With the holidays come holiday parties, including the penultimate holiday soiree, the New Years Eve Party. I don’t know about you, but I think there is nothing as cheery and at the same time stylish as a good bow tie. Bow ties just scream “I am ready to party” in my book. And do I have a firm that knows its bow ties: Carrot & Gibbs. The Carrot & Gibbs bow tie is the sixth item on my top ten Made in America holiday gifts for 2011.
Carrot & Gibbs was founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 1987. Their bows are individually cut, sewn and pressed by hand here in the United States of silk fabric. Carrot & Gibbs bows are stocked by stores such as Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. According to Carrot & Gibbs, “The bow tie inspires a staunch loyalty that can only be understood by those independent thinkers who look into the mirror, tie their bows, and go forth as proud members of this civilized minority.”
In contrast to those that wear the bow today, the original bow tie wearers were not very civilized. According to Wikipedia, Croatian mercenaries first began sporting bow ties during the Prussian wars of the 17th century. The French, ever on the lookout for a way to be, well French, adopted the bow fashion. Upper classes Frenchmen made the bow tie a required piece of French fashion in 18th and 19th centuries. The French named the tie “cravat” derived from the French word of Croat. It is unclear whether the Croatian mercenaries ever got a cut of the French bow tie trade.
According to Russell Smith, style columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail, bow ties allow the wearer to transform himself into something that perhaps he is not. “But I find that when I try them on, I don’t look like the hip 23-year-old salesmen in Paul Smith jackets and Fidelity jeans. I look like a bachelor English teacher taking his niece out for tea.”
Smith is not alone in this sentiment that those that wear the bow understand the power that slim bit of fabric has to define them. Warren St. James, writing in the New York Times said, “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.”
Carrot & Gibbs bows are truly unique. For this holiday season, Carrot & Gibbs have produced some amazing new bows. My current favorite is the Elegant square emblems on rich red ground.
Another design that just screams, “I am a fella who can pull this off, you, maybe not so much” is the green, blue, and red dots on a yellow ground.
Finally, if you want a bow that is a bit more sedate, I might suggest the blue, black gold, and copper checks.
Which ever Carrot & Gibbs bow you buy for your husband, father, brother, uncle or son, you can rest assured that it will be worn with pride. You can also be sure that it was crafted in this country by a member of your extended American family. Go ahead, tie one on. Just do it in front of a mirror the first time and never when driving a motor vehicle. Get shopping!