loop of the bow tie.
  • Loop “A” over the center of the loop that you just formed.
  • While keeping everything in place, double “A” back on itself and go through the loop behind the bow tie.
  • Finally, adjust the bow tie by tugging at the ends, and straightening the center knot as well.

That wasn’t that difficult, was it? If you need some more assistance with your bow tie, check out the instructional video below.

Tips on Wearing a Bow Tie

  • Don’t wear a bow tie all the time. It will lose its allure after awhile.
  • If attending a black tie event, the only acceptable colors are black, silver or maybe white. But, just keep it safe and simple with a black bow tie.
  • It’s not uncommon for groomsman to wear different colored bow ties, such as blue, green, pink or peach. If you feel this is questionable, just know that the color of the bow tie should match the motif of the wedding.
  • Just like with a necktie, make sure that your suit and shirt match. Suggested suit colors are navy, black or grey. As for shirts, stick with whites or blues.
  • Because your bow tie is a small accessory, it can get loud – especially if the rest of your suit is conservative. Don’t be afraid to wear a bow tie that features stripes, polka dots, paisley or any other pattern that you’re feeling.
  • You can absolutely wear a bow tie with a sweater.
  • There’s a wide and varied selection of bow ties HERE. Check it out for some inspiration since the site will match the bow tie with a shirt.

Have you worn a bow tie lately? If so, did you like the style? Was there any feedback? If so, let us know all about you bow tie experiment.

Albert Costill
Just a typical guy that wants an ice-cold PBR with some pizza and wings to go with football on a Sunday. Since venturing into the blogosphere many years ago to discuss his favorite tunes, Al has now moved onto publications by Alpha Brand Media such as AMOG and SoJones to blab about anything and everything else that matters.

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