A Man and the Bow Tie: The Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont Giveaway

by Antonio on August 10, 2009 · 631 comments

in Accessories, Dress & Grooming


Source: Life

“It was in these years that I went over to the bow tie. Many men I admired wore bow ties — Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx. Bow ties are not only neat and suggestive of insouciance, they have in addition one inestimable advantage, especially for sloppy eaters. It is impossible, or at least it requires extreme agility, to spill anything on a bow tie.”   -Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. on the decision he made in college to start wearing bow ties.

Although the bow tie’s shape and general characteristics have remained the same for almost 150 years, its place in society has moved from one of equal footing with its cousin the necktie to one of being a rarity.  To find a man who enjoys wearing a bow tie daily is difficult, perhaps because so many view the bow tie as more “amusing” or belonging to the realm of eccentrics than in a professional’s wardrobe.  And that’s unfortunate; from a practical point of view, it’s less likely to get in your way, flatters a wide variety of faces, has a strong history, and technically, is just as correct as a standard necktie.

If you have the courage to wear a bow tie, you’ll find it’s a small accessory that receives a lot of attention.  Women will smile at you, young men will tell you how it reminds them of a favorite relative, and older gentlemen will compliment you for bringing back something great that was lost.  The naysayers may be thinking, “Oh, but they’re really just laughing at you,” but I beg to differ.  A man who can pull off a bow tie is confident in his own skin and that is something any great person can appreciate.

So without further ado, here is a bit of history on the bow tie, the background on a great American company that makes them, and finally directions on how with you can win one.

Bow Tie History


“A list of bow tie devotees reads like a Who’s Who of rugged individualists.” -The New York Times

The bow tie has a pedigree reaching back into the early 18th century when Croatian soldiers served as mercenaries in the French army’s light cavalry during the Thirty-Year’s War against the German Empire.  Traditional Croatian military dress included scarves worn around the neck in a distinctive manner. This handsome “Croatian Style” captivated the French and during the reign of Louis XIV, they adapted it and wore a piece of fabric around their shirt collars in the fashion then known as “a la Croate.”  This expression soon became the root of the new French term “cravate”.

The cravat flourished, and it soon became the sign of cultivation and elegance among the bourgeoisie. The cravat tie eventually inspired the the bow and four-in-hand neckties.  In the mid 19th century, the bow tie evolved from being a simple swath of material – often of lace and known as the jabot –  which was tied into any kind of bow, into something much closer to what we are familiar with today.  A specific bow tie pattern was designed, and when fabrics were cut using that pattern, the resulting bow was of a definitive form and soon became synonymous with formal attire.  It was particularly popular with the newly introduced tuxedo jacket – an alternative to the tailcoats that required white ties.  And although the bow tie began to lose its place as popular business attire, one fan has noted that the “bowtie has survived as a statement that a man takes pride in his dress.” Perhaps the most famous bow tie of the mid 20th century was Winston Churchill’s classic navy silk with white polka dots. During WWII, Churchill and FDR formed a bow tie alliance in opposition to Hitler’s penchant for the four-in-hand.  A few years later some of the icons of show business  – including Frank Sinatra – wore bow ties and lots of men followed suit.

On the Left - Beau Ties LTD's founders Bill and Deb    On the Right - Sir Winston Churchill, one of history's most iconic bow tie wearers.

On the Left - Beau Ties LTD's founders Bill and Deb On the Right - Sir Winston Churchill, one of history's most iconic bow tie wearers.

American Success Story – Bow Ties Made in Vermont

Fashion trends changed dramatically in the latter half of the century, and bow ties became as scarce as topcoats and fedoras in  popular fashion.  As a result, it became quite difficult for men who enjoyed wearing bow ties to find them in any fabric other than formal black.  Seeing this void when he looked for a bow tie himself, Bill Kenerson made a decision that impacted his life and opened the world of bow ties to thousands of other men.  A long-time bow tie fan, Bill was approaching retirement age when he determined it was time for someone to start making and selling bow ties that were not only top quality, but came in a variety of designs – well beyond the basic black.  And with that, Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont was born.

Beau Ties started in a spare bedroom of Bill’s house in Middlebury, Vermont.  Bill and his wife, Deb, made forays into the garment district in New York and started buying silks that would make great ties.  A neighbor and friend, who also happened to be a seamstress of some renown, started turning those fabrics into ties. A local graphic artist designed a one-page flier featuring eight fabric options, and a retired public relations maven developed the first promotional copy.  A mailing list of about 5000 names – cobbled together from various sources – formed the nucleus of what has become a list of over 100,000, and that flier winged its way to the first people to place orders for Vermont-made bow ties.  Fifteen years later, Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont is one of the USA’s premiere manufacturer of bow ties. Today the company inhabits a factory and sales office specifically designed for the business where each tie is individually handcrafted and inspected in Vermont and guaranteed to meet the expectations of customers all around the world.

Bow Tie Giveaway

Do you want to win the 100% silk, handcrafted bow tie of your choice? Entering this contest is as easy as pie. Just follow these two simple steps:

1. Visit the Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont web site and pick out the bow tie you would like if you’re lucky enough to be selected as the winner.

2. Share your selection with us in the comments section of this post.

Everyone who enters the contest will be emailed a coupon code for a 20% discount at Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont at the conclusion of the contest.

A winner will be drawn randomly from the entries. The deadline for entry into the contest is Monday, August 17 at 10PM CST.

601 Graham Duncan August 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

I look for every excuse on the planet to wear my kilt since I bought it for my wedding 10 years ago. I bought it with a black tie outfit, which I wear instead of a tuxedo on special occasions. But mostly i end up wearing it with a sweater or a nice pul over.
I have been in need of a way to dress it up for daytime formal or business meeting without going all the way black tie. I have been thinking about taking a sport coat and getting it tailored to wear with my kilt, but a necktie makes it look like the outfit belongs on a ten year old.
When I read the article on bow ties, eureka!, absolutely what I was looking for and had not considered, my tie of choice is the “River Shannon” http://www.beautiesltd.com/PRODUCT.ASPX?pn_deptid=8056
which would show off the green and blue in my kilt. Thanks for the advice!

602 Colin August 17, 2009 at 10:53 am

I like to wear bow ties around the holidays, and I’ve been eyeing the 12 days of Christmas ties for a few years. I especially like the Four Calling Birds. It’s festive without being garish.


603 Chris August 17, 2009 at 11:28 am

I have a red and white polka-dotted bow tie, so why not a striped one to mix it up? The Nag’s Head seems like a good choice.

604 Patrick August 17, 2009 at 11:36 am

I must go with the Pleasure Island, I could have chosen on name alone!

605 Emily Fine August 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

http://www.beautiesltd.com/PRODUCT.ASPX?pn_deptid=8032 Oh this is such a smashing bowtie that would look perfectly on my classy gentleman! Damn fine!

I’m surprised I hadn’t discovered their company yet, great ties!

606 Kevin August 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Dansk Silver or Diego Garcia. One is conservative, the other a bit out there (for me anyways!)


607 Mike Cisneros August 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

A classic that would go with anything is the Blenheim

608 Ford McLain August 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Blenheim, very slimline.

609 Zeke McGuire August 17, 2009 at 12:16 pm
610 Liam Strain August 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm


Subtle variation, on a strong base color. I like it.

611 Homer Frizzell August 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I like the Recyling bow.

612 John D. Sherrill August 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm
613 Mark Cannon August 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm

It’s a toss-up. I like the Blue Mesa, but the Calvin neck tie is nice. Both are simple and elegant: definitely mens’ apparel.

614 Steven Lundy August 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm
615 Chris Gerber August 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm

I love a good black tie affair. So the “Black Silk Jacquard” is my winner; or I’d go with the awesome “Inca de Oro”.

I want to help bring the bow tie back!

616 Stephen D. Smith August 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm


The Carbon Black Beaux Arts Woven tie. Classic, Elegant and Versatile.

617 Suzanne August 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Below is the beauty that I would LOVE to win for my father…


It is the blue on red air force bomber beau tie. My father was an engineer in the Army Air Corps (later the US Air Force) during WWII, one of the projects he worked on was retro-fitting the Enola Gay to carry the atomic bomb payload. He is proud of his service and he loves bow ties, I can’t think of a better Veteran’s Day gift than this tie, even if I don’t win it I will buy one for him anyway.


618 Scott Spiegler August 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I am so in love with Baseball Fields! http://www.beautiesltd.com/PRODUCT.ASPX?pn_deptid=7844

As the Red Sox continue in the perennial August slide , a bow tie like this would really really really pick up my spirits! I am a die hard, Sox fan, and this part of the season is particularly grueling for us Bostonians! Please help me out with a new Baseball Fields bow tie!

Thanks, Scott

619 Jared Schlieper August 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I dig the classic black, which reminds me of the ties my grandfather wore to church.(Boy do I miss you, grandpa…)

620 Will Reggler August 17, 2009 at 3:34 pm

For me, it has to be the Blenheim pattern:


Particularly if it is kept to the very slim “batwing” width, it exudes a classical flair with a modern twist. It’s understated enough to be masculine and well put-together, but it’s also the kind of tie where people will really take notice. Plus, as an Englishman, it fills me with great pride to be wearing the same pattern as Winston Churchill!

621 Christopher M. C. Deibert August 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm

This new Pixian is great! It would look stellar with my dark blue pinstripe suit!

622 Kevin Y August 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm

As an avid collector and wearer of Bow Ties, I would love to have a “Milos Bow Tie” to go with all of my suits and sportcoats.

623 Nicholas Eshelman August 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I’ve got a bunch of their ties, but I don’t have one like this:

624 Dave August 17, 2009 at 6:48 pm

This looks like a great bow tie for a beginner!

625 Jeff August 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I really like the Finlandia from Bill’s private stock.

626 Steve Grant August 17, 2009 at 8:38 pm

I like the Baseball Fields ti by Bach:


627 Ryan August 17, 2009 at 9:12 pm

I’ve never had a bowtie from them before, I’ve had them do a conversion, but never anything out of their catalog. I think keep it simple. A white polka dot on navy, very Churchhill…

628 Steve FAwcett August 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Well I’d have to go with the New York Neck Tie or the Glenn Ellen for elegance.

Reason being is we are doing a shoot based on “The Godfather” movie and seeing the movie was based in and around New York {http://www.beautiesltd.com/PRODUCT.ASPX?pn_deptid=7961} it would be most suitable

BUT seeing the “New York” is a neck tie an not bow tie we would have to say for sure the glenn ellen for elegance and who better to wear it than the Godfather himself the main character of our short films yet to be released.
{ http://www.beautiesltd.com/PRODUCT.ASPX?pn_deptid=8044 }.

The Godfathers is our men’s initiative here in New Zealand and with having the neck tie or bow tie would be a great addition to the costume and set we will be using as well as for that special occasion to brag that “I won this from the best site out their with original content for men”.

Plus you’d not only see me wearing it, the world wide web will be able to view, our short films on facebook, youtube, our media site and even Twitter.

and If I win I’ll make a fuss about it trust me :-) all over the world

By the way! seriously one of the best sites and originality I have come across in a long time and I visit a hang of a lot of pages.
Keep up the great work
The Godfuel Team

629 John Beliveau August 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I really like the Harris. http://www.beautiesltd.com/DEPTNOGROUP.ASPX?pn_deptid=49

Understated = sharp.

630 jim_bob August 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm

The Port Albert. A classic!

631 David August 19, 2009 at 3:15 am

The Pandora would look great with my grey double breasted suit and matching fedora.


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