Fair Spring is upon us and campus is awash with the visual delights it brings.  Seersucker is resplendent in striped glory; white bucks gleam with care; pastel colors abound with new vigor; and the bow tie graces the neck of many an Auburn Gentleman.  With all of these clothing inspirations strutting before us, some may even be tempted to purchase a new bow for their job search or to jazz up their already established professional wardrobe, but before you saunter into your favorite men’s clothier and commit to becoming a member of that most noble and honored league of bow wearers there are several things to consider…

On the Job Interview
It is important to note that bow wearers are in the tie minority.  When you see them you notice them.  Bows are individual, striking and at times loud.  It takes a certain amount of moxy to confidently wear a bow in a straight tie dominated world.  They do a magnificent job of drawing attention to oneself.  So at this point you’re likely saying to yourself: “By Jove, then the bow is the perfect way for me to stand out from my peers and have jealous looks cast upon me.  I’m rushing to the haberdashery this very instant.” Cool your jets Bennie.  As a bow tie wearer myself it brings me great pain to write these next words, but… DO NOT wear a bow tie to your interview.  Yes you will stand out, yes you will be remembered, but often not for the reasons you desire.

I know, you’re likely a little morose at this point.  I’ve spent all this time discussing how amazing bow ties are and now suddenly, a stupendous let down.  You’re thinking, “But Torey, Robert Frost said to take the road less traveled and it made him happy as a lark in springtime. Surely he knows what he’s talking about.”  Don’t listen to Robert Frost, he’s a dead poet laureate.  I am your alive career counselor, and in this instance conformity is suggested.

Picture if you will, this scenario.  Two dapperly dressed gentlemen interview for a position.  Both are smartly fitted in dark suits; matching shoes and belt; well-manicured and coiffed hair; but one wears a straight tie, the other a bow tie.  They both provide articulate, well-delivered and thought out answers to pivotal interview questions. Our traditionally tied friend is remembered later for his pointed responses, the diverse use of language and delivery.  Our bow tie wearing friend is remembered as “that guy who wore a bow tie”.  Which of these do you think wins? If you guessed the former, you would be correct.       

The entire, let me repeat that, entire point of an interview is to be remembered for how well you sold your candidacy as a potential employee.  Instead, if all you are remembered for is your accoutrement selection, then you have failed.  In the vast majority of interview situations the bow tie is not your friend.  Stick with the traditional, if however tired, straight tie.  Your future paycheck will thank me and you for it, and once you have the job you can reward yourself.  Go on, newly hired employee, get that bow, you deserve it.

On the Job

Once you have secured your hard-won employment our tie discussion changes.  Without question, our dear poet laureate friend Frost gives terrible advice about the interview attire, but on the job he’s not that bad.  However, before you break out that brocaded floral paisley number in tasteful lilac, cream and accents of gold, you should pay attention to your workplace culture.  Notice what your fellow employees are wearing.  Are ties of any sort common? Have you seen an elusive bow before? Is there a strict dress code policy?  Will you be castigated, called mean names and subjected to all sorts of heinous treatment for daring to wear a bow? Ok, maybe not that last one, but you get the picture.

A bow tie can be a great way to punch up a drab professional wardrobe or to showcase a little personality.  (I have a fondness for those tasteful floral paisley numbers; bold stripes and polka dots, but that’s just me.)  Recognize, the thing about wearing bow ties is that you must be confident.  One cannot wear a bow tie think every whisper a verbal jab or every finger pointed a spear of judgment.  They could just be marveling at your taste and refinement.  Will disparaging comments be made, probably, but they’re likely just jealous.  Pay them no mind.

Bow ties are fun, and if you are going to wear one have fun with it.  Don’t be afraid of their tying complexity (Pro Tip: They’re Not), nor the looks of the passerby.  We started with a question —–should you bow tie or should you not bow tie– and now an answer: it depends.  As in all things, use critical thinking, do your research and above all else ask your alive career counselor if you have a question.

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