Menswear dressing has been on the rise the past few seasons as we develop a love for tailoring, shirting, collars and fedoras, but it appears we’re now going one step further with a modern adaptation of dandy inspired bow ties. Feminine modifications of the iconic tradition have been making their way onto the catwalks and into street style as we embrace satin ribbons, classic knots and oversized loops, welcoming the return of the dandy and the celebration of the bow tie.
During the Prussian wars of the 17th century, Croatian mercenaries would wear colourful scarves around their necks to denote rank and distinguish officers from enlisted men, (it also helped to keep the top of their shirts closed). The French, who were fighting alongside the Croatians, were intrigued by this innovation and took the idea back home with them, adopting it as their own. The resulting neck accessories became known as, the cravat and King Louis made it a required piece of fashion accessory for the upper class during formal functions…Thus the bow tie was born.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the bow tie became heavily adopted and celebrated by the dandies. A dandy, also known as a beau or gallant, was a man who placed particular importance on physical appearance and refine language, striving to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle, despite coming from a middle-class background. The model dandy in British society was George Bryan, “Beau,” Brummell, who was famous for being un-powdered, un-perfumed, immaculately bathed and shaved and dressed in a plain dark blue coat. He was always perfectly brushed, perfectly fitted, showing much perfectly starched linen, all freshly laundered, and composed with an elaborately knotted cravat.
Modernized variations of the bow tie are keeping the tradition of the dandy alive with classic or casual adaptations of this very famous accessory. With its ability to fuse convention with creativity, the bow tie is a modern accessory with a long history of iconic meaning. Wear with confidence and think innovatively.