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Dickie Bow Fever

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2010-03-22 London Evening Standard.jpg


It's Thumbs Up From The New Doctor Who For The Latest Nerdy Neckwear. Mark Walton-Cook Passes Judgment

We've been holding out for a sartorial change in the world of men's neckwear for some time. And this Easter it will arrive, championed by the time-travelling Matt Smith, the new Doctor Who sporting, by the young actor's own suggestion, the oft-derided bow.

The catwalks for autumn-winter 2009/2010 saw no end of similarly chiselled chaps wearing them, and such celebrities as Mark Ronson, David Beckham, Kanye West, Bryan Ferry, Chris Brown and magazine editor Jefferson Hack have all been seen taking to the neckwear. Comedian Rufus Hound, who last week won Sport Relief's Let's Dance contest on TV, recently bought a reversible one at Pose in Covent Garden. In fact, look around and they're all over the place-from H&M, to Urban Outfitters' vintage section, to the eye-popping versions at Duchamp (long-established as purveyors of the ties that blind) and at men's accessory heaven, Liberty. Liberty's menswear buyer, Stephen Ayres, says: "Bow tie sales have been strong recently, particularly from Lanvin and Alexander McQueen. The customer varies from a more classic guy requiring something for a black tie event to a more fashion savvy man opting for the OEAlber' bow tie, which is larger and more directional.

"I'm sure there are more celebs wearing bow ties. But I think with brands offering cord and tweed versions, we will see an increase in daytime wearing of bow ties as these fabrics feel more relaxed than the traditional silks." The main style of bow tie that mainstream stores have been attempting to lure us with is the skinny-and, shudder, pre-knotted-version. It's all tied in with the rise of the nerd and associated TV shows. Think cardigans and tight check trousers-the goofy young gay character in the recent BBC fashion disaster that was Material Girl or the American character Pee-wee Herman. It's no coincidence that geek is good, with such shows as The IT Crowd, The Big Bang Theory and Glee attracting stellar ratings. Certainly the skinny dicky is the most fashion forward-opt for the more traditional bow and you risk looking like a florid antiques dealer of the daytime TV ilk. It's a knotty dilemma.

But back to the Doctor, who has always had a defining piece of clobber: Jon Pertwee's smoking jacket, Peter Davison's cricket whites or David Tennant's skinny suit with loosened tie.

The producers apparently wanted Smith (the 11th Doctor) to be rigged out like Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean films but he rejected the look and suggested the bow tie, nattily combined with a tweedy jacket for the trendy-professor-meets-rock-star-from-outer-space look.

Neckwear-wise, Smith is not bow-ldly going where no one has gone before. He is following in the tradition of the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee, who sometimes teamed one with his smoking jacket, a tumescent velvet affair reminiscent of Michael Aspel hosting Miss World circa 1976.

Of course, the vexing question about the Doctor's neck apparel is: is it the real untied thing, the preferred option, of course, for true gentlemen and Time Lords?

His looks suspiciously like pre-tied or even clip-on. I'm reliably informed that the police wear clip-on ties, not just because they are deeply unfashionable but to prevent attackers strangling them. Perhaps the Doctor is afraid of being throttled by a Cyberman but, frankly, I don't see a clip-on job standing up too well in an intergalactic scrimmage with the Daleks.

And he's got clip-on braces, too. Tut-tut.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Walton-Cook, Mark (2010-03-22). Dickie Bow Fever. London Evening Standard p. 33.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Walton-Cook, Mark. "Dickie Bow Fever." London Evening Standard [add city] 2010-03-22, 33. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Walton-Cook, Mark. "Dickie Bow Fever." London Evening Standard, edition, sec., 2010-03-22
  • Turabian: Walton-Cook, Mark. "Dickie Bow Fever." London Evening Standard, 2010-03-22, section, 33 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dickie Bow Fever | url= | work=London Evening Standard | pages=33 | date=2010-03-22 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dickie Bow Fever | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024}}</ref>