I understand. It's hard out here for a guy into menswear. You're sacrificing the basic elements of survival for the sake of art and four hundred dollar McNairy's. Shit, you're more than sacrificing. You're reading this hunched over a bowl of stale Cheerios in your bathroom-size apartment. You eat them dry because you have no milk. But let's face it, that Remi Relief cardigan you e-bought when you were lonely isn't going to keep you warm forever. You need a girl. But after reading that article in The New York Times, you realized that your last "relationship" started and ended over text, where you exchanged winky-face emojis every few hours until you got tired and stopped. What do you do? What any #menswear newbie would do. You reach into your tiny closet and pull out what you think is the signifier of gentlemanly style: the bow tie.
You knot it up and feel like Jay Gatsby on steroids. You decide you must incorporate it into your daywear so you can hit that high all the time. It'll be your "thing." You stand in line for coffee and imagine the barista making eyes at you. You walk into a bar and see beautiful women coming at you in a mirage. "The bow tie is working," your ego whispers. You step into Ralph Lauren and blow your last two paychecks - all on bow ties. You wear a bow tie every day for weeks. A month passes by. You're still alone eating Cheerios. You can't understand why.
I know why. Courting may be obsolete, but there is still an imaginary list of do's and don'ts to getting a girl's attention. I call it an "imaginary" list because I make it up on the spot and then trick you into believing it's real, because I'm a girl and I play mind games. Guys love mind games.
One note on this list is that I will never approach a guy who wears a bow tie. The bow tie bothers me because, when worn regularly, it has the effect of turning gentlemen into menswear snobs. Or eighty-year old college professors. I'll take neither.
Honestly, though, I don't want to rob men of their sartorial liberty. I think I speak for the majority of women when I say that it's attractive to see a guy embrace his own style. But considering the hype around New York Fashion Week street style, where the bros stunting Air Jordans and bow ties outside Milk Studios are the influencers of next season's trends, I imagine the casual bow tie won't be disappearing from a man's daywear this spring, if ever. Still, before you bow-tie-loving menswear dandies run to your closets to dig out the latest Billy Reid gear, consider these rules that will spare you from "Forever Alone" status when it comes to impressing girls with your neckwear.
1. A pastel bow tie should never be worn. Why? Oh, maybe because PASTEL COLORS ARE THE LEECHES OF MANHOOD. Literally, they suck out the manliness from an outfit. I don't care if you bench cars or eat raw meat with your bare hands, if you sport a pastel-colored bow tie she won't even care. Why? Just think of the associations we Americans have with baby blues and pastel pinks. I envision scenes of My Little Ponies and Smarties and dancing babies and then I feel weird. So when you show up to a girl's apartment for a first date, and you're wearing that marshmallow-fluff-of-a-bow-tie, she won't be thinking of how hot and gentlemanly you look, she will be thinking of babies. Maybe your babies. TIME-OUT. IS THAT THE FIRST IMAGE YOU WANT TO PUT IN HER BRAIN? YOU ALREADY STRUGGLE WITH COMMITMENT. NOW SHE'S THINKING ABOUT BABIES. YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HER LAST NAME. YOU'RE PICTURING HER PREGNANT. NOW YOU FEEL WEAK AND CLAMMY. IT'S ALL MOVING TOO FAST. Spare yourself the hernia; stick to muted tones (grays, tans, navies, etc.), which give-off a masculine vibe. And if you really have a fetish with pastel colors then save them for the understated gear. Like socks. It'll be your dirty little secret that she'll never want to know.
2. A bow tie should never be worn to emulate. Just because the rap star/editor/photographer you worship wore an article of clothing that you thought was on-point doesn't make it relevant. "But Ryan Gosling wears bow ties!" SORRY, BUT DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE A SPARKLING PERSONALITY AND THE BODY OF A GREEK GOD AND THE VOICE OF AN ANGEL AND THE STYLE OF A SUPERHUMAN? No, so stop it. Ryan Gosling can wear a onesie and still put you to shame. Oh wait, he did. Two years ago on Ellen and it was awesome. "But Kanye West wears bow ties!" You know what else he wears? Leather kilts. He also tweets profound things like, "Is it super lonely and miserable to buy yourself a Cartier love bracelet...well I guess I do love my self lol!!!" The only thing women love more than leather kilts is narcissism. Nahhht. And don't even get me started on bow ties à la Nick Wooster. He's devoted over twenty-five years of his life to designer luxury. He's so far ahead in the menswear game that you can't even drive to where he is. "But Morgan, my heroes are the bow-tie wearing intelectuals." I get it. You admire men like Corbusier, Schlesinger, Schweitzer and Roosevelt. They inspire you to do revolutionary things, and that's fantastic. So do wild, revolutionary things. But don't imagine that knotting up a bow tie is going to earn you the equivalent notoriety, or the girl. We're not interested in a guy because he dresses like Kanye West, however there is nothing more attractive than listening to a man talk about his passions, no?
3. A bow tie should never be clipped on. Do you understand the hypocrisy of a clip-on bow tie? It's like running a 5K then eating a stick of butter as a post-workout snack. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? ONLY IDIOTS DO THAT. And only idiots clip on bow ties. There are two reasons to wear clip-ons: 1) You want to impress a girl by appearing all elitist next to your non-fashion bros as a cover for being lazy, or 2) You don't know how to tie a traditional bow tie and have no plans to Google that shit in the near future, which also makes you lazy. You know what else it makes you? A HYPOCRITE. Why even get dressed at all if you're going to be lazy about it? If tying a real bow tie cuts a massive slice of time out of you're daily morning regime (taking up that extra two minutes that you could have used to drool into your pillow) then maybe this menswear business isn't for you. If you really want to excite a girl, maybe you should stop getting dressed at all and, while you're at it, quit your day job and file for unemployment so you can wear pajamas all day, errday. Girls love guys in pajamas. You'll "owe money to the money to the money you owe," but who gives a damn about finances when you're living the American Dream of Mediocrity.
4. A bow tie should never be worn by amateurs. By amateurs, I am referring to young style bloggers who use the latest #menswear trends to weasel their way into the well-dressed crowd, poppin' bow ties and WIWT's (What I Wore Today) on Instagram hoping to cop a few "likes" and increase their Tumblr fame, all the while tripping over their untailored pant legs. Lawrence Schlossman, editor and chief of Four Pins coined these types of men Neo-Dandies, and expands upon the idea further:
Why bother learning how to dress or even cultivate a personal style when you can skip 50 steps, knot up a bow tie and suddenly you're a neo-dandy or whatever stupid word we want to call it? The bow tie's sudden status as a faux-signifier of style really bothers me. Guys strutting around in suspenders, high water trousers, boat shoes, and bow ties look like goddam caricatures.
5. A bow tie should never be worn to impress a girl. "MORGAN, WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING? THIS WHOLE PIECE IS ABOUT HOW TO IMPRESS GIRLS." Calm down. I warned you five minutes ago that everything I do is a mind game. So don't get all huffy when I throw some Lumosity.com shit at you. I'm training your brain to defend itself from stupidity. I am being serious with this last rule, though. Do not wear a bow tie to win a girl over if wearing it makes you feel uncomfortable. Honing your own style is a vulnerable process, given that you have the entire audience of humanity to point and laugh if you occasionally screw up, which is why it's common for guys to jack whatever's trending on the Internet and develop a faux-style by means of conformity. DO NOT STYLE JACK. It's a backwards process that will mess with your style development and then backfire, so instead of gaining confidence you'll feel ridiculously awkward, like that time your mom made you wear a yellow bow tie and matching cummerbund to your junior prom. And when do meet a girl, your lack of self-confidence will show up in your body language and by the end of the conversation she will be jumping to all kinds of conclusions to explain your weird behavior like, "HE KEEPS LOOKING AT THE FLOOR AND PULLING ON HIS TIE WHICH MEANS HE THINKS I'M NOT PRETTY OR EXCITING AND HE'LL NEVER CALL ME AND I'M A MESS." Girls are irrational. We need guys who are real. Don't wear a bow tie if you'd rather be tieless. In fact, find a girl who puts up with your tieless-ness and everything else in your closet and you've found the one. It's simple logic. What you put on your body should make you feel damn good. Bow tie or no bow tie, stop making menswear as complicated as your love life.