The Batwing Bow Tie
The Batwing bow tie, often referred to as the straight or slim bow tie, is not as well known as the the common butterfly bow tie. It is usually 2” or less at the ends and creates a beautiful small bow tie that is modern, elegant, and understated. Even though the batwing bow tie is on the smaller side, lacking the flared ends of the butterfly bow tie, it has been worn by some of the largest personalities of the 20th century. While similar to the Diamond Point Bow Tie, the Batwing Bow Tie is flat on both ends rather than pointed, giving it a more symmetrical look than the diamond point. It’s no wonder that Walter Gropius, father of the modern Bauhaus movement, often wore this sleek small style of bow tie. At Olaf Olsson we make a number of beautiful batwing bow ties to help make you look great.
BOW TIE HISTORY
During the Thirty Years War, in the 17th Century, Croatian Soldiers who were working as mercenaries for King Louis XIII of France, wore a piece of cloth around their neck as part of their uniform. This piece of cloth, or cravat, was functional as it was used to keep their jackets shut. Very quickly this early bow tie lost its functional use and was adopted as a fashion statement by the upper classes of France. Very quickly it became a staple of fashion throughout the western world. In the late 18th century with the advent of the Tuxedo, which some attribute to Pierre Lorillard, the bow tie began to cement its place as a major feature of men’s fine fashion. The tuxedo, named after Lorillard’s estate Tuxedo Park in the Hudson Valley of New York, combined with the bow tie became known as “black tie” attire, and is still considered the standard of formal wear today. While the bow tie is mainly a male fashion statement, it has had many female admirers as well, including Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. The White Usagi bow tie by Olaf Olsson is a perfect example of a batwing bow tie that can be worn formally or casually.
BOW TIE STYLES
Since the bow ties introduction it has gone through a number changes in its form. With these changes have come a number of different styles, each with its own look and feel. The style most people are now familiar with is the butterfly bow tie. It gets it’s name from the flares at each end of the tie that are similar in look to a butterfly. Over the years the width of these wings has increased and decreased, reaching its maximum width during the 1960’s and 1970’s. A less popular but wonderful bow tie is the diamond point bow tie. The diamond point gets its name from its pointed ends, which due to the nature of how one ties a bow tie, leaves a point on one side of the bow tie once it is tied. With the exception of the pointed ends, the diamond point bow tie is similar in size and shape to batwing bow tie. The batwing bow tie is usually 2” or less at the ends and creates a beautiful small bow tie that is modern, elegant, and understated. There is rumor of a rare rounded club bow tie, although we have never seen one in person. It is essentially a batwing bow tie with rounded ends. Like the diamond point bow tie, it creates a non-symmetrical look, with a curved end on one side and a straight end on the other. All of our current seasons bow ties at Olaf Olsson are batwing style. We love the compact and elegant bow that this style makes.
WHO WEARS BOW TIES
Who wears bow ties? The lists is endless. Bow ties are still “required” for black tie and most military dress uniforms still incorporate a bow tie. Some professions seem to attract people who like wearing a bow tie, such a politicians, architects, university professors, attorneys, teachers, and waiters. The bow tie is still popular with the Nation of Islam, and Elijah Muhammad one of it’s great leaders often wore one. Plenty of celebrities wear bow ties as well, they include Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery (James Bond), Pee-wee Herman, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Orville Redenbacher, Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake, Walter Gropius, to name a few. There are plenty of women who like sporting bow ties as well, they include Rihanna, Drew Barrymore, and Janelle Monáe. And let’s not forget Dr. Who wears a bow tie.
While the bow tie has come in and out of fashion a number of times, it is clear it is a fashion statement that is here to stay. Olaf Olsson has a full line of batwing bow ties that are handmade from imported Japanese fabric. These bow ties are handmade in Brooklyn, just like our full line of neckties.