Brad Goreski has worked as both a stylist to the stars, and as an assistant to renowned wardrobe expert Rachel Zoe. Last week he even debuted his own Bravo television show highlighting his life as a fabulously fashionable stylist to the stars, and as a style icon for hipster guys and collegiate preps alike.
His signature fashion accessory: the bowtie. This hotly contested men’s fashion accessory made its debut in the midst of the Prussian wars of the 17th century, and has gone in and out of style through the past few centuries. Apparently, it is yet again making its comeback, and is paired with outfits never before seen. Hotly debated by many fashion critics and amateur stylish (or lack thereof) young men, it remains undetermined whether this is the perfect preppy accessory, or a fashion catastrophe.
Warren St. John of the New York Times sums up the common conceptions associated with wearing a bowtie perfectly, “To its devotees the bow tie suggests…a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. … perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.”
Professionals and intellectuals alike have worn the bowtie for ages as a sign of intelligence, professionalism, and often times to broadcast a “sense of superiority.” Yet, colorful bowties paired with classic and colorful button down shirts are appearing at social gatherings, street corners, and offices around America in 2012.
One of the most famous retailer of bowties in recent years is the Vineyard Vines Clothing Company based out of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. They carry designs from bright red with American flags, golf clubs set on a sea foam green background, and even whales set on an ocean blue. These ties pair well with the company’s brightly colored button down shirts, and they work for any social events from work parties to a night out with “the guys.” Running at $45 per bowtie, they can be fairly unaffordable to the average college student or young professional.
Some critics have gone so far as to claim that the bowtie suggests a general lack of fashion sense, attempting to be masked with a brightly colored, well-coordinated bowtie; however, other proponents like Goreski of Bravo believes it can be an essential piece in a man’s wardrobe, as it can suggest style, intelligence, and overall success. If a bowtie fits into your wardrobe, they can be found for much cheaper than $45. Although companies like Brooks Brothers carry ties for upwards of $55, online companies such as thetiebar.com and bowtieclub.com offer bowties for much more reasonable prices.
So, the judgment call definitely lands in the hands of the individual man. The bow tie has been around for centuries, and has a proven track record as a timeless accessory.