The bow tie, also called the dickie bow is a tie worn by men. It is mostly worn with formal attire. This necktie looks great on suits and dinner jackets. It is made up of a fabric ribbon and is tied around the collar in such a manner that the two ends of the ribbon form loops. These ties are available ready made, as well. In the case of a ready-tied bow the bow is already shaped out and is fixed on a band that has a clip. However, some such clip-on ties do not have the band and can be directly clipped to the collar. On the other hand, the traditional bow comprises a cloth strip that the wearer must manually tie around his neck. This tie is aptly also called “self tie,” “tie to tie,” and “freestyle” tie.
Made from any fabric, ties are available in silk, polyester, cotton and even wool. The fabric wool is more commonly used to make four-in-hand neckties.
Originating from the times of Croatian mercenaries during the Prussian Wars of the 17th century, the bow tie has stood the test of time. In those days, the Croats held the opening of their shirts with the help of scarf. This is what gave the name “cravat” to the scarf and present day tie. The word “cravat” is derived from the French for “Croat.” The cravat soon became a statement of fashion for the French upper class and was used a great deal in the 18th and 19th centuries. A book on the subject was written by the renowned novelist Honoré de Balzac. This will tell you that cravats were indeed the talk of the town in those days.
Over time, cravat gave way to bow tie and neck tie. Some also say that that cravat evolved as tie and that neck ties came in much later.
The traditional bow ties are of a fixed length and have specific neck size that varies between 14 and 20 inches. This size applies well to the shirt collar. Fixed length bow ties are the best option with formal wing collar shirts as they allow the wearer to adjust the buckle of the tie. The other variety, the adjustable bow ties are worn with casual wear. Today, the “one-size-fits-all” adjustable ties are quite the rage with all age groups. They have won many admirers due to their ease of use and moderate costs.
Most people will think of wearers of this to belong to particular professions. These could include architects, professors, attorneys and lawyers. Pediatricians also prefer to wear it to neck ties as little tots cannot grab them!
This has also touched the world of politics! It is seen as a sign of political support for Sir Donald Tsang in Hong Kong. This is because he has a penchant for this.
Although, today we see men and women prefer the neck tie over this at all places such as formal gatherings, schools and official meetings, the bow tie is still seen as a “fun thing” to wear. People are seen wearing it for cocktails and weekend get-togethers. The string ties’ variety of bow ties is quite the rage with the American South. Bow ties, especially narrow “string ties,” are still popular with men of all ages in the American South. You should opt to wear one with a dinner jacket.