Bow Ties for Peacocks and Pigeons?

Oh snap! London haberdashers are ruffling each others’ feathers.

According to the London Evening Standard, the gents at Thresher & Glenny are crying foul over how the alleged tea leaves (that’s Cockney for “thieves” — yeah… I’m not British) at Turnbull & Asser are starting the fowl-themed campaign — Peacocks amongst the Pigeons.

Turnbull & Asser Peacocks amongst the Pigeons homepage

Here’s the deal. “We’re all about using colour among the dull grey of most men’s suits,” a Turnbull & Asser spokesman told the Evening Standard. “That’s why we used the ‘peacock among the pigeons’ idea for this season’s campaign. We mean no disrespect to any other business.”

A Thresher & Glenny spokesman could certainly tell the Evening Standard, “Oh, no you didn’t!

You see, the tailor has a strong tie to peacocks as it has included them in the firm’s logo since the late-17th century. Check out its current homepage for evidence:

Thresher & Glenny homepage

Hopefully, these two shops can remain friendly toward each other as events have gone afoul.


A peacock (source: Wikimedia Commons user Antigrandiose)

So… How does this involve bow ties? Well, Turnbull & Asser has had distinguished clientele including Ronald Reagan, Charlie Chaplin, Picasso, and one of the most well known bow tie wearers — Sir Winston Churchill. In fact, he got his signature blue tie with white polka dots from them as well.

While the tailor is certainly relying upon using bright and vibrant colors with pocket squares (as the campaign’s homepage banner reveals), dress shirts, long ties, umbrellas, and scarves to help blokes strut their own peacock-selves, the bow ties in the collection (as well as the other ones they sell) certainly are tame when it comes to both color palette and patterns. Using velvet as a cloth is a bit atypical, but that doesn’t necessarily scream for attention.


Why pick on pigeons? (source: Wikimedia Commons user Alpsdake)

This all follows what fashion experts advise when it comes to bow ties. For instance, Slate‘s Gentleman Scholar Troy Patterson explains in Take a Bow! that simply wearing this neckwear will stand out enough by itself. A wearer shouldn’t embellish it with extravagant hues and motifs. The desired effect is to have people say, “He’s not wearing a tie; he’s wearing a tie!”

That makes me wonder what the peeps at Turnbull & Asser are thinking. Is wearing a bow tie — with a calm palette and pattern — zany enough for a peacock? Or should one also go all cray cray with the characteristics of the necktie?