“So, Etiquetteer, why a bow tie?” people will ask occasionally. “Why not wear a necktie - or just go without? All the kids are doing it!” Since today, August 28, for reasons passing understanding, has been declared National Bow Tie Day, it’s worth exploring.
Etiquette, at its foundation, is really about how people treat each other with courtesy and respect to ease the strains of daily life. Its structure could be considered the rules by which courtesy and respect are shown. But it’s the gingerbread decorating the structure that seems to get the most attention. Visions of etiquette often seem confined to afternoon tea, martinis . . . and bow ties. Bow ties are often considered frivolous to the point of effeteness. Come to think of it, that’s actually the attitude many people have about etiquette!
Obviously Etiquetteer was drawn to a Perfectly Proper bow from an early age (see above), and has continued to indulge in them in adulthood. Bow ties are whimsical rather than effete, and add a sense of fun to Perfect Propriety. Their real attraction, of course, is that not all gentlemen wear them, so a bow tie is more likely to stand out for the right reasons.
The only possible bow tie is one that one ties oneself. Having grown up with clip-ons, Etiquetteer had to learn to hand-tie a bow in an emergency situation. Read about that here. Another advantage: at the end of a long evening, a gentleman can increase his allure with an untied bow. (Admittedly this often looks best in a diner after prom.) That is not a look that can be achieved with a necktie, and Etiquetteer continues to deplore the “innovation” of the last 20+ years of wearing a necktie with evening clothes. Stop it at once!
While a bow tie is Perfectly Proper every day, it’s doubly so on National Bow Tie Day. So dig one out, or place an order at Etiquetteer’s beloved Beau Ties Ltd. in Vermont, and add some Perfectly Proper Whimsy to your day. But because a bow tie is Perfectly Proper every day, Etiquetteer started celebrating early (see below).