Fit To Be Tied: Bow Tie Vs. Neck Tie

Fit To Be Tied: Bow Tie Vs. Neck Tie

We live in a world of constant strife and debate. Throughout Man's manly history of manliness, we have been beset on all sides by war, disagreement and chaos of all types:

  • The Cola Wars
  • Boxers or Briefs
  • Great Taste, Less Filling

And here we are once again, as we plan your manly wedding, and decide on your awesome attire. We find ourselves embroiled in one of manly fashion's greatest, and most unnerving of debates:

Bow Tie, or Necktie.

… Alright, maybe that's going a bit overboard on the drama. This may not be on the level of deciding which undergarment will be shielding your tenderest bits from the elements, but it is a debate none the less. Proponents on both sides swear they have the correct answer; and to make matters worse, historical and current trends leave the waters rather murky.

Sadly, we here at Manly Bands can't promise you a definitive answer here today. There's just so much to consider. But what we can promise is an in-depth walkthrough of the history of both options and a solid explanation of the nuances surrounding them.

So let's get cracking bro. We have a major knot to... wait for it... Wait for it.... UNTIE!

Untying History: Where Did These Things Come From?

The first neck/bow ties seem to have originated in the 17th century, during the 30 Year War in good old France. It seems Croatian mercenaries (how awesome is that... freaking mercenaries!) used to wear a piece of fabric around their necks to help keep their jackets closed. King Louis XIII liked the style so much, he mandated it to be "the thing" of all royal functions.

Fast forward to the early 1920s, and you can see how style evolved, bringing about the Kipper Tie, the Bolo Tie, and other versions too hideous to mention (or link to... You can Google that mess yourself bro... But don't say we didn't warn you.)

Eventually the trends settled down, leaving us two distinct variations on an article of clothing that, by this time, really didn't serve any practical function. Ties are simply about style and pizzazz, a cosmetic enhancement to any man's formal and business attire.

Today, the attitude of both Bow and Neck Ties has evolved even further. One man may see a bow tie, and think of his old science professor, while another envisions a black-tie gala full of wealthy and affluent folks. The necktie has followed the same path, seeing varying ideas on whether or not it is a mandatory piece of the traditional business suit format.

Add in the resurgence of young "hipsters" bringing the bow tie into the realm of business casual, and even casual casual, and you have a real quandary on your hands.

Sticking Your Neck Out: What To Consider When Deciding

In it's most basic form, the debate boils down to this: Bow Ties are traditionally worn with tuxedos, long neckties are worn with suits. If you want to stick with basic tradition, you can stop there, and just go with the tie recommended for your outfit of choice.

The truth, though, is that tradition is not the only option. Men around the world have done the exact opposite many times over, without ripping a single hole in the fabric of space-time. As a matter of fact, I bet there is a man wearing a necktie with a tux right now, and we don't even know it.

What it boils down to is you, good bro, and what you like. Odds are good you have worn a necktie at least once or twice in your life, and there is a fair chance you have never even attempted a bow tie. Do you want to try something new and fancy? Do you want to stick with what you know? Do I have a problem with using too many question marks in this article?

If you're still undecided, start with this: Do you know how to tie a bow tie? Sure, it's not much different from tying a standard necktie (you do know how to do that, right?), but it may be something new for you, and practice BEFORE the big day is going to be crucial for your wedding day success. If the store you're renting your tux/suit from offers pre-tied options that just slip on and hold tight with a single clasp, would that be easier for you?

Or, how about making your manly groom-ish-ness stand out from your groomsmen by wearing one style, while they all wear the other? In that case, you may want to sport the bow tie (and look fancy AF), while your crew looks sharp with their neck ties.

As much as there is to the debate for and against both options, it's really just a crap-shoot, bro. You can make either option look amazing, and both are acceptable by today's standards. For every tradition that still stands unchanged in society, the proper choice of neck-wear has shifted to meet the day. Just like you have a slew of incredible options for your manly wedding band, the choice is yours when it comes to the tie you wear, both on your wedding day and in your everyday. Shop around, look at the many styles that exist and find one that best fits you. If you're going to have a pretend noose dangling from your throat, it might as well be one you truly like. That's the manly way to do things.


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