Why Bow Ties?
I didn’t wear ties at all except when forced to for some formal event. My go-to tie at the time was a ‘long’ tie with Garfield the cat in a double breasted pinstripe suit. Classy. It was my way to rebel against having this noose around my neck.
That being said, it’s not like I never paid attention to what I wore. In high school and college it was a grungy look that included a lot of patches, artificial holes, and the ‘smell test’ to see if that flannel shirt was good to go for another day or two. After school I got a decent job and styled up to the polo shirt and khaki game. That is comfortable enough and no one bats an eye at it, but I was bored and felt bored. I lost some weight and found that a lot of my old button down shirts fit again. So, I cannot stand the button down with the top undone look. It feels… lazy. I grabbed some of my father’s old ties and four-in-handed one on. I liked it well enough but it felt awkward and there was no confidence boost. I wanted the confidence boost.
Shortly thereafter I ran into a buddy at a local bar (see how despondent I was). He was wearing a bow tie, he looked good in it, and was getting some much wanted attention. The wheels started to turn, “Let’s give this a try.” I went to Belk (fantastic store to get started with by the way) and found a good grey steel solid silk bow tie by IZOD (helping out the little guy). I could feel the confidence growing within me. When I got home I was elated to find that there were printed instructions on the inside of the hangar tag. I gave it a shot. Step 6 didn’t, and still doesn’t, and will never, on paper, make sense to me. I was daunted, but luckily discovered tons of how-to videos on YouTube, and was guided by an older man with a pleasing British accent to my first successful bow tie. My confidence was high, but my arms ached from so many failed attempts.
I wore it to that same bar, with a more notable swagger, and was immediately given the positive reinforcement I was looking for. What solidified it for me, however, was when the cute, totally my type, bartender (whose name I will never remember) mentioned how much she liked the look of a bow tie on a man. A MAN! Hell yea. I could surmise that she was a Dr. Who fan, but so am I. We had so much in common
I love bow ties. I love the confidence they give me because I know I am wearing it well. I even make them now because I wanted something one of a kind. I couldn’t imagine my life being where it is without them. I have a quote that I like to drop by the style guy, Oscar Wilde, when people ask me why I always “dress up” and I find that it answers their question rather nicely: “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
If you want to see how I take that step everyday check out my Instragram @jtjaarda and check out the hashtag #tjaardaties to see the ones I have made. Thanks y’all, now go tie one on and have a better day.