Tie One On
Bowties on the WWW
By Devin D. O'Leary
DECEMBER 8, 1997:
I'm firmly convinced that any piece of information you could ever
desire is out there somewhere on the Internet. You just need to
know where to find it. I have yet to run across a single subject
without at least some information scattered around cyberspace.
Take, for example, this week's dilemma. After an exhausting multimonth
search through area thrift stores, I finally located an honest-to-goodness
black silk bow tie. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find
a real bow tie. Clip-ons a plenty! But real bow ties? Good
luck. Of course, now that my formal attire is complete--vintage
tux, white ruffled shirt, black cummerbund and black silk bow
tie--I've run into another problem. I have no idea how to tie
a bow tie. And with the holiday season fast approaching, I could
be in trouble. Help me World Wide Web, you're my only hope!
Kurt Dunder's Bow Tie Guide (www2.dk-online.dk/users/kurt_dunder/butterfl.htm)--Kurt
Dunder is, apparently, a popular Danish comic strip character.
His home page includes several illustrated adventures, a list
of merchandising and this handy page on how to tie a bow tie (Kurt,
I guess, wears a lot of bow ties). The instructions are a simple
cartoon illustration with no text. You may be able to stumble
through a half-way decent knot with this one, but the risk of
strangulation is still high. The Danish are fine cartoonists but
poor bow tie wearers.
Puritan Clothing of Cape Cod ( www.virtualcapecod.com/puritan/bowtie.html)--Here's
some very clean line illustrations and step-by-step instructions
to lashing that bow tie to your neck. I still get kinda lost around
step five, though. "With your left thumb and forefinger,
fold the front ends together around the hanging end. By pulling
the bow forward ... " The illustration doesn't help a bit
here. Looks like a Praying Mantis eating a '69 Buick. As a bonus,
though, you can access instructions for tying a Half Windsor and
four-in-hand knot (both of which are pretty easy to understand).
Puritan Clothing, by the way, retails lots of that earthy cotton
stuff. The Web site does have lots of groovy info on clothing
construction and fashion history.
Bow Brummell ( www.tcf.ua.edu/bowtie/)--Some guy named Brent
Davis at The University of Alabama Telecommunications and Film
Department has put together this page "where cyber-ians learn
the manly art of tying a bow tie." There's a rather inspirational
essay on how Davis, a 37-year-old man, learned to tie a tie for
the first time. Believe it or not, he was inspired by astronaut
Neil Armstrong. There are also detailed step-by-step photo instructions
on looping the loop, as it were. The photos (using a mannequin
head and a half-black/half-white tie) are about as clear as you're
gonna get on this sort of thing. There are also links to other
tie sites, including a seamstress in Maine who sells (very nice)
handmade bow ties.
Tie Yourself in Knots ( www.alumni.caltech.edu/~landman/TYKcontents.htm)--Clearly,
some people spend a little too much time thinking about
this kinda stuff. Here's the home page of one Michael J. Landman,
Ph. D., who's apparently written an entire book on the subject
of ties. There are several sample chapters here, including: "The
Darwinian Theory of Neckties" and "Penis Extension or
Fashion Accessory?" Landman also includes a dozen different
ways to cinch a necktie. There's an entire chapter dedicated to
"Bow-Ties, Texas-Ties and other Neck-cessories (for the flamboyant
man)." If you're looking for some of the history, psychology
and goofy humor behind the wearing of ties (both bow and otherwise),
here's the site for you.
The Necktie Repository (fly.hiwaay.net/~jimes/necktie/)--If
there is a perfect necktie Web site, this is probably it. There
are dozens of subcategories here covering the care, history and
humor of ties, ties, ties. There's even a whole section on tie
tacks! Punch up the section on "How to tie a tie,"
and you'll get a nice grid running down several different knots,
descriptions, advice, plus beginner and advanced instruction for
executing said knots. If you've got no freakin' clue how to tie
a bow tie, check out this site, and I guarantee you'll be an expert
in no time. The "How to tie a bow tie" section has very
detailed seven-step instructions for doing the deed. There's
even a "Before you begin" section (you're supposed to
flip up your collar and measure the length of the tie), an approximate
time (5-10 minutes) and a list of "What you need" (a
dress shirt with buttons at the collar, a mirror, a bow tie).
Now this is just the sort of "stupid people" instruction
I need. There are no pics to go along with the step-by-step instructions,
but once you've got it down, you can always punch up the advanced
--Devin D. O'Leary