Bow tie

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A striped bow tie Bow-tie-colour-isolated.jpg
A striped bow tie

The bow tie /b/ is a type of necktie. A modern bow tie is tied using a common shoelace knot, which is also called the bow knot for that reason. It consists of a ribbon of fabric tied around the collar of a shirt in a symmetrical manner, so that the two opposite ends form loops.

Contents

There are generally three types of bow ties: the pre-tied, the clip on, and the self tie. Pre-tied bow ties are ties in which the distinctive bow is sewn onto a band that goes around the neck and clips to secure. Some "clip-ons" dispense with the band altogether, instead clipping straight to the collar. The traditional bow tie, consisting of a strip of cloth which the wearer has to tie by hand, is also known as a "self-tie", "tie-it-yourself", or "freestyle" bow tie.

Bow ties may be made of any fabric material, but most are made from silk, polyester, cotton, or a mixture of fabrics. Some fabrics (e.g., wool or velvet) are much less common for bow ties than for ordinary four-in-hand neckties.

Origin and history

Johan Krouthen wearing a bow tie Johan Krouthen - Sjalvportratt 1904.jpg
Johan Krouthén wearing a bow tie

The bow tie originated among Croatian mercenaries during the Thirty Years' War of the 17th century: the Croat mercenaries used a scarf around the neck to hold together the opening of their shirts. This was soon adopted (under the name cravat , derived from the French for "Croat") by the upper classes in France, then a leader in fashion, and flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is uncertain whether the cravat then evolved into the bow tie and four-in-hand necktie, or whether the cravat gave rise to the bow tie, which in turn led to the four-in-hand necktie.

The most traditional bow ties are usually of a fixed length and are made for a specific size neck. Sizes can vary between approximately 14 and 19 inches as with a comparable shirt collar. Fixed-length bow ties are preferred when worn with the most formal wing-collar shirts, so as not to expose the buckle or clasp of an adjustable bow tie. Adjustable bow ties are the standard when the tie is to be worn with a less formal, lie-down collar shirt that obscures the neckband of the tie. "One-size-fits-all" adjustable bow ties are a later invention that helps to moderate production costs.

Karl Michael Ziehrer wearing a 19th-century style bow tie Ziehrer.jpg
Karl Michael Ziehrer wearing a 19th-century style bow tie

Stereotypes of bow tie wearers

To its devotees, the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.
- Warren St John in The New York Times [1]

Instructions on a common way to tie a bow tie HowToTieBowtie VersionA.png
Instructions on a common way to tie a bow tie

Popular perception tends to associate bow tie wearers with particular professions, such as architects, [2] finance receipt collectors, attorneys, [3] university professors, teachers, waiters, and politicians. Pediatricians frequently wear bow ties, for infants cannot grab them the way they could grab a four-in-hand necktie. Bow ties do not readily droop into places where they would get soiled or where they could, whether accidentally or deliberately, strangle the wearer. Clowns sometimes use an oversize bow tie for its comic effect. Classical musicians traditionally perform in white tie or black tie ensembles, of which both designs are bow ties. Bow ties are also associated with weddings, mainly because of their almost universal inclusion in traditional formal attire.

Bow ties, or slight variations thereof, have also made their way into women's wear, especially business attire. The 1980s saw professional women, especially in law, banking, and the corporate world, donning very conservative tailored suits, with a rise of almost 6 million units in sales. [4] These were often worn with buttoned-up blouses, some with pleats up the front like tuxedo shirts, and accessorized with bow ties that were slightly fuller than the standard bow ties worn by their male counterparts, but typically consisting of the same fabrics, colors, and patterns as men's ties.[ citation needed ]

Russell Smith, style columnist for Toronto's The Globe and Mail , records mixed opinions of bow tie wearers. He observed that bow ties were experiencing a potential comeback among men, [5] [6] though "the class conscious man recoils at the idea" of pre-tied bow ties and "[l]eft-wingers ... recoil at what they perceive to be a symbol of political conservatism." He argues that, however, that anachronism is the point, and that bow tie wearers are making a public statement that they disdain changing fashion. Such people may not be economic conservatives, he argues, but they aresocial conservatives. In Smith's view, the bow tie is "the embodiment of propriety", an indicator of fastidiousness, and "an instant sign of nerddom in Hollywood movies", but "not the mark of a ladies' man" and "not exactly sexy". [6] He attributes the building of this image to the association of the bow tie with newspaper editors (because of their fastidiousness with words), high-school principals, and bachelor English teachers. Most men, he observes, only wear bow ties with formal dress.

Current

The four-in-hand necktie is still more prominent in contemporary Western society; it is seen the most at business meetings, formal functions, schools, and sometimes even at home. However, the bow tie is making a comeback[ when? ] at fun-formal events such as dinners, cocktail parties, and nights out on the town. Bow ties are often worn with suits by those trying to convey a more dressed-up, formal image, whether in business or social venues. Bow ties are still generally popular with men of all ages in the American South, having never gone out of fashion there.[ citation needed ]

Traditional opinion remains that it is inappropriate to wear anything other than a bow tie with a dinner jacket. [ citation needed ]

Bow ties are also sometimes worn as an alternative to ascot ties and four-in-hand neckties when wearing morning dress.[ citation needed ]

The dress code of "black tie" requires a black bow tie. Most military mess dress uniforms incorporate a bow tie.[ citation needed ]

Types

Self-tie

If choosing a self-tie/tie-it-yourself/freestyle bow tie, there are usually two shapes available: the "bat wing", which is parallel-sided like a cricket bat, and the "thistle", also known as the "butterfly". An example of each can also be seen below. Which is worn is a matter of personal preference. Some other shapes do exist; for instance, the Diamond Point, with pointed tips at both ends. This is a double-ended type, with both ends shaped, though occasionally, ties are tied in the single-ended type, in which only one end flares out to give the batwing or thistle shape, and the other remains thin. To tie one of these requires careful consideration, to ensure the broader end finishes in front of the thinner one.

Pre-tie

Shown below on the right is one style of pre-tie/ready-tie bow tie. Wearing a ready-tied bow tie at formal occasions requiring a black or white tie dress code is usually considered a faux pas, though at occasions such as Schools Leavers' Proms or ones at which the participants are unlikely to have had much experience wearing bow ties, it may be commonplace.

As shown in the pictures below, another type of ready-tie bow tie is the wooden bow tie, a fairly new product made mostly in the U.S and Canada. Other materials are also in use. An example would be bow ties that are made of natural bird feathers; this too is a fairly new product made mostly in the U.S. and Europe (in Poland).

Clip-on

A clip-on does not go around the neck but clips to the collar points.

Related Research Articles

Black tie Semi-formal western dress code; dinner suit, tuxedo

Black tie is a semi-formal Western dress code for evening events, originating in British and American conventions for attire in the 19th century. In British English, the dress code is often referred to synecdochically by its principal element for men, the dinner suit or dinner jacket. In American English tuxedo is common. The dinner suit is a black, midnight blue or white two- or three-piece suit, distinguished by satin or grosgrain jacket lapels and similar stripes along the outseam of the trousers. It is worn with a white dress shirt with standing or turndown collar and link cuffs, a black bow tie, typically an evening waistcoat or a cummerbund, and black patent leather dress shoes or court pumps. Accessories may include a semi-formal homburg, bowler, or boater hat. For women, an evening gown or other fashionable evening attire may be worn.

Shirt garment for the upper body

A shirt is a cloth garment for the upper body.

Necktie clothing item, traditionally worn by boys and men with dress shirt

A necktie, or simply a tie, is a long piece of cloth, worn, usually by men, for decorative purposes around the neck, resting under the shirt collar and knotted at the throat.

Waistcoat Garment for the upper body, usually sleeveless, extending to near the waist

A waistcoat in BrE, or vest in AmE, is a sleeveless upper-body garment. It is usually worn over a dress shirt and necktie and below a coat as a part of most men's formal wear. It is also sported as the third piece in the traditional three-piece male lounge suit. Any given vest can be simple or ornate, or for leisure or luxury. Historically, the vest can be worn either in the place of or underneath a larger coat dependent upon the weather, wearer, and setting.

Cravat long strip of fine cloth wound around the neck and tied in front into a bow or knot

The cravat is a neckband, the forerunner of the modern tailored necktie and bow tie, originating from a style worn by members of the 17th century military unit known as the Croats.

Scarf garment of fabric worn around neck or head

A scarf, plural scarves, is a piece of fabric worn around the neck or head for warmth, sun protection, cleanliness, fashion, or religious reasons or used to show the support for a sports club or team. They can be made in a variety of different materials such as wool, linen or cotton. It is a common type of neckwear.

1860s in Western fashion costume and fashion of the 1860s

1860s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by extremely full-skirted women's fashions relying on crinolines and hoops and the emergence of "alternative fashions" under the influence of the Artistic Dress movement.

1870s in Western fashion costume and fashion of the 1870s

1870s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by a gradual return to a narrow silhouette after the full-skirted fashions of the 1850s and 1860s.

Cufflink jewelry used to secure the cuffs of dress shirts

Cufflinks are items of jewelry that are used to secure the cuffs of dress shirts. Cufflinks can be manufactured from a variety of different materials, such as glass, stone, leather, metal, precious metal or combinations of these. Securing of the cufflinks is usually achieved via toggles or reverses based on the design of the front section, which can be folded into position. There are also variants with chains or a rigid, bent rear section. The front sections of the cufflinks can be decorated with gemstones, inlays, inset material or enamel and designed in two or three-dimensional forms.

Frock coat Mens formal knee-length coat

A frock coat is a formal man's coat characterised by a knee-length skirt cut all around the base just above the knee, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods (1820s–1920s). It is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a centre vent at the back and some features unusual in post-Victorian dress. These include the reverse collar and lapels, where the outer edge of the lapel is often cut from a separate piece of cloth from the main body and also a high degree of waist suppression around the waistcoat, where the coat's diameter round the waist is less than round the chest. This is achieved by a high horizontal waist seam with side bodies, which are extra panels of fabric above the waist used to pull in the naturally cylindrical drape. As was usual with all coats in the 19th century, shoulder padding was rare or minimal.

Morning dress jacket worn with mens morning dress

Morning dress, also known as formal day dress, is the formal Western dress code for day attire, consisting chiefly of, for men, a morning coat, waistcoat, and formal trousers, and an appropriate gown for women. Men may also wear a popular variant where all parts are the same colour and material, often grey and usually called "morning suit" or "morning grey" to distinguish it; considered properly appropriate only to festive functions such as summer weddings and horse races, which consequently makes it slightly less formal. The correct hat would be a formal top hat, or if on less spacious audience settings optionally a collapsible equivalent opera hat.

Barong tagalog embroidered formal shirt considered the national dress of the Philippines

The barong tagalog, more commonly known simply as barong, is an embroidered long-sleeved formal shirt for men and a national dress of the Philippines. Barong tagalog combines elements from both the precolonial native Filipino and colonial Spanish clothing styles. It is traditionally made with sheer textiles (nipis) woven from piña or abacá; although in modern times, cheaper materials like silk, ramie, or polyester are also used.

Dress shirt garment with a collar and a full-length opening at the front, which is fastened using buttons or shirt studs

A dress shirt, button shirt, button-front, button-front shirt, or button-up shirt is a garment with a collar and a full-length opening at the front, which is fastened using buttons or shirt studs. A button-down or button-down shirt is a dress shirt which has a button-down collar – a collar having the ends fastened to the shirt with buttons.

Ascot tie neckband with wide pointed wings

An ascot tie, or ascot or hanker-tie, is a neckband with wide pointed wings, traditionally made of pale grey patterned silk. This wide tie is usually patterned, folded over, and fastened with a tie pin or tie clip. It is usually reserved for formal wear with morning dress for daytime weddings and worn with a cutaway morning coat and striped grey formal trousers. This type of dress cravat is made of a thicker, woven type of silk similar to a modern tie and is traditionally either grey or black.

1840s in Western fashion costume and fashion of the 1840s

1840s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by a narrow, natural shoulder line following the exaggerated puffed sleeves of the later 1820s and 1830s. The narrower shoulder was accompanied by a lower waistline for both men and women.

1850s in Western fashion costume and fashion of the 1850s

1850s fashion in Western and Western-influenced clothing is characterized by an increase in the width of women's skirts supported by crinolines or hoops, the mass production of sewing machines, and the beginnings of dress reform. Masculine styles began to originate more in London, while female fashions originated almost exclusively in Paris.

1820s in Western fashion costume and fashion of the 1820s

During the 1820s in European and European-influenced countries, fashionable women's clothing styles transitioned away from the classically influenced "Empire"/"Regency" styles of c. 1795–1820 and re-adopted elements that had been characteristic of most of the 18th century, such as full skirts and clearly visible corseting of the natural waist.

1880s in Western fashion costume and fashion of the 1880s

Fashion in the 1880s in Western and Western-influenced countries is characterized by the return of the bustle. The long, lean line of the late 1870s was replaced by a full, curvy silhouette with gradually widening shoulders. Fashionable waists were low and tiny below a full, low bust supported by a corset. The Rational Dress Society was founded in 1881 in reaction to the extremes of fashionable corsetry.

Bands (neckwear) formal neckwear consisting of two oblong pieces of cloth tied at the neck, worn witn some forms of clerical, judicial, and academic dress

Bands are a form of formal neckwear, worn by some clergy and lawyers, and with some forms of academic dress. They take the form of two oblong pieces of cloth, usually though not invariably white, which are tied to the neck. The word bands is usually plural because they require two similar parts and did not come as one piece of cloth. Those worn by clergy are often called preaching bands, preaching tabs, or Geneva bands; those worn by lawyers are called barrister's bands or, more usually in Ireland and Canada, tabs.

Tie pin neckwear-controlling device

A tie pin is a neckwear-controlling device, originally worn by wealthy English gentlemen to secure the folds of their cravats. They were first popularized at the beginning of the 19th century. Cravats were made of silk, satin, lace and lightly starched cambric, lawn and muslin, and stickpins were necessary accoutrements to keep these expensive fabrics in place and safe. Stickpins commonly used pearls and other precious gemstones set in gold or other precious metals and were designed specifically for their owners.

References

  1. St John, Warren (June 26, 2005). "A Red Flag That Comes in Many Colors". The New York Times . Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  2. Hammel, Bette Jones (1989). From Bauhaus to Bowties. Minneapolis, MN: Hammel, Green, & Abrahamson. p. 134. ISBN   978-0-9622610-0-8.
  3. Cook, Joan (February 19, 1988). "The Law; In Celebration of 'Dignified Frivolity'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  4. Euse, Erica (March 21, 2016). "The Revolutionary History of the Pantsuit". Vice.com. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  5. Smith, Russell (2007). Men's Style. Macmillan. p. 135. ISBN   978-0-312-36165-5.
  6. 1 2 Smith, Russell (November 15, 2008). "Rock the bow tie without looking nerdy". The Globe and Mail . Bow ties are tricky. They carry strong connotations: conservative, newspaperman, high-school principal. They are instant signs of nerddom in Hollywood movies. They look fastidious but not exactly sexy.