nlieb

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Thanks to Doctor Who, the bow tie is back in style outside of the eccentric crowd, which is good, because I happen to like bow ties quite a lot and was tired of getting stared at. My task for you is this, gentlemen:

List what you feel does and does not go with a bow tie.

I will start

Does not go with bow tie: Spread Collars. Polo shirts (believe me, I've tried to make it work)
 

Tilton

Advanced Member
Thanks to Doctor Who, the bow tie is back in style outside of the eccentric crowd, which is good, because I happen to like bow ties quite a lot and was tired of getting stared at. My task for you is this, gentlemen:

List what you feel does and does not go with a bow tie.

I will start

Does not go with bow tie: Spread Collars. Polo shirts (believe me, I've tried to make it work)
I like bowties a lot, especially because they're more practical. What I can't stand, though, are all of the new grad guys I see working downtown in a JAB separates suit, department store bals, and a repp stripe bowtie in their college colors talking loudly about all of the insurance they just sold. I don't know why, but these sort of guys just stink of trying too hard to be the quintessential southern gent "crushing it" at his big boy job in the city.

That said, I think K Street pulls off the bowtie perfectly professionally. I go for that look, but I always feel like I look a bit kitschy wearing a bow in DC unless the tie, and my outfit, are very conservative/understated.
 

nlieb

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Bow ties look best with point collar or button-down collar shirts.
Or wing collar. Especially to show off the fact that my bow-ties are non-adjustable and not pre-tied crapola.

I know it isn't exactly trad, but I've been seriously considering getting a shirt made with a wing collar in a non-white color and wearing to non-white tie events.
 

Topsider

Honors Member
Or wing collar. Especially to show off the fact that my bow-ties are non-adjustable and not pre-tied crapola.
The majority of self-tie bow ties are still adjustable.

I've been seriously considering getting a shirt made with a wing collar in a non-white color and wearing to non-white tie events.
I wouldn't.

A wing collar is only appropriate on a formal dress shirt, and a formal dress shirt is always white.

If you wear a colored shirt to a formal event, you might as well wear jeans and sneakers.
 

nlieb

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
The majority of self-tie bow ties are still adjustable.



I wouldn't.

A wing collar is only appropriate on a formal dress shirt, and a formal dress shirt is always white.

If you wear a colored shirt to a formal event, you might as well wear jeans and sneakers.
This is why I bounce these ideas off of a forum. My idea was to wear the colored winged collar at evening events not particularly formal. Is appropriate really the same thing as ugly, though? Example: I was been complimented like five or six times on an outfit which consisted of: a brown blazer, tan corduroy pants, a purple raw silk charvet bow tie I picked up on ebay, and the most wrinkled freaking black and red plaid shirt imaginable. Trad? Certainly not. But it worked, my friends, it worked.

Most of the time the trad look is absolutely the way to go. It's time-tested and man approved. But occasionally, through, through experimentation, we can achieve a look that is just as good, albeit only suitable for casual circumstances. In this vein, I suggested the colored wing-collared shirt.
 
This is why I bounce these ideas off of a forum. My idea was to wear the colored winged collar at evening events not particularly formal. Is appropriate really the same thing as ugly, though? Example: I was been complimented like five or six times on an outfit which consisted of: a brown blazer, tan corduroy pants, a purple raw silk charvet bow tie I picked up on ebay, and the most wrinkled freaking black and red plaid shirt imaginable. Trad? Certainly not. But it worked, my friends, it worked.

Most of the time the trad look is absolutely the way to go. It's time-tested and man approved. But occasionally, through, through experimentation, we can achieve a look that is just as good, albeit only suitable for casual circumstances. In this vein, I suggested the colored wing-collared shirt.
Appropriate isn't the same thing as ugly. Inappropriate can be the same thing as ugly. Wing collar shirts are always the same thing as ugly. :smile:

I have two rules for sartorial risks. If I come up with some odd combination, and I have the clothes in my closet right now, I'll try it. The worst that could happen is it looks bad and I'm poorly dressed for one day. If, however, I'd have to add something to my wardrobe, then I check it out. I try and find pictures of people wearing what I'm thinking of getting. If they look like tools, I don't do it. I might also post a thread on here. You don't need a thread, because that's part of this thread, but look for pictures of guys after the 1920s looking really good in a wing collar with a suit or jacket. Then show them to me, because I'm genuinely curious to see them.

As to the outfit you describe, did you get told you look good or that you were wearing nice clothes? I tend to think that being told I look good is a compliment for me, while being told I'm dressed nicely means I'm being upstaged by wool. It's entirely possible that your set of clothes worked, but it wouldn't work for me. That with a red/white gingham shirt, however, would probably be better than whatever I'm going to wear in a few minutes.
 

The Rambler

Honors Member
Thanks to Doctor Who, the bow tie is back in style outside of the eccentric crowd, which is good, because I happen to like bow ties quite a lot and was tired of getting stared at.
nleib, despite this comment, it sounds like you want to wear a bow tie to be eccentric, and cultivate a look that will get you stared at. However, if you really are interested in wearing a bow in traditional, non dorky ways ( a la PeeWee Herman or Orville Redenbacher), the long-running "Traditional American Men" thread has numerous examples of how to do it, men such as Archibald Cox. And, of course, the WAYWT thread is full of pre- Dr Who (not sure who he is, I admit) examples. Worth a look, if only to gain assurance that he bow tie has always been part of traditional American dress.
 

nlieb

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
nleib, despite this comment, it sounds like you want to wear a bow tie to be eccentric, and cultivate a look that will get you stared at. However, if you really are interested in wearing a bow in traditional, non dorky ways ( a la PeeWee Herman or Orville Redenbacher), the long-running "Traditional American Men" thread has numerous examples of how to do it, men such as Archibald Cox. And, of course, the WAYWT thread is full of pre- Dr Who (not sure who he is, I admit) examples. Worth a look, if only to gain assurance that he bow tie has always been part of traditional American dress.
Well, maybe sometimes to be stared at:eek:. Mostly, though, that's just an incidental side effect. In fact, when I first started wearing bow ties I was surprised how normal people found it. I really do like the way bow ties look and agree with you that they can be very trad. That's why I posted in this forum. I'll be wearing one to the University Club in Chicago today, and they would kick me out if I tried to wear something that wasn't trad. My comments about wing collars aside, I really do respect the trad look, and normally it's what I aim for. Every once in a wile I like getting stared at, but mostly the eccentricities of my clothing are derived from the fact that I have no good shirts. Plan to fix that soon. And yes, I'll be avoiding wing collars. This thread has convinced me.

BTW: Dr. Who, as any of our British members will tell you, is a very old (older than Star Trek) and campy science fiction show that airs on BBC. Every once in a wile the Doctor gets reincarnated into a new body (really just an excuse to change actors). The current Doctor wears brown tweed and a bow tie.
 
Well, maybe sometimes to be stared at:eek:. Mostly, though, that's just an incidental side effect. In fact, when I first started wearing bow ties I was surprised how normal people found it. I really do like the way bow ties look and agree with you that they can be very trad. That's why I posted in this forum. I'll be wearing one to the University Club in Chicago today, and they would kick me out if I tried to wear something that wasn't trad. My comments about wing collars aside, I really do respect the trad look, and normally it's what I aim for. Every once in a wile I like getting stared at, but mostly the eccentricities of my clothing are derived from the fact that I have no good shirts. Plan to fix that soon. And yes, I'll be avoiding wing collars. This thread has convinced me.

BTW: Dr. Who, as any of our British members will tell you, is a very old (older than Star Trek) and campy science fiction show that airs on BBC. Every once in a wile the Doctor gets reincarnated into a new body (really just an excuse to change actors). The current Doctor wears brown tweed and a bow tie.
I'll agree with this. I was concerned I'd been a bit harsh in my previous post. The trick to bow ties is, simply put, not being worn by them like a prom date or a hipster bartender. I'm biased against wing collars from my stint as one of those two things. I can't ever tie a bow tie well, either, so I don't wear them much. I also wish I had a few more nice shirts, so I totally sympathize there.

And if your interested, there was a thread on here a while ago about the provenance of the current Doctor's tweeds, which was an interesting read even though I haven't caught much of the current season.
 

nlieb

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Appropriate isn't the same thing as ugly. Inappropriate can be the same thing as ugly. Wing collar shirts are always the same thing as ugly. :smile:

I have two rules for sartorial risks. If I come up with some odd combination, and I have the clothes in my closet right now, I'll try it. The worst that could happen is it looks bad and I'm poorly dressed for one day. If, however, I'd have to add something to my wardrobe, then I check it out. I try and find pictures of people wearing what I'm thinking of getting. If they look like tools, I don't do it. I might also post a thread on here. You don't need a thread, because that's part of this thread, but look for pictures of guys after the 1920s looking really good in a wing collar with a suit or jacket. Then show them to me, because I'm genuinely curious to see them.

As to the outfit you describe, did you get told you look good or that you were wearing nice clothes? I tend to think that being told I look good is a compliment for me, while being told I'm dressed nicely means I'm being upstaged by wool. It's entirely possible that your set of clothes worked, but it wouldn't work for me. That with a red/white gingham shirt, however, would probably be better than whatever I'm going to wear in a few minutes.
It was a direct complement of my bowtie. I assumed that they wouldn't have complemented my bowtie if it had clashed with the rest of my ensemble, which is what I was initially afraid of.
 
The only people I've ever seen wearing wing collars without a tux are these guys.

Yeah, I meant sans tux. I actually saw a wing collar shirt with a bowtie and a tweed-ish jacket in an old photo of Charlie Chaplin today, and a wing collar shirt with four-in-hand in Un Chien Andalou, which it seems I will see once every semester until graduation.
 

Jovan

Honors Member
The last time wing collars were worn with daily attire was the late 19th to early 20th century. It would look a little too eccentric.
 

nlieb

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
The last time wing collars were worn with daily attire was the late 19th to early 20th century. It would look a little too eccentric.
That seems to be the consensus. Can we move back to the topic this thread was supposed to discuss, that is, bow ties?
 

nlieb

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Somehow, I think novelty works better with bow ties than four-in-hand ties - to the extent that novelty ties work. Nice horse tie, though. I'm thinking of getting a bow tie patterned with octopuses, myself, because I have a really nice four-in-hand tie like that. The octopi are small, so from a distance it looks like you're wearing a tie with polka-dots. It works quite well, and only mildly increases my eq (eccentricity quotient).
 

SCsailor

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I like bow ties. I think the key to wearing them well is twofold. First, tie it like you really don't care. Second, make sure the width of your bow is proportional to your face. I see far too many guys wearing bow ties that look like they spent twenty minutes getting the knot just so. Also, many make the mistake of tying the bow too wide so that it is out of proportion with their faces.
 
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