Farley’s neckwear

Christie Leigh Babirad

What’s with the bow tie?

Washburn University President Jerry Farley bought his first few bow ties at Harold’s, a men’s clothing store across the way from Oklahoma State University where Farley finished his undergraduate studies. However, Farley didn’t take an immediate liking to bow ties.

“I didn’t really get into that look then,” said Farley. “I didn’t know anyone who wore bow ties.”

Ten years later, Farley dabbled in bow ties again when he began to work at OSU. Farley recalls fellow colleagues remarking, “Golly that’s odd,” when seeing him wear bow ties for the first time.

After working at OSU, Farley began to wear bow ties more often. He started working at Oklahoma Health Center, where he saw men sporting bow ties more regularly. Many pediatricians wore them because their patients liked to pull on the hanging ties.

When Farley came to Washburn, as surprising as it sounds, he didn’t wear bow ties right away. In fact, many of the early photographs of Farley picture him wearing a typical hanging tie. It was only later on when Farley started wearing bow ties on a regular basis.

On the first day of classes, Farley remembers other faculty members saying, “You’ll know the new guy – he’s the one who wears the bow ties.” This has become Farley’s signature look, and many at Washburn can’t picture him without one.

“It just became a fun thing to do,” said Farley. “I don’t even think about it now.”

Although many bow ties are sold already tied, Farley prefers tying his own saying of pre-tied bow ties, “That’s no fun.” It’s all part of the experience, and Farley says tying a bow tie is just like tying a shoe.

Farley isn’t the only one who has incorporated bow ties into an everyday fashion statement. Doug Timm, an alumnus of Washburn University School of Law and a current real-estate transactions representative for Sprint, has also adopted this eye-catching neckwear.

“I started wearing bow ties at the outset of law school, because I found that I wasn’t all that jazzed about the black suit, white shirt, red tie combo,” said Timm. “It struck me as about as boring as the audio book version of ‘War and Peace’ read by Ben Stein.”