Bow ties are cool


I’m a fan both of bow ties and human rights, so I was very pleased when Jesse Tyler Ferguson announced the launch of his ‘Tie the Knot’ Foundation raising awareness and funds for the campaign for marriage equality in the USA by selling some snazzy bow ties released just in time for Christmas (hint hint).

The bow tie is an odd piece of male fashion that polarises opinion. Writing for the New York Times back in 2005, Warren St. John called the wearing of a bow tie “a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.” As a bow tie aficionado myself, I can vouch for the fact that, when I wear a bow tie, people stare at my neck a lot more than they do when I am wearing a standard neck tie. The bow tie is an object of derision and mirth, even in London where people rarely bat an eyelid at the most outrageous fashion choices in the street. So a man wearing a bow tie has to be very sure of himself and his fashion style before he walks out of the door in the morning.

Matt Smith as the Doctor in the BBC’s Doctor Who has done a lot to change younger people’s attitudes to the bow tie in the UK ever since his character first stated that “Bow ties are cool” (along with fezzes, glasses, Stetsons and bunk-beds). A friend’s eight-year-old son – who had always been a snappy dresser – had endured a lot of ridicule from other children for his love of dressing up, often heading out of the house dressed in bow tie, cuff links and braces. Matt Smith’s assertion that bow ties are cool gave that little boy a lot more confidence to battle on through the guffaws and to accept – just as I and all other bow tie lovers have long since accepted – that the haters are just jealous: A bow tie is a thing of beauty, as these images from the akg archive prove!

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