green bow tie

To Tie or Not To Tie

As I have noted, learning to tie a bow tie sometimes is an intimidating prospect. It is so easy to avoid this learning process as there are a lot of the pre-tied options available now. However, it is a skill worth learning.

There are people out there who feel that a man has no business wearing a bow tie if he didn’t tie it himself. While I don’t feel that strongly, I agree with the sentiment. With the exception of small kids or men dipping their toes in these neckwear waters, anyone who wears a bow tie on a fairly regular basis should tie his own ties.

Why? I feel that the commitment to this type of neckwear requires at least the commitment to learn this fundamental skill as it makes one appreciate the fashion statement even more.

Further, it is more real. Tying a tie shows that one paid attention to the decision, which bolsters the statement they’re making. As the New York Times notes, bow tie wearers are in some cases rugged individualists, and if one is so afraid that their tie doesn’t appear 100% perfectly, then what does that say about them? It is one thing to look nice, but obsession and fixation about one’s fashion is not only vain, it can paralyze and distract a fellow. That’s not the point of donning this type of neckwear. A confident man will tie his own tie and not fixate on it (with the exception of checking it — along with his entire outfit — in a mirror occasionally, which is reasonable). Besides, GQ argues that a bow tie should appear a little floppy or off kilter; in fact, it is both expected and preferred.

Additionally, a bow tie should draw attention to its wearer and not to it. Like salt, pepper, and other seasonings, this neckwear is a small part of the entire offering. In small portions, seasonings enhance a dish’s taste. Likewise, a bow tie helps punctuate its wearers personality — not dominate it. If a man is so focused on its perfection — whether wearing a pre-tied one or through constant preoccupation with the tie, it draws attention to his own lack of confidence and/or self-importance.

So, don’t fret — learn to tie a bow tie. It is not as scary as it seems. Further, putting a bow tie on is more than half the battle; once one is on, the confidence will follow as compliments flow in. Believe me, unless one severely misreads a situation, they will come in.