Wearing bow ties offers a more distinguished look to rival the classic neck tie. I am what many would consider “A bow tie snob”. I do not wear pre-tied bow ties, nor do I use neck ties as bow ties. I remember having this conversation with a coworker. He said that he finds it offensive when people offer him pre-tied bow ties. And I get it. It’s like offering a dedicated Jordan shoe collector a pair of those Air Jordan fusions.
Tying a bow tie can be quite daunting if you have no experience. Believe me, I know. I did not always know how to tie a bow tie, but that never stopped me from wearing self-tie bow ties. Take a minute to allow that to sink into your cerebellum. Just imagine that scene. Trying to make that bow would cause me to sweat, in the middle of winter. Picture my wife off to the side stomping and screaming words of encouragement like, “Babe, you almost got it” as beads of sweat stream from my forehead. It was like John Calipari screaming at his players during the NCAA tournament.
With all of “How to tie a bow tie” videos and illustrations I have seen, this one is absolutely the most helpful one that I have come across. The gentleman, Mr. Phill Wade, in the video is actually a school teacher out of Texas. His proficiency as a teacher is on display as he provides a thorough tutorial on tying a bow tie.
These are my latest pair of plaid tweed herringbone trousers that I found at a local vintage clothing shop here in Charlotte, Hong Kong Vintage Clothing. I absolutely love these pants and the fit is amazing. The price was even better at $22.
The trousers are true vintage and the restoration effort on the slacks is noticeable. I can actually see where they stitched up the holes that once existed around the hip and thigh area. The pants did have a hole or busted seam down the side, which was left untreated. I actually had to break out the needle and thread and repair the hole, myself. Actually, my wife fixed it…but I could have did the repairs myself, if I wanted to. And I was kind of massaging her feet while she worked. So, technically I did help with the repair effort.
On a daily basis, I have seen some of the most well-dressed men teeter off when it comes to their socks. Their entire ensemble flows well…until you get a glimpse of their socks. It almost seems like they simply gave up on that aspect. It reminds me of when a football coach tells a receiver to finish his route completely, and do not break a route off…I want to tell these gentlemen the same thing. Finish the look…do not break it off! Instead of being well-dressed from head to toe, they are well-dressed from about head to calf. Their whole sock game/shoe game is non-existent.
It’s usually the same issue that I observe from these guys. The black, thin, dress socks with tan or light brown drivers. I’ve even seen the thin black dress socks with light color (white, taupe, or grey) boat shoes, as well. That’s just lazy…no effort at all, gentlemen.
You do not have to be “Mr. Lord Of The Socks”, but please do something! Put some sort of effort into it. You can still preserve your conservative style and take your socks more seriously. Instead of the hundreds of patterns that are available in socks, you can just stick to the solid colors. But, please look into the different shades of colors: different shades of blues, shades of browns, 50 shades of grey, whatever! Black socks for work and church and white sweat socks for the gym, should not be the full extent of your “sock collection”. Oh, those aren’t the only two colors you have? You also have navy socks, you say? You are a grown-arse man…grow up, bruh! Let’s finish the maturation process, shall we?!?!
During style consultations, I always tell dudes to start out by trying to match their socks to their tie or pocket square in the manner that 18 years olds match their sneakers with their hats. Now this is not a rule (remember: I don’t make rules, I break them), but this is just a mental guide to get you started. Once you start to get more and more comfortable, you can spread your wings and start to develop your own system.
Some classic patterns to keep in mind when buying socks: Argyle, stripes, polka dots, ribbed, cable chords, paisley, etc.
Here are two of my favorite sites to order inexpensive socks:
Vintage Embossed tie clip from Club Monaco. Very nice and very sleek. I like this piece a lot! $34.50 isn’t a lot of money, but it’s more than I would prefer to pay for a tie clip. On the flip side, tie clips can last forever.
Today’s look start’s off with light brown dress shoes from Saks 5th Avenue. I probably caught these at one of those sales, as well. I can’t remember. Some would say that I shop too much…but I would say, “Mind your busines!” LOL
Salmon colored argyle socks from Brooks Brothers.
Salmon colored paisley tie was a thrifing find for $1. Tie bar and blue french cuff, white spread collar dress shirt are from Brooks Brothers.
Brass vintage lionhead cufflinks from Cosmic Fire Fly on Etsy.com
Brown belt is a Jos.A Bank thrifting find for 50 cents. The brown leather matches the brown of the shoes and the brass buckle matches the cufflinks and the tie bar. (Now, you don’t have to be THAT detailed…but I am. Look for a future blog about this)
Classic white pocket square.
Grey notch lapel, double vented suit is from Calvin Klein.
The suit is a notch lapel, double vented, electric blue suit courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger.
I went with a black silk pocket square. I folded it into a perfect square and just fanned out the edges.
The dress shirt is a classic white, spread collar, french cuff, Macy’s store brand dress shirt that I found for $1.50 while thrifting. The tie is a narrow, knitted Banana Republic black tie. And the tie clip is a favorite of mine, courtesy of Kenneth Cole.
Black knot cufflinks from Ralph Lauren.
I went with class black socks from Ralph Lauren and the black wingtips are To Boot New York by Adam Derrick.
You can substitute the black belt and black shoes for brown (tan) belt and shoes and it would also work with the black tie, black square, and black links. I may try that next time I give this suit a twirl.