“That Dapper Chap,” Agony Uncle – Sartorial Mysteries Solved
Last week, I received the following question from a stylish young lady. She had found herself in a quandary, desiring to wear a gentleman’s tie or bow tie but not knowing whether this would be appropriate.
Is it acceptable for a woman to wear an item that is traditionally the provenance of men, either casually or in the work environment? Should gentlemen stick to gentlemen’s garments and ladies likewise or, is it acceptable to have a cross-over at any point? Remember David Beckham in that skirt!?
Anyway, as both a dapper chap and a gentleman who appreciates that which is individual, especially a person’s search for difference in a world that is often saddeningly monotonous (particularly in the average workplace), I wanted to share her question, and my reply, with you.
The Question: Ladies In Bow Ties and Ties
“Hello Craig and other gentleman, I am contemplating whether it is fashionable and functional for myself to start wearing bow ties and ties as a lady. I work in the non-profit sector in the San Francisco area so really have no reason to do so, except for style. Is there a functional reason as to why a woman would ever wear a bow tie or tie, besides to out dress everyone in the room?”
– M.A.N. aka chibimichelle on Instagram
That Dapper Chap Replies
I answered thusly: “Thank you for your question! I’m pleased you stopped by and felt that I was adequately informed to answer your conundrum. This has clearly been troubling you and, no doubt, has caused you some sleepless nights, so I’m pleased to offer some help and guidance.
In the contemporary world, the bow tie has no other function than to look great. By my calculations, a bow tie can raise its wearer’s styleocity (the extremely scientific measure by which style is judged) by as much as 31%! As you’ve mentioned, your main motivation for considering the bow tie is aesthetic, rather than the need to hide a hideous hairy wart or something similar, so it seems entirely appropriate.
Historically, the bow tie was used to hold a man’s shirt collar together, and it looked more like a scarf back then. This scarf-like tie was refined over time, as these things often are, until it resembled the modern-day bow tie! In the past, wearers of the bow tie were often considered stuffy individuals, somewhat pompous, perhaps well-educated, sententious men of learning often found with their oversized noses shoved into equally oversized books on mathematical equations (or the like). This, I’m pleased to say, has changed. I am an avid fan and supporter of the bow tie, a veritable champion of its use, and am more than willing to confirm that I share none of the aforementioned personal attributes! In fact, I am unable to speak or even write the word ‘Mathematical’ without physically flinch….inch….inching.
I wear mine to make a statement. To be seen. To let it be known that I do not, and will not, conform! That I am shepherd, not sheep. That I stand up for and celebrate the individual, the others of my ilk, who simply refuse to blend in. People with courage, people with their own ideas and their own inimitable style, people like us.
So wear your tie! And wear it with pride, with confidence! While you may be the lone bow-tie wearing lady in that non-profit sector somewhere in San Francisco, know that you are not alone in spirit! There are a growing number of us that are supporting the good cause, fighting the good fight, helping to sweep away the sea of dull grey, ill-fitting suits that drift in and out of offices all over the globe, the tide of wearisome and uninspired sheep-like nothingness.
If you’d prefer to take less of an immediate plunge, you could wear a bow tie on Tuesdays to support the #bowtietuesday movement. When people ask why you’re wearing such an item, look askance, gasp, and say “Whaat?!? You’ve never heard of bow tie Tuesday?” Shake your head disapprovingly and walk away. Ideally, the walk should be either an aggressive stomp or a slow, sloping trudge with periodic, disappointed backward glances. It’s your choice, but feel free to mix it up for maximum effect.”
I hope my response has inspired “M.A.N” to adorn her neck with a gentlewomanly fashion but, having read the question and my response, what are your thoughts on the matter? (Please reply below in the comment section.