I cannot believe I missed this.
I’ve always been fascinated by bow ties and not just because of David Tennant. Yes, bow ties are very cool but only recently have I realized just HOW cool. Like most people, my first exposure to grown up fashion started by mimicking those I thought were stylish. They wore suits, turtle necks, loafers, and neckties. But only the daring wore bow ties. Unfortunately they all seemed to be clip on type. What a ruse. So I dumbly wandered around the school dance floor with clip on neckties and bow ties unaware there was a difference.
I next learned about neckerchiefs in Boyscouts. What a find. We all wore them. No knot required and it was so cool to belong to a group of folk who looked alike. But one day I aged out of Scouts and my neckwear journey continued.
Then I learned about bolo neckwear. They reminded me of the neckerchief so I bought one. Those bits of braided leather cinched together with ornately etched silver “buckles” were great. But they went out of fashion as quickly as a power suit in 1990. So my fashion search continued.
So I did what most men do: I learned how to tie a standard necktie and never learned the subtle beauty that is the bow tie. It’s so special that of the neck adornments I list, only the bow tie “spell checks” as two words. Neckerchief. Necktie. Bolo. Ascot. Dickie. Bow tie. It’s how to get just a it of color and variety in the daily wear without looking pretentious.
But how to tie one on?
No one I knew could tie a bow tie. Even the menswear guy in the local mall anchor store was unable to help me. I was at a loss. Fewer and fewer wore the bow tie. And I was onto bigger things like school or church. Both of which, when formal wear was required, was lacking any real bow tie representation but did have a bevy of long neckties. So I took the cue and wore one too.
Then a few months ago two path altering things occurred. I was taken by an absolutely gorgeous Gerry Garcia bow tie. I simply had to have it, but I still couldn’t tie one on. And no one to teach me. The second thing to occur was my choir director wore (and wears) a bow tie to worship service. Fabulous bow ties too, purchased here there and almost everywhere. I was emboldened and finally used YouTube as a helpmeet. It showed me a video of a black man my age who showed me how to secure a self tie bow tie. I tried it.
And now my collection has grown steadily ever since. I enjoy the uniqueness of my bow ties and how it automatically sets me apart. How the fraternity of bow tie wearing folk instantly recognizes one another and we form an instant brotherhood. Like a society of men who are in on the secret handshake and the fraternal uniform we have is the selfie bow tie.
Would you like to join?