I love a good story about mothers, sons and success. While visiting my son at Ole Miss, I shopped around the beautiful and historic square in Oxford. I meandered through Hinton & Hinton, a fabulous men’s clothing store that was packed with gorgeous merchandise, and I spied a young man standing behind a table with bow ties. As I approached, he offered to demonstrate how to tie this Southern man’s staple.
It turns out that James Hill is quite the bow tie expert. I found his story, and his skill, fascinating. His mom, Judy Hill, created the High Cotton clothing brand in 2010 after crafting a handmade, cotton bow tie for her elder son, a medical student at the University of Virginia. His problem: He liked wearing a necktie on rounds, but the long ties were more susceptible to touching harmful bacteria. Plus, the constant dry cleaning was a pain.
But Judy had the perfect solution. She designed a washable bow tie that just also happened to be fashionable. This simple pursuit turned out to be the beginning of a new career for this North Carolina family.
Today, I see more and more gentlemen wearing bow ties, even outside of the South. I asked James Hill about the uniqueness of his product and why he thinks it has become such a fashion statement. “The people that we find wearing our bow ties are confident, humble gentlemen who enjoy holding themselves to a higher standard and don’t mind getting a little attention,” explains Hill. He says that the bow tie is the perfect way for a gentleman to express his individuality. “Since wearing a bow tie is not the norm,” he continues, “people who wear bow ties normally enjoy setting themselves apart from the crowd.”
Hill believes that Southern men never need a reason or excuse to wear a bow tie. “You will find many people who enjoy wearing one every day to school or work,” he points out. “We are firm believers that bow ties should be a regular part of a gentleman’s wardrobe, not simply reserved for formal events.”
Of course, wearing a bow tie requires a man to learn how to tie one properly. Hill made it look easy when he demonstrated the technique for me in the store, and his company posted a video tutorial on its website in an effort to help men master the skill at home.
Remember that first impressions are lasting impressions. With our world becoming more and more casual, I encourage gentlemen to consider wearing a bow tie to the next oyster roast, cocktail party or church event. As Judy Hill says, “A bow tie is the key to attracting the right kind of attention!”
As always, thanks for reading.
For more information on High Cotton and its gorgeous selection of bow ties made from North Carolina cotton, and to see a video tutorial on tying a bow tie, visit: http://www.highcottonties.com