X

The Cow-tie Moment Is Not Yet

This remains. The bow-tie. This little but singular piece of the attire of the fashionable man. Or, in our context, or, to be more precise, the context into which we find ourselves thrust, the cow-tie. It awaits attention. It awaits embrace. It awaits. A silken knot stylishly askew, bedded on a satin pillow. Virgin yet. In the wardrobe. Or one of the many wardrobes, for there must be many wardrobes to accommodate the fancies of the fashionable man. Or the man who thinks himself fashionable, does not matter what others may think of his sense of fashion. A bespoke suit with pinstripes finely monogrammed with your own name? Ahem. Or Matrix-cut Bvlgari shades on a foggy winter morning, surveying a parade on Kingsway? So sensational it burnt up the fog. Style hai. Pink on pistachio. Orange on purple. Acquired taste. Acquired at a price. At quite a price. How much was that Loro Piana he was seen in the other day in some other country where he very often is? That neck to knee thing? The same that also sounds like admonishment for getting wasted on drink - LoRo Piana! Many many euros, many hundreds of euros. Just multiply by 70 or 80 or whatever the floating rate is to get the rupee value of it. Got it? That kind of price. For style, bhaaiyon-behnon! This sort of style... "To its devotees, the bow-tie suggests a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow-tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow-ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow-tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think. The first ones to fashion it were swashbuckler Croatian mercenaries in the 17th century, which is why a version of the cow-tie is still called a cravat. Comes from Croat..." Hmm. Familiar.

Style doesn't come easy. As a matter of fact, oftentimes style requires pains to be taken. Like if you want to strike out in a bow-tie. Sorry cow-tie. An effort it is to tie the cow-tie. So many ways to tie it, so many twists and turns, such sleight of hand required. It isn't easy. It is, in fact, this hard. Listen.

"The most traditional bow-ties are usually of a fixed length and are made for a specific size neck. Sizes can vary between approximately 14 and 19 inches as with a comparable shirt collar. Fixed-length bow-ties are preferred when worn with the most formal wing-collar shirts, so as not to expose the buckle or clasp of an adjustable bow tie. 'One-size-fits-all' adjustable bow-ties are a later invention that help to moderate production costs but costs are seldom a consideration for men who go for cow-ties. They turn out best when they are turned to individual size and manner..." So says the journal of the finely turned out gent, a classified document circulated exclusively among the initiated and the able.

Ever seen Mahadeb in a cow-tie? You won't. He is neither initiated, nor able. He makes do with perforated cotton lungis and vests with equal number of holes. When it gets too cold for comfort, he clads himself in the warmth coming off his stove. Period. No style there. No effort either. Style requires effort, like tying cow-ties. Especially if they are silk because silk can be slippery. And the fine silks the fashionable man prefers are especially slippery. A bit like the Harnataka verdict. Slippery. You think you have it, but it slips away. Then you force it, and it slips away again. YadiHoRabba! It has to be held firmly, gathered, gripped, twisted, twirled, knotted, tied, pinned. Stapled is even better. All of that had to be done to the Harnataka verdict, and it was still slipping. And it finally came undone. Like the fine silks of the man of fashion, like the material his cow-tie is made of. There may have been occasion to wear it, actually. In Bengalureoo. At the victory pageant. Imagine. Someone arrives daring the Deccan heat, flashing a cow-tie at the sun, blinding it with silken beams bouncing off its curves in many directions. Wasn't to be, Oh! Bengalureoo. It got tied, then it slipped, and slipped several times. Cow-tie. It was ready. But the occasion ditched it. It remains there. In the wardrobe, virgin on a satin bed.

Oh for a chance

On the burnished deck

And a silken tie

To wring finely a neck.

Opinion

Back to top icon