On the other hand, bow ties are often associated with intellectual prowess and expertise. Karen Franklin, a California forensic psychologist, believes that bow ties can help expert witnesses perform better in court. She says, “It’s just the ticket for that nerdy nod of credibility.”
Bow ties are obviously a vehicle to draw attention to yourself. They become part of the person’s signature or individual brand. I’ve been surprised how often they show up in people’s obituaries with phrases like: “his trademark bow tie,” “his signature look” and “acknowledged bow-tie aficionado”.
The bow tie originated with Croatian mercenaries in the 17th century. They wrapped scarves around their necks to bind their shirts together and to ward off swords thrusts. The stylish French quickly adapted this custom as a fashion statement.
In 1996, the Neckwear Association of America said that bow ties represent only about 3 percent of the 100 million ties sold annually in the United States. In accordance with prevailing trends, anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent of tie sales in fashionable men’s shops typically are for bow ties.
Modern bow ties comes in two basic types — the “bat wing,” a thinner bow tie often seen with formal wear, and the traditional “thistle” or “butterfly,” which is significantly fuller. Bow ties may have straight edges or be diamond tipped.
The pages of history are full of famous bow-tie wearers including Harry Truman, Malcolm X. Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, C. Everett Koop, Louis Farrakhan, Paul Simon, Mo Rocca and Hoosier Orville Redenbacher, just to name a few. In his biography, presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. said that he started wearing bow ties because of the many famous men that he admired who wore them, and because it “ ... requires extreme agility to spill anything on a bow tie.”