Clip-On Bow Tie: Cool or Tool?

As I have already admitted frequently, I don’t consider myself any kind of menswear expert.   I’m passionate about it, and I’m paying attention to it, but I’m also winging it.  From what I can see, bow ties are HUGE this year. No longer just the purview of nerds, they offer a bit of flair to anyone whose got some.  But experts are all in agreement: tie one on or fuggedaboutit.

Because I am all about menswear experts, I have learned to tie my own bow tie, and I admit to believing it has made me morally superior.  And I have scoffed at the pre-tied selection on lesser beings, waiters, and the shelves of Ben Sherman in SoHo.

But then I noticed a really cute vintage clip-on in my drawer that I bought perhaps a year ago, before I knew better. And it was a really dusty pink color and old.  And Shannon was out of the room so I slipped to the mirror and clipped it on my white Ted Baker shirt purchased at a consignment store in Boston before I knew my neck size.  And it pulled together the collar in a way that seemed quite dapperQ.

And then I went out.  And I saw it in the eyes of many a passer by – delight. Much more than when I wear my tied bow tie!   How to explain?  I dare not. It happened at lunch, and I was called out by the MC at a comedy show that night.

Cool? Or Tool? I want to know what you think. Far more than that, I WANT PHOTOS OF YOU IN BOW TIES (posted on the dapperQ Facebook page and sent to me for loading on Flickr.) dapperQ is obviously a highly-resourced operation so I snapped my own…you can too!

More from Guest Authors

Is Money a Challenge to Being dapperQ?

The comments are beginning to flow (blame sunshine for the glacial pace?)...
Read More


  • I vote for COOL! I’ve been wanting to add bow ties to my collection, and while I would love to (and PLAN on learning to) tie them myself, I’m also *impatient* 😉 And if I want to look fancy in a flash – a clip might just be the way go.

  • I vote for cool as well.
    I’m keen on getting some bowties, because I find ties to be annoying when it’s windy. In saying that, I have to admit I only have one tie, and never wear it, because it’s plaid, and I have the habit of always wearing plaid shirts, and the clashing would be horrendous.

    Also, this site is awesome.

  • The last two comments prove how friggin cute dapperQ’s can be! (Or is it specifically the subset that thinks clip-on bow ties are cool — those who want to be “fancy in a flash!”)

  • Sorry dude. Tool. 🙁

    Unless…you are able to pull it off with a bit of irony.

    The biggest problem with bowties is that many people (esp DapperQs) wear ones that are way too big for the size of their body and it ends up looking comical. Clip-ons are generally way too big.

  • Everyone should knot up their own ties and bow ties! It looks so much better!! It is so easy to look like a tool in a clip-on because everyone can tell it’s not really tied on.

  • Always cool! Weather you clip it on or tie it up, it always looks snazzy!

    But if you are looking for some really neat self-tie bow ties check out this exclusive selection from Carlos Campos! Vintage Italian silk with cool patterns!!

    I want one bad!

  • I have recently learned that slowly untying a bowtie is a very sexy act. Hand-tied bowties lend themselves to similar pleasures such as that I derive from my sweetheart’s bowtie lying untied on my nightstand. When I see my sweetheart in a carefully tied bowtie, I immediately begin thinking about the many minutes I will later spend undoing it. I support dapperQs wearing all sorts of bowties of whatever varieties feel most comfortable. I did feel, however, that the important perspective of us dapperQ fans with a vested interest in bowtie untying should not remain unarticulated.

  • sorry, not so cool. the problem with the clip-on bow tie is that’s it’s too perfect, which makes it all a little too precious. pulling off a bow tie requires (or so i humbly submit) a little rakishness, a little messiness, so you don’t look like a little kid headed to church. yes, that’s cute, but only ’til you’re four…and i absolutely agree with RBJD about the problem with too-large bow ties, particularly on smaller/shorter DapQs. it needs to be in proportion with your body/frame/head size, just like a regular tie, or your face will be overrun by the tie.

  • A few years ago I wore a clip-on bow tie and a tweed vest to defend my undergraduate math thesis. It made me feel like super-nerd–in a good way, like I had super powers to actually pass the exam. I was really glad to wear what suited me (ha ha, no pun intended), instead of what would have been expected. And it went over really well, even among the math professors, who aren’t exactly known for being super progressive (but who apparently appreciate bow ties and dapper men’s fashion on butches and soft butches alike). It’s too bad there aren’t any photos of the event. But I passed with honors! It must have been the clip-on tie.

  • I vote for cool. Were do you get yours? I have gotten several from and have been very happy with them. They are all handmade by a guy in NC.

  • Bowties: definitely cool.

    THAT bowtie: Not so much. That one looks like a prom tux bowtie. With the shape of your face I would think a more rectangular, less fan-like bowtie would be much better for you as it wouldn’t accentuate the pointedness of your chin.

    Hand-tied vs. Pre-tied vs. Clip-on: All are great, depending on the tie (shape, color, pattern) and the duty it is to perform. Hand-tied always impresses people. Always. Just being able to tie your own bowtie puts you high above the hoi-polloi.
    Pre-tied (the kind ushers and waiters wear) are good service ties where it might be advantageous to loosen or undo and redo them and have them always look neat. And you don’t need a mirror to put one on. By contrast, a hand-tied tie will lose its freshness after a couple of untie-reties.
    Clip-ons have their own clever and humorous charm. They are über-perfect-looking – in fact many have a true bow on both halves of the front, whereas a hand-tied tie has one bow and one tail in front. They are quick to take off, but a mirror is needed to get it back on straight. Putting it on crooked gives it a little comical charm (and maybe even sexiness). The clip-on is definitely its own unique statement. When you wear one, you ARE the hoi-polloi – with a little personal flair!

    And yes, you are correct. Bowties are enjoying a welcomed renaissance this year!

  • Have to agree re: pointy faces and big bows. dapperQ’s like me can use the feedback so keep coming back!

  • I have to say bow ties look good whatever form they take so I vote cool.
    I run an online mens classic & vintage shop and we sell lots of bow ties including tweed bow ties made using genuine Harris Tweed, velvet bow ties and many other styles / fabrics. They are always very popular and I think they deserve to be, a bow tie adds a certain flair to any outfit.

    Do take a look if your interested… : )

  • How can a tie ever be annoying in windy conditions, given that the tie will be securely held in place by waistcoat, sweater or *buttoned* jacket, as it always should be, and not hanging loosely on parade, as it should never be?

    The mind does boggle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.