By Rudy Lee

Not since knit turtlenecks became an acceptable black-tie standard — arguably the worst thing to happen to formal menswear  — have bow ties seemingly been restricted to formalwear. Most men believe that there are a mere few occasions that allow them to don a bow tie: his prom, his convocation, charity galas, his wedding, his funeral. But an inundation of street-style shots led primarily by menswear demigods such as Nickelson Wooster (Creative Director at JCPenney) and journalist Angelo Flaccavento are responsible for the rising popularity of dandified neckwear. Before your get tied up in this trend, take heed, you’d be wise to jot down a few notes.


You tie your own necktie, you knot your own scarf — heck, you tie your own shoelaces — so your bow tie should be no exception. You needn’t attend finishing school to learn this unreasonably antiquated art unless, for some equally antiquated absurdity, you haven’t any access to YouTube and a mirror.


There are classicists of menswear that insist bow ties should be knotted tightly and reserved for black-tie affairs, but thanks to the aforementioned, it’s increasingly common to see bow ties everywhere from the office to the grocery store. When it comes to the ties, trade traditional wools and silks for laid-back linens or cottons. And loosen up (quite literally) as an anal-retentive bow tie is most likely indicative of anal retention. Knot it carelessly, asymmetrically, albeit properly. Did someone say sprezzatura?


For every jacket, there is a bow tie and if you know the rules of necktie widths, shirt collars and suit stances you’ll have no trouble incorporating it into your neckwear repertoire. Narrow-lapelled jackets and spread-collar shirts call for slim bow ties. Wider peak lapels and straight collars call for more sizable ones, such as the butterfly. Leave the larger-than-life renditions to circus clowns and Alber Elbaz.



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