Originally introduced to keep shirt collars together by soldiers in the 1600s, the early bow tie was pounced upon by the French upper classes in the 17th century and by the late 19th century the bow tie had become a key feature in the gentleman’s daily wear.
Today the bow tie is no longer used for only formal wear such as “black tie” events but into the business, arts and everyday world. As the New York Times said in 2005, the list of bow tie devotees reads like a Who's Who of rugged individualists.
Many our most respected men have been bow tie enthusiasts such as :
- Winston Churchill, British statesman, prime minister, Nobel Literature laureate Prize
- Alexander Fleming (1881–1955), Scottish biologist, pharmacologist, Nobel Prize laureate
- Erwin Schrödinger, father of quantum physics
- Bill Nye, Science celebrity
- Henry Rothblatt (1916–1985), author, professor at New York Law School, and defence lawyer described by the Los Angeles Times as "the brash, bow-tied Bronx lawyer.”
- Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
- Steve Jobs, Apple Computer founder, wore bow ties in the 1980s
- The Doctor, central character of Doctor Who, in his second, third and eleventh incarnations
- Hercule Poirot, fictional detective
Professions and Bow Ties
Bow tie wearers are often viewed as intelligent and high-earners which may be reinforced by some habits of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. Doctors often prefer to wear bow ties instead of a tie because a tie will flap into their patient's face during examination or get in the way. Lawyers, especially in the United States, have adopted the bow tie as a symbol of their profession or community; perhaps because so many law professors sport bow ties but most likely because of the impression a bow tie can make on a jury in how they react and remember the speaker.
Many celebrities now wear bow ties and we now have the motto “bow ties are cool” from the recent Doctor Who. Jonny Depp, Harry Styles and Robert Downey Junior have all helped increase sales of bow ties and their prominence in today's fashion world.
A Natural Alternative to a Tie, But Not a Full Replacement
In reality, a bow tie is a completely natural, if not better, alternative to the tie. You can run in a bow tie without it flapping in your face or over your shoulder, it never looks dishevelled even when undone around the neck, and is practical when working at a desk or with people as it does not get in the way.
As a gentleman, your wardrobe should include both ties and bow ties. There should be a natural rotation based on your outfit, wish and needs. Once you wear a bow tie as an accessory in your everyday outfit, you will see the benefits. Not just in how you feel, look and the practicalities, but also in how others treat you and how you are perceived, for the better.
At Society Gent we have a range of pre-tied and self-tie bow tie from the highest quality (avoid polyester or other cheap fabrics just as you would with a tie!) in a range of colours and patterns. Treat yourself and let yourself see why so many of our greatest minds and personalities chose a bow tie.