If your teenage years are for making foolish decisions, your 20's are for making smarter and more daring ones. Or, at least that sounds good - as I just made it up.
Regular readers of this blog know that early in 2009 I purchased my first bow tie. I had no particular event or occasion in mind, just a general thought that perhaps I should own a bow tie. Kind of like owning a vegetable steamer - you're not going to use it much, but maybe you should have one.
I figure I've had this bow tie about 7 months; patiently waiting for the right combination of the perfect occasion + the requisite amount of confidence to pull it off. Christmas Eve - I pulled the trigger, and finally donned a bow tie for the first time.
A bit about the tie: it's a nice quality Brooks Brothers tie - Churchill style (tiny polka dots) similar to the one seen below. Pink dots on a navy background. I paired it with a maroon v-neck sweater and white dress shirt.
One of the things about a bow tie vs. a regular tie is that it leaves a lot of real-estate open across the center of a man's chest. Hence, bow ties are typically best paired with 3-button suits, vests, or v-neck sweaters that sit higher on the breast bone and leave less 'blank' space.
The reaction from the paparazzi was overwhelmingly positive. Part of this was due to the fact that I premiered this look at my home church, and many of those in attendance hadn't seen me in months. Additionally, my Father's signature look is the bow tie - so there were many 'like father, like son' comments. My mother just shook her head with a wry smile, and proceeded to tell me I looked like a clown. I accept feedback in all forms.
Personally - I liked the look. It's smart, festive, and appropriate for the holiday season. It also shows you take pride in your appearance, and that you took a few minutes to tie the bow with care. I can't say it's something I would don everyday (unless you're a Harvard Professor) - but it is a nice change to mix things up. Also, pairing the bow tie with a sweater or vest makes it somewhat less formal than a full suit. If you wear a tie everyday like I do, adding in a bow tie to the rotation once or twice a month is definitely appropriate.
Interestingly, later in the week I stopped into a men's store - and inquired about their selection of bow ties. The gentleman told me that bow ties are THE hot seller this season, and he's been selling them primarily to men ages 20 - 40. Don't be surprised to see this look popping up in 2010, and maybe you too will be bold enough to try one on.
Lastly - as I've said before, never under any circumstances should you wear a pre-tied bow tie. It's really as simple as tying your shoes, and a bow tie should never look too perfect. A little imperfection in the knot gives it (and you) some character.