As the daughter of a bow-tie wearer, I was interested to hear what The Sydney Morning Herald's Elizabeth Farrelly had to say in her opinion piece "How the chill wind of commerce killed off the bow tie." Farrelly is concerned  primarily with the decline of bow tie wearing among architects. Said decline leads her to ask, "When did architecture depart the gentlemanly mindset to become that saddened and compromised shadow of itself we see today?" Her conclusion: "Architecture used to be about beauty. Now, it's just about money." That may be true, but bow tie wearing has gone the way of the wind in every field.  I decided to do a little reporting. So I emailed my father and asked him what he thought about all this. He wrote me back:

  • "I, of course, think ANY discussion of bow ties is fascinating, insightful, filled with deep meaning and profundity... but the truth is business people -- especially creative ones -- don't wear ties of any kind these days.  You'd probably see a lot of open collars (even with jackets) and t-shirts -- but not a lot of neckties -- of either the bow or the four-in-hand persuasion... My guess is that if ANYONE still wears bow ties it's lawyers and professors.  I did however note that one of the senior thinkers at one of our asset management clients had a bow tie on.
He then went on to list three reasons why he loves a bow tie:

1. Being tucked down, as they are, under your chin, it's really, really, hard to spill food on them. Bow ties are sanitary!

2. Most people don't realize that -- unlike regular full length ties -- bow ties are reversible!  If your favorite tie gets a bit dingy from over use -- or heaven forefend, you manage to get a stain on it -- you can flip it over and use the other side.  Not possible with any other kind of tie.

3. It's hard to learn how to tie one.  So in wearing a bow tie you're not only showing good taste, superior intelligence and the like -- you're demonstrating a highly refined skill.  (Clip on's are, of course, so far beyond the pale that it isn't even worth discussing them.)

By instant-messaging with a former and very fashionable intern of mine named Alex, I was heartened to learn that the bow tie may have a future!  Alex "LOVES" them for many reasons, one being that "they can reveal your tummy." He added, "If you treat your man right, you'll make his bowtie spin." Sounds good to me!!


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