the art of the bowtie

Although it is a stereotype that gay men are good dressers, I personally feel it is everyone’s duty to be fashionable, especially gay men. Like many out there, I love formalwear. Maybe this is because I went to prep school in Connecticut. Maybe it’s because I’m an actor and like to dress in costumes. Maybe it’s just because I love any clothes or form of fashion.

Blazers, suits, vests, dress shirts, French cuffs, leathers belts, suspenders, wingtips, pressed pants, shirts studs, cufflinks, and—best of all—neck ties. Each and every piece of formal wear can be fashionable, can be coordinated, and can be used as form of expression. I love every detail involved in crafting a formal ensemble, from the collarstays to the black leather watch to the argyle socks.

But most of all I love bowties. Growing up bow ties were for weddings, rich people, or “southern gentleman” … and were infamously difficult to tie. When I was a teenager I quickly swore off regular “fat” ties and wore skinny ties, but never thought I’d ever wear bowties. As I grew up and became more interested in fashion I started thinking about the idea of diversifying my neckwear. I eventually built up a very large collection of skinny ties, everything from basic Ben Sherman ones from the mall to Gucci silk creations from a trip to Rome. But at some point, I decided to take the plunge into bowties.

In high school every Friday the we had to wear dress pants, white dress shirts, a navy blue school blazer, and a tie (yes my Connecticut is showing, I’m aware). Somewhere around sophomore year I decided one Friday to give a bowtie a try. I’d bought it at the mall a while before but I was always too afraid to try it out. Getting ready that morning was a struggle, and no amount of youtube videos could prepare me for the difficulty in tying this small piece of fabric into a neat bow.

Once you learn how it really isn’t that difficult, but it is certainly something someone needs to show you in person. Luckily my cousin married a nice boy from the South and that thanksgiving he showed me the proper way to tie it. Once I had someone in front of me to help, I figured it out in a few easy tries.

By now I am at the point where I only wear bowties. Although I stocked up a giant collection of ties, I still have more bowties (and I can’t stop buying them). At this point I can even tie a bowtie easier than I can tie a regular tie.

But I’m proud of the fact; it’s classy, it’s fashionable, and (my favorite part) it’s gay, in a way. I enjoy wearing them, talking to other people about them, teaching others to tie them, and even lending some of mine out to new wearers. Bowties have become part of my signature look, and people know me for my love of bowties. They’re different, they’re distinctive, they’re fun, and they’re formal; what’s not to love? So go out and buy one, pair it without a great outfit, and take the time to learn how to tie it; I promise you’ll look cute and impressive.

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Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Queer Voices. He allows his often tongue-in-cheek style to entertain and inform his readers on a variety of topics from fashion and daily life to critical issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.