The 21st Century Man - Vanity Fair magazine, February 1939 (via Sideways Station)

Gilbert Rhode banishes buttons, pockets, collars, ties. The man of the
next century will revolt against shaving and wear a beautiful beard,
says the designer of boilers, pianos, clocks, and metal furniture. His
hat will be an an antennae – snatching radio out of the ether. His socks
disposable, his suit minus tie collar and buttons.


On National Bow Tie Day, we highlight some 19th-century precursors of this natty neckwear. While dapper men skillfully created decorative knots from kerchiefs or long ties, the less deft could opt for pre-tied versions. Which would you choose?

Portrait of Edward Sturdevant of Hartland, Vermont,” 1823, attributed to Thomas Wale

Man’s Printed Kerchief, c. 1840, France

Man’s Stock with Bow, mid-19th century, United States

Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel John Wingfield,” 1803, by John Smart

Man’s Wedding Bow Tie, 1889, United States