Ashbel C. “Ash” Williams Jr., executive director and chief investment officer of the $152.2 billion Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee, prefers bow ties to neckties.
They are more durable, practical and sartorially splendid, Mr. Williams maintains.
In his own words, he explained:
“I don't always wear them. I frequently wear regular ties; I wear bow ties more frequently. I started doing bow ties probably six or eight years ago.
“What I like about them is when I was commuting (from) Connecticut into New York (while working as a managing director of Fir Tree Partners, a New York-based hedge fund), you are sitting on a train for three hours a day. You read a lot of newspapers. If you have a necktie, a newspaper ... rubs against the tie.
“Well, if you are wearing an expensive silk tie, you don't want newsprint all over the tail end of it; and most ties, if you have them cleaned, are never the same. If you send them to a specialty cleaner, they are very expensive to clean. Bow ties, not a problem.
“If you travel a lot, which I did and still do, bow ties take up a fourth of the space. They are lighter, they don't wrinkle as much and they are cheaper. It's all practical.
“And I'll tell you something else. When you wear a jacket or a suit and it's buttoned and you walk somewhere, (if you are wearing a necktie) where your stomach hits the middle button there is friction and the tie inevitably winds up like this (Mr. Williams motions to show a necktie flapping outside a coat or over a shoulder) and you look like a slob ... With a bow tie, (the problem) doesn't exist. The appearance is perfect all the time.”
Is it more challenging to tie a bow tie?
”Just don't look in a mirror.”