Top Five Bow Ties in Period Flicks


Often used as a signifier for a dweeby, bookish nerd, I actually think bowties can be pretty sexy. Here’s a list of my top five favorite bowties in period films!


5. Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr., the Indiana Jones franchise

In every Indiana Jones movie, there’s always at least one scene where we see Indy at his day job as mild-mannered university professor Doctor Jones, and he’s nearly always sporting a bow tie. In fact, if you think about it, the bow tie and three piece suit appears to be every bit as important to Indy’s professor identity as his fedora and leather jacket is to his archeologist identity. And if anyone can make the bow tie both sexy and manly, it’s Harrison Ford.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of DOom

Of course, Indy doesn’t always reserve the bow tie for the classroom. Sometimes it’s a necessary to sport one for formal black tie dinners.

Indian Jones

Here Dr. Jones is sporting a pinstripe wool three piece suit and a very subdued maroon silk bow tie.

Indian Jones last crusade

We even get to see where Indy gets his fashion sense — Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. (played by probably the manliest man that ever manned, Sean Connery) is wearing a beautiful gray wool three piece suit and has accessorized with a blue polka dot bow tie. Check out that pocket watch fob!


4. The Gentlemen of Downton Abbey

Everyone and their grandmother’s favorite series, the wildly successful Downton Abbey took public television by storm in the States. We’ve covered the series extensively, devoting podcast recaps for the last season, as well as posts about our favorite costumes, wedding dresses, and charting the style adopted by both the young and the old inhabitants of Downton Abbey, but never really talked much about what the men wore. So, how about some formal attire for ya?


The gents all seem to reserve the bow ties for formal occasions, otherwise it’s neckties or cravats, when the situation demands it | Photographer: Nick Briggs


Matthew lookin’ sharp in a straight edge bow tie.


And we can’t ignore the gentlemens’ footmen, like Thomas, who are all required to wear white ties as part of their uniform.


3. Victoria, Victor/Victoria

Julie Andrews proved she’s not just a prim and proper English governess with magical powers. While prortraying a woman, dressed as a man, dressed as a woman for much of Victor/Victoria, Andrews also dons an elegant white tie look while palling around with the boys. You can check out our short review of the film here.

1982 Victor Victoria


1982 Victor Victoria

No longer on babysitting duty.


2. Jeeves & Wooster, Jeeves & Wooster

Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie cemented themselves as one of entertainment’s best comedy pairings with the TV adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s novels about a wealthy playboy and his eternally patient, ever present valet, set during the 1920s. Jeeves is always there to make sure Wooster doesn’t make a complete prat of himself.


No mean feat, considering how the good-natured Bertie is perpetually on the verge of being awarded the Upper Class Twit of the Year award.



1. John Thornton, North and South

Richard Armitage spends the entirety of this film wearing a succession of mid-Victorian bow ties while looking wildly sexy.

Richard Armitage, North and South (2004)

Yes, please.

North and South (2004)

*bites fist*

2004 North and South

I’ll be in my bunk.

These are just my top five — who’s in your top five? Let us know in the comments!

15 Responses

  1. Frannie Germeshausen

    Not a movie, but an episode from the Poirot series had him standing in front of a mirror, tying his bowtie. It was AWESOME.

  2. Donna

    More on bowties rather than film … my sweetie oft quotes someone (I forget who) who said that “bowties are the Republican’s nose ring” … that is a way to sartorially stand out, yet still fit the accepted fashions of your chosen social set.

  3. Becca

    I…I just need a private moment after the Richard Armitage pictures…

    • mehkko

      I think he’s literally the hottest, maybe…person, in that mini-series. I had a mega crush on him for a loooong time after watching that.

  4. Ayla

    I’m sorry but I’ve been looking for the name of the second dude in the Downton Abbey photo for like 15 mins and googling “Hot Guy Downton Abbey” didn’t remotely help (as in, showing me MANY photos of attractive men but not the one I’m searching for :s) WHO IS THAT???

    • J Lou

      In the first Downton Abbey photo, the gentlemen are (from left to right) Douglas Reith as Lord Merton, Ed Cooper Clarke as Tim Grey, Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham and Matt Barber as Atticus. Ed Cooper Clarke was only in the one episode.

  5. Teresa

    When I saw the topic, I immediately thought of Bertie Wooster. And Jeeves is always there to make sure the tie is unexceptionable, and to pry it away from Bertie if it’s not up to his high standards!

    Also great to see Indiana Jones in there. Archaeologists rock. (I haven’t see too many of them wearing a bow tie in the classroom, but maybe that’s a 1930s thing? Chemists, on the other hand…)

  6. brocadegoddess

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: gawd, nobody smoulders like Richard Armitage. Nnnnngggggg………

    And bowties are cool. There, I said it; and am only surprised I’m the first one (or is it so horribly hackneyed now?)

  7. Ms. Heather Ripley

    How about Mr. Don Cheadle in Boardwalk Empire, there were plenty of styling fellas in that series, but he wore at bow tie quite well.