A Brief History of The Bow Tie
26 Aug 2015

This Friday, August 28th, is International Bow Tie Day, so we're all about bow ties at the moment! In fact, bow ties are compulsory in the Love & Robots office all week*. So we decided to explore the history of our favourite piece. Some of the facts may even surprise you!

*may not be true.

Where it all started

The tradition of accessorising the neck with a knotted piece of fabric originates from the 17th century. It is linked to the Croatian soldiers who used it to keep the collars on their shirts together. After facing them in the Thirty Years War, French soldiers brought this specific look home and named it “cravat” (derived from French word for “Croat”). By the 1700’s neckties were widely adopted by the upper class men and fashion followers in France.


It was in 1886 when Pierre Lorillard designed a new style of formal wear named “tuxedo” that was a huge hit among wealthy fashion enthusiasts. A tux with black bow tie quickly became the first choice of a formal outfit all over the world. Ever since, the role of bow tie in the fashion industry has only grown bigger.

Apparently architects were one of the first professions to wear bow ties in the office, day to day, as ties just got in the way when leaning over a drawing board.


Informal bow ties

During the past few decades, the role of bow ties has moved away from strictly formal wear. From the foppish looks of style mavens Karl Lagerfeld and Manolo Blahnik, to the quirky guise of comedians Charlie Chaplin and Pee-wee Herman, from the iconic stud looks of Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra, to the nerdy looks of Bill Nye and Orville Redenbacher, the bow tie has found itself as a compliment to a great many varying ensembles.

famous bow tie wearers


Women wearing bow ties

The 1920’s and 30’s was when the bow tie officially crossed gender lines into women’s wear. Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn were the first among many other women to wear predominantly masculine clothes: tailored suits, top hats, button down shirts and, of course, bow ties.


Today, the bow tie has been reinvented, redefined and redesigned into a desirable accessory that any stylish individual can include into their unique look.

Types of bow ties

Self-tie requires certain skill in order to be worn. If you don’t know how to tie it, you might check out any of many instructional videos or infographics on the web.


Pre-tied are much easier. They are already made and ready for use. All you need to do is have a nice shirt and pull it over the collar.


Clip-on are pre-tied but instead the strap, they’ve got a clip on the back side. They are also for kids only (preferably). If you are more than 6 years old, it’s time for you to learn how to tie your own bow tie, or get the pre-tied one.

Clipon boy


3D printed & lasercut bow ties are relatively new on the scene, but they're already making a splash. They have a great quirky, original look and there is no need to worry about tying them either. You can pick your colour, shape, customise it according to your style or occasion, and just slip it over the top button on your shirt. Check out the Love & Robots range.

red 3d printed bow tieAbove: The Love & Robots Tennessee Williams bow tie in red - €58


Cool wooden bow tieAbove: The F. Scott Fitzgerald Lasercut Wooden Bow Tie - €35


Purple 3d printed bow tieAbove: The Love & Robots 3d printed Azimov bow tie - €58


Custom map wooden bow tieAbove: The Love & Robots Custom Map Bow Tie & Matching Cufflinks Set - €58


Shop Gifts Collection


We are currently not accepting orders through our website. But don't worry! You can still buy Love & Robots pieces through our stockists, all listed here.
We will continue completing any outstanding orders. If you need to contact us about an existing order, or you are interested in stocking Love & Robots, please email [email protected]

Best wishes from the Love & Robots Team.