Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Sartorial Sleuth - Bow Ties and Bourbon

Carrot & Gibbs, Boulder, CO

Bow ties are not for everyone. However, those who choose them stand somehow a little taller, seem somehow a little smarter, have - by the very act of strapping a bow tie around their neck - a more refined sense of style than others - the masses, those hordes of men who are…afraid.

As I strolled into The Patterson House one night last month the young man staffing the host stand said, “Man, that’s a fantastic bow tie. I just don’t think I could get away with wearing one.”

My answer: “The second you decide put on a bow tie is the second you gain the ability to pull it off.” The simple act of walking out into public with a bow tie is proof that you have the balls to do it. No one will ever question it. Some of your friends may laugh, but that’s just jealousy. They wish, deep down, that they had the strength of character to dress like a man. More often than not, you will receive mass un-solicited compliments.

All you have to do is pick a tie, learn to tie it, put it on, and hit the town.

I realize that shopping for a bow tie can be a bit daunting. So, here are some suggestions for where you might go to pick up a snappy bow tie.

Our friends over at Imogene and Willie have a small selection of bow ties made right here in Nashville by the talented Otis James. These ties are, as you might expect, super cool. My pal Dave picked one up a couple weeks ago and loves it. Swing by Imogene and Willie and ask one of them to point you in the right direction. Tell them The Sartorial Sleuth send you. 

Another option is to go to Brooks Brothers; they always have a large selection of regimental stripes and classic designs from which to choose.

My personal bow tie of choice is Carrot & Gibbs, made in Boulder, Colorado. Seriously, these pure silk works of art tie perfectly, look great with an odd jacket or suit, and they come in patterns you cannot find at you’re local Brooks Brothers.

If you don’t know how to tie a bow tie, it’s actually quite simple. For a step by step guide click here or here. Also remember, a bow tie should not be perfect and straight. It should look like you tied it yourself. If it’s too perfect, you’ll look like you’re wearing a pre-tied bow tie, which is discernibly un-cool.

The first Wednesday of the month for the next several months, [FIND] Investigations will host an informal gathering of men of style. We meet at The Patterson House. We’ve dubbed the monthly meeting "Bow Ties and Bourbon."

If you have the stones, strap on a bow tie and join us.


  1. Sadly, I don't think I could carry out the wearing of a bow tie with the necessary aplomb or gravitas it truly deserves.

  2. Oh do not doubt yourself. Try it. Seriously, you'll feel silly for about 10 minutes. Then you'll notice the looks of envy and admiration.

  3. I fear a bow tie would not complement my usual attire, lacking (as it is) the necessary accoutrement to bring the look to the required standard.

    Perhaps it is time to look towards a new wardrobe?

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