Why bow ties are better than traditional neckties

by Jeff Gissing | @jeffgissing

I first encountered a real living person wearing a bow tie in 1994 as a freshman at Samford University. Since that time, I’ve periodically worn bow ties (I currently own six or seven) and have flirted with making bow ties my exclusive neckwear choice. Every guy should consider owning and regularly wearing a bow tie. Here are five reasons.

  1. Bow ties are easy to tie. There is a common misperception that tying a bow tie is difficult. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you tie your shoes on a regular basis then you can tie a bow tie. If you don’t wear shoes that requiring tying then you probably shouldn’t be wearing a tie to begin with.
  2. Bow ties exude confidence. Fewer than five percent of men wear bow ties. Nothing says, “I am confident of my manhood,” like rejecting the herd, the 95% of men, who stick to a regular tie.
  3. Keep company with great minds and great men. Think about men known for wearing bow ties: Winston Churchill, George Will, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Dennis Sansom (for a more complete list go here). Consider: no recent president has worn a bow tie on a regular basis. Could this be the cause of our national malaise?
  4. Bow ties are eminently safe (yet risky). No man wearing a bow tie was ever sucked into a shredder or mutilated in any other office accident on the basis of his neckwear. The bow tie is safe yet fashionable, but with an edge (think Indiana Jones).
  5. Bow ties offer a classy critique of “business casual.” Growing up did you ever seriously aspire to wearing a golf shirt and dockers to work? The bow tie is technically less formal than the traditional tie but offers a classier and more formal look than a polo shirt–embrace it.

Do you wear a bow tie regularly? Why? Why not?

17 Replies to “Why bow ties are better than traditional neckties”

  1. I wear a bow-tie every day at work for a number of reasons: it doesn’t get in the way; it’s a bit of personal branding; and it’s a conversation-starter with visitors and clients. About half the ties I wear are my own design, which always prompts people to ask where I got it. When I tell them I made it, the response I usually get is the same one I would expect if I had said I built my own rocket to the moon.


  2. Nice insight.

    I don a bow tie every day in public and do consider it my personal branding as well. It sure stands out from the rat race uniform of the long tie.

    Looking into makibg my own…


    1. Agree with Matt, also being a short, southern academic. I can’t make myself wear one. Too cliche. Even though bow ties are much more hygienic around the hospital…


  3. Bow ties are better than neckties any day! I’m not saying bow ties should replace neckties, but I do love them on men 🙂


  4. I agree with all but the fifth point. A century ago, a long tie would have been worn with a mourning coat, or maybe with business wear, or when surveying your estate. But a respectable gentleman would not have been caught dead without a white bowtie after six p.m. I started wearing bowtie back in ’89, and wear them regularly still.


  5. Hello, sir.
    This article was amazing. I was constantly having an argument within my brain, whether to wear a bow tie or not, although I love them. You just made me take the correct decision.
    Thank You.


  6. I love bow ties and I have around 10. I wear one ever day. The main reasons are – they don’t dangle around when I’m drinking water from a fountain, and they’re much easier to tie. Additionally, very few men wear bow ties; I get to stand out from the crowd.


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