Beau (?) Tied

I have a friend in Madrid who is referred to as the best dressed man at the Embassy. He insists that it is because he wears a pocket square and, sometimes, a bowtie. When he is complimented more than once by the same person he will modestly reply that is because the bar has been set so low. (N.B. It is because he takes the time and makes the effort. He deserves his accolades.)

But his story got me thinking. Can a bowtie be elegant?

Not a starched, piqué white tie or a grosgrain black tie, but a regular bow tie? They certainly used to be more prevalent as the illustration of our man about Paris above reveals.

Natty, I could see.


Natty: Adjective

S: (adj) dapper, dashing, jaunty, natty, raffish, rakish, spiffy, snappy, spruce (marked by up-to-dateness in dress and manners) “a dapper young man”; “a jaunty red hat”

I’ve worn a bowtie twice in the last week. That’s a lot for me. But midwinter calls out for a bit of lighthearted fun — a dash of colour to brighten a grey day or a bowtie to celebrate the clinic-bright sunlight. At least on occasion. The first day I wore a blue on blue spotted bowtie to see a matinée performance of the Richmond Ballet. Yesterday, it just seemed like an easy thing to toss on and all the bright yellow was cheering.

The gentleman, photographed by The Sartorialist on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2006, is very well-dressed, at least in my opinion. (The photos are copywritten. Please visit the site and search “The Costume Designer.”) His mix of colour, pattern and texture (I’d love a fur collared coat, but what a look to pull off!) is spot on.

Speaking of spot on, when we think of bowties, doesn’t this gentleman, who forsook the Old Boy look, spring to mind?


Spots and stripes are a classic and conservative combination.


Do you often wear a bowtie? And do you find them more whimsical, or more elegant than the four-in-hand?

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