Since its popularity with the French Elite, the little bow tie has gone through massive changes. It has become popular with men and women from different strata of society and still is considered as one of the most ‘happening ‘pieces of fashion accessories. So where did it all start from? This article discusses the rich history of Bow ties.

Bow tie is a piece of fabric worn around the neck in which it is tied so as to form a loop or bow. It is available in different kinds of styles, the tie it yourself variety or the ready to be worn type. For the second type the wearer just needs to put in round the neck and clip on the open end while the bow is pre-stitched. Sometimes the bow tie is also available without the loop around the neck and can be directly secured to the collar.


How it Came About?

The first recorded event in history where bow ties are mentioned is the Prussian war of 17th century. The Croatian soldiers wore a kind of fabric around the neck to keep the collars of the shirt together. The French soldiers brought this style home with them where it was adopted extensively by the French elite.


How it became Fashionable?

Pierre Lorillard designed apiece of new apparel and wore it to a ball held at the Tuxedo Club in the October of 1886.


Pierre Lorillard designed apparel


His look became so famous that it managed to upstage the tailcoat and white bow tie look that ruled the roost those days. The attire that Pierre Lorillard wore became known as the ‘Black tie’ attire and as yet remains the undisputed ruler of formal attires for men.


The Essence of the Flair

The style represents a sort of rebelliousness and non -conformity although it is quite popular. The tie gives the wearer an aura of achievement and may be this is why it is so sought after.


The Inclusion

The foray of the bow tie into the wardrobe of women began in the 1980s especially in the formal section. This fuller version was mainly worn by women who worked in banking, corporate and law. The fabric remained the same though and with similar patterns.


Actresses such as Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich became well known for their adaptation of the neck piece.



Audrey Hepburn wearing Bow Tie



Since then

Since then the little accessory has gone through quite a transition. The black tie still remains the favourite but adventurous souls go for different expressions of the same. So we have the quirky tie for the comedians and the debonair look of actors and singers. From scientists to intellectuals to the next door guy, the bow has changed to suit different sensitivities.


Take for example the look of Frank Sinatra, Johnny Depp, Karl Lagerfeld and Charlie Chaplain. Belonging to different eras of fashion they all show a shared love for the bow tie. However, across the spectrum, the tie has undergone a lot of change to suit individual flairs.



Actors Wearing Bow Ties



This little piece of fashion fixture is here to stay and until that time that something new and different comes up we will see a lot of different avatars of the bow tie around us.