Stories / November 2019

Reviving the Lost Art of the Bow-Tie

The classic bow-tie is the fundamental accessory for formalwear, but could it be ready for an everyday wardrobe revival? Josh Sims investigates…

Truman Capote. (Photo by Bettmann/Getty).
Winston Churchill is rarely pictured as sentimental. But that spotted silk bow-tie that he wore - purchased from Turnbull & Asser - wasn’t simply a matter of style. If that had been the case, arguably it might well have been more co-ordinated, but the great wartime leader wore his with anything from pin-striped suit to boiler suit. Rather, that bow-tie was a reminder of his father, with whom Winston had had a difficult relationship. Lord Randolph Churchill had worn the same. But, those jowls and the cigar aside, the bow-tie became a signature for the younger statesman, so much so that the same blue and white dotted style would come to be mass-marketed as the ‘Blenheim’, after the Churchills’ family seat.
Churchill may have been the 20th century’s most famous exponent of the bow-tie, his outsized personality suiting what, today at least, can seem like one of the harder menswear accessories for mere mortals to pull off: for all that the bow-tie may have enjoyed an ironic - maybe - revival over the last decade, many have demonstrated that a fine line between between hipster and Peewee Herman. The whole point of the bow-tie is to stand out, but there’s doing that in a good way and a not so good way. 

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