The bow tie is back

David Deady

After waiting for a considerable amount time in fashion exile, the bow tie is back…perhaps not to rapturous applause, but given the awful history of this accessory it’s not entirely surprising. With oversized, garish coloured bow ties littering the ’70s and ’80s, it is understandable that people are nervous about approaching this fashion trend for fear they will end up looking more dork than adorkable!

The media has recently been flooded with images of Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick, Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, Glee’s Chris Colfer and Inception’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt all sporting very geek-chic bow ties, helping to repair its tarnished reputation. Currently, men’s fashion has been looking back to vintage styles for inspiration; with shows like Mad Men currently consuming our TV screens, we are witnessing a resurgence in ’50s- and ’60s-inspired items like brogues and pocket squares. Now it looks to be the turn of the bow tie to take centre stage.

However, it really is nothing to panic about. Designers like Tom Ford have done a commendable job modernising what has traditionally been either a very formal or repulsively tasteless fashion accessory. Diverging from the awful silk designs that can most certainly still be found in the back of your Dad’s wardrobe, contemporary materials like cotton, tweed and even denim are being employed to keep on-trend.

The bow tie is also an exceptionally cost-friendly way of transforming an outfit, selling for virtually nothing in many high street stores. Pair one with a plaid shirt, jeans and a jacket and you’re good to go! Mix-and-match with other accessories such as braces, thick-rimmed glasses or even a trilby to continually alter the look.

While I will admit that bow ties certainly aren’t a quiet fashion statement, there is still nothing to be scared of; keep it simple, co-ordinate your colours AND LEARN TO TIE ONE PROPERLY! Seriously, those pre-tied and clip on ones can look ghastly…steer clear! There are plenty of really simple tutorials online that can teach you how and it’s well worth investing even just a little time to get the knack of it.

Men’s fashion, though much improved over the last few years, is still unfortunately very limited. The bow tie can be a great addition to any wardrobe and I would hate to see such a versatile and stylish accessory being shunted aside and snubbed because of a few (though admittedly pretty bad) past mistakes.

Drew Barrymore has called her bow tie a “fabric smile” and I think if we all adopt this positive mindset there is still hope. I guess if you still don’t like it, look on the bright side: you’re halfway to having a Doctor Who costume for Halloween next year!


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