The Evolution of The Bow Tie
If you didn’t notice the resurgence of bowties in 2013, chances are you were busy aboard the Endeavor space shuttle. But where and how on earth did bowties originate? It all began during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) when Croatian soldiers donned ties around their necks to fasten their shirt collars. After the War, French soldiers brought the look back home with them, and voila, neckties soon were all the rage.
You’ve probably heard of George Bryan "Beau" Brummell (1778 –1840). A friend of King George IV, he was an arbiter of men's fashion in Regency England. Popularly known as “Beau Brummel”, he started the mode of fitted, tailored men’s clothing. His classic look comprised a dark coat over long trousers - forerunner of the modern suit - together with a crisp, white shirt linen and a beautifully knotted cravat, the direct ancestor of the modern bowtie. The French version of the cravat, called a jabot (pronounced “ja-bow”) was a readymade affair of white lace. This then is where ‘bow” tie came from. In 1886 Pierre Lorillard V created a black tuxedo and wore it with a black bowtie to a ball at the Tuxedo Club, named after his family estate in Tuxedo Park, outside New York City. The tuxedo “black tie” look became a hit among upper-crust fashion enthusiasts. From there on, there was no stopping the bowtie’s evolution and proliferation in all its myriad forms.
Today men sport fun bowties in bright colors and diverse patterns, and wear them more casually, liberating the bowtie from formal-wear constraints. Thus, what began as a functional way to secure a shirt collar has grown into a fashion statement that continues to gain popularity. Those of you just returning from the space shuttle are bound to note the upsurge in 2014. Have a look at Nick Graham bow ties and see how they can spruce up your own look.
By Jorge Socarras