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Famous Bow Tie Wearers and Maybe Even You


Let it be known that as we embark on this discussion of famous people who wear bow ties that yours truly, the author, wore a bow tie to not one but five dances in high school. Granted, most of those bow ties were associated with tuxedoes, but the point is that when fame strikes, the author will be on the list of famous bow tie wearers. But more on tuxes and ties in a moment. To begin with, we want to mention that any person-and we mean any person-can edge in a few seconds of their fifteen minutes' allotment of fame by learning how to quickly and dashingly whip up a faux bow tie knot from a regular necktie. This sort of in-your-face fashion adjustment is great at dances, parties, work, and other locations where three criteria combine. First: the environment must be one where a majority of the men are wearing neckties. Second: the man desiring to whip his necktie into an instant bow tie must not have a reputation at stake. Third: the same man (that is to say, you) must be known for occasional quirkiness and must be among friends or at least open-minded acquaintances. Having said that, we know that you are dying to know how to tie your bow tie-but we'll start with some historical endorsements.

A serious bow tie is a difficult statement to make. They are never likely to return to the front lines of fashion-except, as mentioned, when they are among tuxedoes-and so any bow tie wearer who pulls off a serious bow tie must have a personality to match. Chances are that if you believe that you can pull off a bow tie and stick to it for life, you have a fifty percent chance of succeeding. Famous historical bow tie wearers are no more famous for their bow ties than average men at their times. The difference is that they became famous people, so the tie stuck. In your case, if you are fortunate to fall among that fifty percent, you find yourself among excellent company. Albert Einstein, whose theory of relativity shaped the universe, can hardly be envisioned without his trusty bow tie knot gracing his Adam's apple. Sigmund Freud also made great strides in bow tie acceptance. He might have interesting things to say about the shape of a bow tie as opposed to a necktie, or perhaps about how that reflects upon your childhood, but the point is this: he wore one. He is famous.

Perhaps the most straight-laced of famous bow tie wearers is the dynamic duo of Winston Churchill and Harry Truman. Churchill's bow tie led England through the Second World War; when Truman came to the presidency of the United States, he adopted a bow tie to match his ally across the ocean. Vladimir Horowitz, Steve Jobs, and Louis Farrakhan are others who wore or now wear bow ties in complete seriousness. To them, we tip our hat.

We know, though, that you are wondering about the other fifty percent. Well, if you can't pull off a serious bow tie, you can still pull off a bow tie. You'll just pull laughter along in your wake. Make sure that you're able to handle that possibility (or even revel in it!) before moving into the realm of funky neckwear. Those who wear bow ties for comic effect include mostly fictional characters, such as Pee Wee Herman, Mickey Mouse, Hercule Poirot, and Jerry (of Tom and Jerry fame). If people will laugh at you, avoid the bow tie for your own good. If, however, they will laugh with you . . .

When you are wearing your necktie, take the fatter end and fold it over roughly in thirds, perpendicular to the way the narrow end hangs down your shirt. You should be presenting a flattened, horizontal, five-inch front of your tie to the world. Now wind the narrow end around the knot, securing the wide part in place and tightening it in the middle to appear like a bow tie. Do this as swiftly as you can, smile roguishly, and rejoin the party. If the effect is right, you've done well. They will realize the pattern of your bow tie is the exact same pattern of the necktie you were wearing not a minute before. Then you, too, will join the ranks of famous bow tie wearers.

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