News and Tribune


April 12, 2013

STAWAR: The tie that defines


A lot of people agree with her. Tucker Carlson, the bow-tie wearing political pundit formerly of MSNBC, said that the wearing of a bow tie can seem “like a middle finger protruding from your neck,” not to mention its “effete weenie factor.”

New York Times feature writer Warren St. John says that no single male fashion accessory provokes so much emotion as the bow tie. People appear to either love them or hate them. According to St. John, “The presence of a bow tie always seems to draw comment, and the phrase ‘bow tie-wearing’ in certain contexts can sound like a slur.” 

For example, I recently found the following comment regarding political columnist George Will — “The bow-tie wearing geek should stick to writing about baseball.” 

The disparaged Will displayed some self-awareness when he wrote, “It’s reasonable to suspect that someone wearing a bow tie is thinking more about clothes than is probably healthy.” 

Back in 2007, a survey revealed that men who wear bow ties are perceived as “dull,” “fusty” and “looking older than they really are.” Respondents also rated bow-tie wearers as being undesirable neighbors, colleagues or friends. 

The adjectives that surface most often when people describe bow tie wearers include: dapper, natty, preppie, intellectual, bookish, nerdy, prissy, fussy, fastidious, proper, conservative, rigid, iconoclastic, contrarian, eccentric and obstinate. 

Bow ties can distract as well as undermine confidence. Writing in The Atlantic Monthly, John D. Spooner passed on the following advice, “Never wear a bow tie to an interview or a pitch for new business. People will concentrate on the tie rather than on what you are saying.” 

John T. Malloy, author of the best-selling “Dress for Success” is even more vehement, saying, “If you wear a bow tie, you will never be taken seriously, and no one will trust you with important business. If you have a bow tie, I recommend you leave it at home.”

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