It is believed that the bow tie originated during the 17th century during the Prussian war where Croatian mercenaries used a scarf to hold their shirt together around the neck. The style was then adopted by the French Upper Class.
What it symbolizes...
Sporting a bow tie means you are not afraid to stand out in the crowd. When you put on your favorite neck wear, you are doing far more than simply dressing for the day - you are showcasing your true bold identity. Styling an outfit also takes thoughtfulness. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.
There are generally three types of bow ties: the pre-tied, the clip on, and the self-tie.
The flamboyant head of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina with his trademark bow tie and yen for economic progress across the continent, has this to say. “I wear it because it is sexy and cool to be in the agriculture business. You mustn’t forget that by 2030, 65% of the world’s arable land will be in Africa,” he said, at the launch of his brainchild, the Africa Investment Forum, in Johannesburg, in May 2017. Those words, in some way, sum up the man and his attitude to the continent.
The fashion trend
Fashion trends are gradually heading back to the older days of formality. We are currently seeing the return of bow ties for people who want to stand out at dinners or events like wedding ceremonies. The bow tie is worn to give a person a unique look and to enhance the wearer’s suit. Unlike the older days when bow ties had to match the rest of the outfit, they can now be worn to add colour or brighten up the outfit.
Also, unlike the older times when bow ties were only for men, they can now also be worn by women who want to look edgy. Again, neither can they pair the accessory with formal outfits.
Bow ties now come with options of African prints for those with an artistic side. These are solely for casual wear and are mostly paired with chinos or denim. The best thing about bow ties in the new age is that there are not as many rules while wearing one. You can pair it with denim or a suit, which was not common back in the day.
The hardest part about wearing bow ties is the fact that few people know how to knot a bow tie; it is a skill that only few have perfected. But local designers have designed ready-to-wear bowties that have an elastic band to hold the bow in place, which comes in handy for wearers.