We've talked a good bit about bow tie attitude. The discussion is really a bit overblown, actually. Bow ties don't really communicate all that much, inherently. And yet there is a certain amount of chutzpah required when rocking said piece of haberdashery.
I like to think of it like any other pursuit. You're an individual. You've got peculiar idiosyncrasies, a unique gift mix, particular passions, and a temperament all your own. You've got to take that 'self' with you into everything you do. Half the battle is convincing yourself that you're not a fraud. The other half is figuring out a balance between confidence and humility. It doesn't serve you or anybody if you're a punk; nor does it do anyone a favor if your self deprecation is not so much humorous as a perennially employed defense mechanism.
It's not so much about "image" or even "self-image". It's more about poise, countenance, bearing. How do you carry yourself? How do you respond to different environments? Are you uptight? Are you provocative? Are you pushy? Are you a pushover? Or have you learned to take yourself less seriously, and take others, and your calling in life, more seriously? There's the difference. You can wear a bow tie and still put everyone at ease. (So much for Tucker Carlson's funny line about a bow tie basically being a middle finger protruding from one's Adam's Apple.) Likewise, you can wear jeans and a t-shirt and still immediately demonstrate that you care about things, including your calling, and that you do in fact know what you're talking about. It's not the clothes that make the man (was it Alan Flusser that sort of said that?), but the countenance that makes the man. Same for ladies.
I think this idea goes a long way toward establishing the difference between vanity and personal style. Your poise should put people at ease, regardless of what people's initial reaction to your style may be. It used to be that a man's wardrobe in particular was about gentlemanliness--the art of wearing the right thing at the right time so as not to make people uncomfortable. But in our day, when everything is done with a high degree of self-consciousness, and in which there is no established "uniform" for the workplace, for dinner, or even for the Inaugural Ball, you're going to have to set people at was by your poise rather than your clothes. You're going to be "out of uniform" to someone in any situation these days. You'll have to let your bearing bear you along, and bear others along.
All this from a photograph where I'm looking like a punk. Huh.
At the end of the day, The Cordial Churchman can sell you bow ties. We can't make you cordial. You're going to have to look to another Supplier for that sort of quality.
But we'd still like to sell you this bow tie: a new Donegal Tweed in gray with subtle flecks of awesomeness. 100% wool. Diamond point. Poise not included. When you buy it, $29 goes to help change lives in Haiti.
As Cordially as Possible,
PS-- My comrade and distance mentor Steve Childers gives some sage advice on how to maintain poise and spiritual equilibrium. We thought it was so good that we put it on our chalkboard in the kitchen.