We at IBTS wonder if otherwise intelligent and worldly gentlemen might be harboring a variety of negative stereotypes buried deep in their subconscious, maybe dating back decades. These negative experiences, coupled with seeing others (even high-profile celebrities) improperly wearing bow ties, scares and thus deters these otherwise open-minded men from breaking away from deep-seeded adverse preconceptions.
From our group’s observations, research, and collaboration, we have compiled what we believe to be the most common negative bow tie stereotypes:
- Only kids, comedians, clowns, eccentric professors (with pipes and comfortable shoes), or ice cream vendors wear bow ties.
- One cannot trust a man in a bow tie. (Really? If you have to wear a long tie to gain people’s trust, you probably have bigger issues.)
- Bow tie wearers are show-offs needing extra attention or affection.
- Bow tie wearers are too weird. Why don’t they just conform to long ties like the rest of us?
- Bow ties seem too dressy or too casual.
- Bow ties are suggestive of alternative lifestyles of which one chooses not to identify.
- Bow ties look goofy.
Like most negative stereotypes they make no sense. They are grounded on preconceived feelings rather than reality! They are hogwash.
However, some of these stereotypes have a great deal of validity because so many are focused so much on “how” to tie a bow tie they have little regard for knowing the size, shape, and styling that would be most flattering and professional for them.
We might go a little further to say the majority of negative stereotypes are perpetrated by gentlemen wearing bow ties that, although properly tied and stylish, otherwise miss the mark. This is especially onerous when an unknowing gentleman wears an expensive bow tie that’s too wide or too tall for his facial features or the shape of his head or neck.
In the fashion world there is a great deal of latitude regarding size; however, there are traditionally some accepted rules. Suit jackets, sport coats, trousers, and shirts should fit! Sure, we see trendy or ethnic anomalies like sleeves to the knuckles, “pants on the ground,” or cut-up jeans; but—for true gentlemen—certain articles should properly fit to look proper and professional.
Bow ties are the closest article of clothing to one’s face, so they look best when they fit the face. Wearing a bow tie an eighth-inch too narrow or an eighth-inch too short looks perfectly fine. However, that same well-dressed, intelligent individual wearing exactly the same bow tie even one eighth-inch too wide or an eighth-inch too tall looks silly…really goofy! Properly sized bow ties should never, ever be larger than one’s eye sockets.