The Art of a Bow Tie | How to go from James to James Bond
One of the greatest things about a tie is that it can add life and texture to almost any outfit. As someone who works in corporate America, I'll admit that at times I feel confined by traditional workplace attire standards. Normally, I stick with white, blue, and sometimes baby pink shirts because I do not want to stand out too much. When it comes to ties, I feel like I have more freedom to be bold in my choices. For me, a tie is a reflection of my personality and its also a good conversation starter. There have been several occasions were a board room meeting has turned into a conversation about ties.
My love affair with ties started when I was about 6. My mom loves ties just as much as me (if not more). I can remember a Saturday morning where she sat me down and we practiced until I knew how to tie a neck tie with ease. She told me that this was going to be important and that I would need to know how to do this one day. Little did she know..........
Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of neck ties. I have a neck tie for almost any occasion. Over the last few years, I have started to expand my collection to bow ties. This started when I lived in Charleston for a couple of years. It seemed like everyone wore a bow tie in Charleston.
Bow ties can be tricky. When do you wear them? What do you wear them with? What type of fabric should a bow tie be made of? How do you tie a bow tie? These are all common questions that I had when I started investing in bow ties. There is no clear-cut answer to most of these questions, but below are some of the guidelines I follow for myself.
When do I wear a bow tie? I use to have the assumption that bow ties are only worn for formal events, such as a wedding, but now I completely think it's acceptable to wear bow ties in the office. It just has to be worn correctly.
What do I wear them with? A bow tie is ALWAYS a solid choice with a tuxedo. For the office, I would suggest being somewhat conservative when rocking a bow tie. Mainly stick to the basic suit colors, such as blue, grey, or black. For the shirt, it's best to stick with blues and whites. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, pair it with a pinstripe suit. My personal favorite way to wear a bow tie is pairing it with a v-neck sweater.
What type of fabric should my bowtie be? For events that are more formal, I would recommend silk, wool, or velvet bow ties. For my wedding, I wore a black velvet bow tie and paired it with a tuxedo. For casual events and even the office, it is totally acceptable to wear cotton, linen, or seersucker bowties.
How do you tie a bow tie? First, there are 3 types of bow ties. There are self-tie, pre-tied, and clip-on bow ties. Most people will tell you it's best to just learn how to tie a bow tie. I personally prefer pre-tied bow ties. I know that goes against what I said earlier about my mom spending all that time teaching my how to tie a tie. Bow ties are not the easiest to tie. My lifestyle is so fast-pace and I spend so much time on the road for my job. It's just easier to throw in some pre-tied bowties BUT I'm hoping that one day I will learn how to tie a bow tie with ease. FOR REAL, don't be ashamed to use a pre-tied or clip-on bow tie. Most people won't even be able to tell.
As I mentioned earlier, my favorite way to wear a bow tie is with a v-neck sweater. Below are some examples of ways I would pair a bow tie with v-neck sweater. All of the bow ties featured below are by Atiase. Atiase bow ties are handwoven in Ghana and make great statement pieces for any collection. Just to show how versatile these bow ties are, I used the same pants, shoes, watch, and accessories with my pairings. I changed v-neck sweaters, shirts, and bow ties.
Comment and let me know your thoughts on these styles. Also, what are your personal guidelines for wearing bow ties?
Bow Ties - Atiase
Shoe - Magnanni
Watch - Gucci