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Origin of the Species...Bow Tie

WORLDman has never been one to follow, though it would never be so bold to suggest that every invention is entirely its own.  Fashion, will want to tell you the tale of new, but much of fashion is re-invention of the familiar and taking from history and culture to make ones own in a contemporary setting.  Since 1989 the bow tie has been a staple of the WORLDman attire and since showing consistently at Fashion Weeks in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe since the late 1990's WORLDman has become synonymous with the bow.  But...what had the bow done before that?   

Whilst reading a history of the Prussian Empire we found t
he tradition of adorning the neck with a knotted piece of fabric dates back to the 17th century an thus triggered our interest. The Croatian soldiers of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) were one of the first documented peoples to don a necktie, which they used to keep together the collars of their shirts. The Thirty Years War involved most of continental Europe and involved extraordinary movement and migration of settlements and soldiers giving rise to the movement of ideas across cultures.  French soldiers were said to have brought the look back home with them after the war, and by the 1700s neckties were widely adopted by the upper classes, marking the time when neckties became a main feature in men’s dress.

This stylistic practice become known as a cravat and by the beginning f the 19th century the bow tie had made its way into select circles.  Fast forward to the mid 1880's the bow tie was now a common place accessory in a fashion conscious man's wardrobe.  

In October of 1886, Pierre Lorillard designed a new style of formal wear, and wore it to a formal ball held at the Tuxedo club. Named after his family’s estate in Tuxedo Park (an area just outside of New York City), Lorillard’s tuxedo became an instant hit among other wealthy fashion enthusiasts. The tuxedo and black bow tie look, which became known as "black tie" attire, quickly outmoded the antiquated tailcoat and white bow tie as the primary formal outfit for men, a fashion change that has yet to be overturned to this day.

Since its introduction and mass acceptance into men’s dress, the bow tie has experienced a great many changes in form and function and has transcended its purely formal and traditional stereotype. Especially at WORLDman where it isn't so much about when you where a bow tie but rather which bow tie (we have quite a few), and what to wear with your bow tie...not the other way around...function can often follow fashion!


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