The bow tie, an underestimated accessory to (re)discover
While the first neck ties – even if in another form than today – started to spread in the second half of the seventeenth century, the bow tie was not invented as a variation until the end of the nineteenth century: Learn more about the fascinating history of this classic accessory.
Born in France in the seventeenth century, inspired by the cloths that the Croatian soldiers in the service of Louis XIII knotted around their necks, neck ties remained the undisputed fashion accessory of the high society for two centuries.
Thereafter, however, the bow tie became the new fashion must-have and like all fashion accessories it was changed many times over the decades and centuries.
The first bow ties were fabric strips that were tied around the neck, but more like a scarf. They were also significantly bigger. Then, during the revolution of 1880 the Tuxedo was born, and with it the modern, stylish bow tie as we know it.
It seems that the invention of this new variant is due to the American tobacco manufacturer Pierre Lorillard IV, who introduced a new dress code in his Tuxedo Club. Even today the typical Tuxedo Club outfit is still considered the most elegant look: black tuxedo (dinner jacket), white shirt and black bow tie.
That the tuxedo/dinner jacket is called “Smoking” in other languages is also due to Pierre Lorillard IV and the Tuxedo Club. This kind of suit replaced also the tailcoat which from now on was considered old-fashioned.
It was not long until the bow tie was a true fashion trend – also among the world famous stars from film, music and television of that time, such as Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and Charlie Chaplin.
Although the bow tie, as well as the neck tie has always been a typical men’s accessory, also some women of the jet set fell in love with the masculine accessory. Especially the ladies of the 20s and 30s often presented themselves with bow tie. How could we forget, the photos of Katharine Hepburn with a bow tie around her neck or Marlene Dietrich with tailcoat hat and and white tie?
Today it is very rare to see a woman with a bow tie and also among men, it has become an accessory that is only used for very elegant occasions. Nevertheless, the bow tie is always going remain the symbol of elegance and style and are the ideal accessory for special occasions, like weddings, gala dinners or social events.