The Courage to Wear a Bow Tie
And by wear, I mean, how does a man walk into his office on a Monday morning wearing this non-traditional piece of neckwear and not feel self-conscious or even a tad bit silly? How does he get the fashion courage?
Realize that it doesn’t take courage. It’s 2015 and anything like standards have been shattered. President’s wear short pants while golfing, CEOs give press conferences with open collars, polo shirts are acceptable office attire on ‘Casual Fridays’. And where the dark suit and dark long tie still persists, it does so not as a standard but a mere habit of the fashionably uncreative.
Here’s my three tips for putting a bit of starch in your spine:
Keep it mellow. I’m not sure what statement you are trying to put forth in wearing a bow tie but it’s a bold statement. (N.B. Your statement in wearing a bow tie should never be “LOOK AT ME! I’M WEARING A BOW TIE!”) Since your statement will be bold, there’s no need to make the tie’s pattern or color bold. The bow tie isn’t a gimmick. Don’t think of it as one. Leave the neon colors or the epilepsy-inducing patterns on the store’s rack. If you wouldn’t wear the pattern or color in a long tie, don’t have them in a bow tie.
Wear the same quality bow tie as your shirt and suit. I’m not a clothes horse. I buy off the rack. Off-the-rack suits and shirts. If I wear a $200 custom tailored bow tie, it just isn’t going to ‘look’ right on my $30 shirt. In fact, it will look strange. If you love your bespoke shirts and tailored suits, wearing a $20 bow tie is going to look…well, cheap. And like you’re not committed to the bow tie look. It will look like you’re hedging. No one likes a cheap looking hedger.
Finally, wear the bow tie with confidence. Own it. It’s hard to wear a bow tie with confidence on your first day. It feels different than your usual tie, you’ll find yourself fiddling with it, it rubs against your neck and chin in an unaccustomed way. The solution is simple: wear it around the house. Break it in. Live with it a while so that when you walk into the office your self-awareness of the new neckwear is more second nature to you.
A bow tie doesn’t take courage. Just a need to be a bit different and the boldness to commit to wearing it.