Bow Ties

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Bow ties are embraced at formal functions such as weddings, anniversary parties, and celebratory galas. Outside of these limited venues, it's hard to find instances in which bow ties have trumped the common silk or cloth necktie, though this certainly doesn't preclude your wearing them. As with all style choices, sporting a bow tie is all about suitability, so to speak. As they say, if the shoe fits...

One thing to bear in mind while shopping and dressing yourself is that fashion trends are fluid. Well, bow ties are no exception--in fact, they're a much more enduring fashion statement than, say, bell-bottom pants or a vented suit jacket. If anything, bow ties are more deeply rooted in tradition than any other article you may choose to wear, having their origins (by some accounts) in the court of King Louis XIV in 17th-century France.

The Finer Points of Bow Ties

A lot of men are surprised to learn that bow ties are formed from the very same fabric and cut of silk that's used in more contemporary neckwear, though their shape is subtly different. Bow ties are not prefabricated and sold ready-to-wear--at least not necessarily. For those who wish to pursue the lost art of tying a bow tie, the opportunity is ripe for the taking. All that's needed is the same patience and practice it takes to learn to tie one's shoes.

Many stores such as the Bow Tie Club ( offer sites that help newcomers learn where to fold, how to loop, and what to adjust in order to achieve the perfect bow tie. While you're learning, it's helpful to keep in mind as well that bow tie-tying, like standard tie-tying, is individualistic. There are bound to be variations from style to style, which is to be expected. After all, if you weren't after your own unique look, you wouldn't have started down the bow tie path to begin with.

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