green bow tie

Bow Ties at Work? It is a Debate

As I have pointed out there are some professions for men who wear bow ties. Granted, some of the professions listed are silly (not just “Comedian” but “Dr. Seuss Character,” too); having acknowledged that, some distinguished fellows holding prestigious jobs have worn or wear bow ties.

Some people will say “No!” to wearing bow ties to work while others say “Yes.” In fact, many people say that it depends. Commonly mentioned factors to consider include: wearer’s personality, geographic location of one’s employment, situation, type of business, workplace culture, and one’s field.

Here are some style and/or business experts’ opinions.

  1. The Evil HR Lady
  2. GQ UK’s Robert Johnston

    If I am to be honest, I would say that while I think bow ties can look great… I would never wear one and I think they are a bit too much of a “look”.

  3. Demand Media’s Kristine Tucker

    Since a bow tie is an attention-grabbing accessory, you should only wear it in a business setting where it is acceptable for co-workers to notice your attire.

  4. Juanita Ecker

    I have two major considerations with regards to this look. The first is, where does the client live? The bow tie is much more accepted in the South [of the United States]… Up north, and, indeed, most of the country, a bow tie is a rarity and therefore more likely to be seen as unconventional.

    The second consideration is the client’s corporate culture… Observe how your higher-ups dress—you should generally follow their lead. Are there any signs of personal expression?

  5. Elias Da Silva-Powell

    The frank truth is that the average person – in your office, on the street – isn’t really all that interested in what you’re wearing. Sure, it’s a bit of a rarity, but the odd funny look shouldn’t be what deters you from trying new things.

Here’s my opinion:

  • One of the most important factors is one’s commitment to wearing something that most other people don’t. Different doesn’t have to have negative connotations. If you don’t have the confidence to stand out, you’ll stand out like a sore thumb and not as someone to admire.
  • Pay attention to your superiors, colleagues, and clients. If the culture is a conservative one, ease the bow ties in. Wear one to a after-hour company/client party, on a casual dress day, or to a personal event (birthday, housewarming party, etc.) you’re invited to.
  • Avoid bold patterns and colors until you feel more confident that a bow tie will enhance an outfit — not complicate it.
  • Make sure that the tie brings attention to you and not to it. If the tie calls attention to how cool it looks instead of how confident, fashionable, or fascinating you are, don’t wear it. Make sure that it compliments you.

What advice do you have to add?