From Croat mercenaries to Colonel Sanders to Steve Jobs, the bow tie has had quite the evolution since its inception in the 17th century. Bow ties are usually reserved for professional attire and more formal engagements, however the unique styles for men of the 21st century has taken the bow tie to new heights of popularity in contemporary men’s fashion. Dalys 1895 wants to take you through a brief history of the bow tie to reveal the evolution of this enduring men’s accessory over nearly four centuries as well as its relevance to today’s men’s fashion.

Out of Necessity

Out of Necessity

Like many great things that have been invented, the bow tie is the progeny born out of necessity. During the Prussian War, Croat mercenaries used scarves to keep their shirt collars closed to protect them from the harsh elements of winter. Their distinct ties would eventually go noticed by the French bourgeoisie, who adopted the look, calling them cravats (French for “Croat”), and incorporated it into their fashion-forward upper-class, which is why the bow tie is still, to this day, synonymous with class, reserved for high society.

French-Influenced Fashion

French-Influenced Fashion

19th-century French socialites determined the style of the age, and once the bow tie captured the eye of these fashionable men, the rest is, well, history. From the verandas and mansions of Parisian high society, the bow tie began to take hold of French fashion en masse. Soon, the bow tie evolved from the traditional hand-tied scarf that was more loose around the collar to the now-classic look of the fixed-length, ready-tied, sewn bow affixed with a strap and clasps that go around the collar. The former look is the bow tie that we have come to know today.

A Black Tie Affair: Bow Ties in the 20th Century

A Black Tie Affair: Bow Ties in the 20th Century

Bow ties moved beyond the ballrooms, opera houses, and formal social gatherings into the mainstream of working professionals in offices, universities and more. Bow ties were heralded by professors, doctors, heads-of-state, and entertainers alike. Throughout the 20th century, if you attended a black tie affair, you donned a bow tie. From the Oscars to late-night dinner parties, the bow tie was popular with such luminaries as Groucho Marx, Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, and so many more.

The Contemporary Bow Tie

The Contemporary Bow Tie

Despite the widely held perception that bow ties were a sign of social or political conservatism, author Warren St. John of the New York Times once remarked that the bow tie is “a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think”. Bow ties have had a recent resurgence in contemporary men’s fashion, whether it is the Millennial hipster crowd influenced by 19th-century style or conservative pundits trying to look smarter than they are (here’s looking at you, Tucker Carlson). Celebrities like George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio wear bow ties to award shows, and a number of influential people like Bill Nye and Manolo Blahnik, even fictional characters like Pee-Wee Herman and Indiana Jones, have been known to sport a bow tie. From loose to ready-tied to clip-on, the bow tie is becoming more pervasive as a contemporary men’s fashion accessory.

 

Are you a fan of bow ties? If so, let us know what your favorite style is, and don’t forget to check out the amazing selection of bow ties at Dalys 1895 from designers like Bruno Piatelli, Bird Dog Bay, Jeremy Argyle, and more.