The Bespokesman — Inside the brave world of the bow tie wearer

Esquire's Style Editor explains the long and arduous journey that culminated in him taking his bow tie on to the streets this week:

It took me six years to progress from theory to action, but this week I finally stepped up to one of the toughest challenges in men’s clothes and wore a bow tie outside the strictures of black tie. My inspiration was a shop assistant I saw in Manhattan in 2003.

At the time bow ties were the preserve of antique dealers and arts professors, so the hipster behind the till was making a serious style transgression, but it was notably successful. This was, I decided, because he had teamed up his shirt and bow tie with a casual sweatshirt and some faded jeans. The contrast between the fussy tie and the simplicity of the rest of his clothes was pleasing.

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You can get the idea by checking out this shot from The Sartorialist:

Very slowly the idea of emulating this man started to take shape. It took me four or five years to buy a tie, and even then I bought and gave away two before I found one that was sufficiently low-key. The bow tie is an unavoidably eye-catching item, so the pattern needn’t shout.

At the moment I’ve got two silk bows, one navy and one a subdued purple and both are sparsely dusted with white dots. I’ve already got some more in my sights however, one in blue covered with white spots from and three (blue, navy and orange if you’re wondering) in self-coloured wool. I’m also considering buying a couple of wool bows in tartan, but they may prove a step to far.

Having finally taken the plunge and worn a bow tie with an oxford cloth shirt, old APC jeans and brown deck shoes to work I can confirm that it’s an attention-grabbing accessory, but to my surprise the attention was largely approving. In fact, I received compliments from three different women in one day. What more do you need to know?

www.drakes-london.com; www.etautz.com

Mansel Fletcher