The Power of the Bowtie

About a year ago, I started wearing bowties. It stared innocently enough. Some friends of mine do a thing called “Mandatory Cosplay Wednesday” on the first Wednesday of the month. You do something low key to embody a favorite character and post a picture of it to the group. I was in a decidedly Whovian mood and posted a snap of me as number eleven.

I’d inherited the bowties I had at that point from my wife’s grandfather, known affectionately as Pop-pop. He passed away a few years back, and his wife, Mimi, gave me several. They had languished in the back of my closet for most of that time, occasionally broken out when I wanted something other than one of my regular neckties for fancy dress.

The next day, I decided to wear another one. Then I started wearing either a necktie or a bow tie every workday and posting pictures on Instagram. Eventually I settled on wearing just the bows unless I wanted to change it up. This Christmas I asked for and received more. Prior to this spate of dressing up, I had jobs in IT wear I would wear as casual an ensemble as I could get away with. Now, I actually look forward to picking one for the day from my growing collection. I’ve also learned how to tie neckties into something that’s a reasonable facsimile of a bow.

Why? What’s the draw?

Turns out, bow ties are cool. No, perhaps not in any traditional sense. Most men are loath to wear even a regular necktie, much less something that’s a little more complicated to tie (yes, most of my bows are self tie). They have a power about them. In addition to being practical neckwear (they never come up short or get in the way), there’s something about them that’s almost magical.

Whenever people see me in the hallway with a ribbon of color around my neck, I invariably get a smile. They fell so out of style for so long there’s a uniqueness to them. I will grant you, some of my bowed brethren don’t opt for the shear color I do. Even those men will tell you, if they notice, that people love them. You just look sharper in a bow than almost anyone in a comparable necktie.

There’s more to it than that, though. Ever since I started wearing them, I’ve thought more about my appearance. I’ve upped my shirt, shoe, and stache game. It’s not that I’ve become vain. I just care about how I look. It makes me feel good to know I look professional and yet whimsical. My wife loves the new me. The guys at the office were joking today, that I’m setting a new standard mode of dress for the office. You know what? I hope I am.

A lot of my fellow geeks dress to the bare minimum of any dress code enforced. That’s okay. I would be the last person to want to browbeat anyone into dressing up. But. But… If I could just show the men in my circles that looking nice for work doesn’t have to be uncomfortable (the feel of silk sliding through my fingers as I get ready, the crispness of a freshly laundered shirt, the beauty of a properly sized collar), and in fact can be even more comfortable with the right clothes, I would. I hope I am. If I could convince them that people look up to you just a bit more, when you look like a “professional”, I would.

I don’t dress to impress as such. Sure, I like to get compliments and if someone happens to think I’m a doctor or a professor, it won’t hurt my feelings. I do dress to feel good, though. Looking my best has had a beneficial effect on my mood, my work ethic, and my marriage (my wife does LOVE a sharp dressed man).

I’m not getting rid of my tees or Hawaiian prints. I do dress down on the weekends. I need to save my dress clothes for work and there are times where I don’t want to get my nicer things dirty. I’m not going out of my way to buy any more, though. I plan on being a gentleman, like Pop-pop. One day, I’ll be that silver fox who wears his best every day. Until then, you can catch my fashion show on Twitter and Instagram. #BowTiesAreCool