Oskar Alexander ’23 Grows into the Bow

Self expression and lifelong habits fostered through classic look


Submitted by: Alexander

From a young age, bow ties have been a part of Alexander’s life. The small accessory, completes every outfit he wears and feels uniquely him. As he grows up, he plans to continue his bow tie wearing ways, picking new ones out each day into college.

Sofia Perlman, In-Depth Editor

Who knew that what started as a preschool Easter outfit accessory would become a staple in Oskar Alexander ‘23’s wardrobe for years to come. A defining feature of his everyday outfits, Alexander is known for his colorful and unique bow ties. Alexander fondly recalls the start of his bowtie journey, “This is a story I’ve told many times…It was preschool, and for Easter my parents wanted me to dress up a little bit so they gave me a clip on bow tie. I got a lot of compliments that day and I just kind of realized that it felt pretty good and I wanted to keep wearing it.”

Alexander’s motive for continuing to wear a bow tie each day changed from an outward focus to personal expression. Alexander notes, “Over time it sort of shifted from ‘I wear this to get compliments’ to ‘I wear this because I like it…’” 

Shifting in more ways than one, Alexander changed to wearing self tie bow ties instead of clip-ons. Up until eighth grade, he only wore clip on bow ties, growing his collection to around 30 different ties. But, as he realized how much he enjoyed wearing them, Alexander decided to start wearing real self-ties, commenting, “It really feels like me, and so that’s why I decided to keep wearing it and to switch to the real [bow ties].”  Now, he has around a dozen different bow ties in rotation that he wears each day. “For a long time it was just kind of because other people said I should [wear them], but then in eighth grade I sort of thought about it and realized that it makes me feel better when I am wearing it.” 

Alexander’s sibling, CJ Alexander ‘24, mentions how bowties have always been a core element of him as long as they can remember, “It’s always been kind of a presence in my life…It was always kind of a part of what he did. Every time we would go to the store, for example, somebody would be like ‘oh you’re such a snazzy young man,’ so I guess I kind of thought ‘oh, that’s such a cool thing for him to be doing.’” Alexander mentions that no singular memory of their older brother stands out in particular, rather, it is the small moments that Alexander cherishes. They state, “We spend a lot of time together, so I guess it’s not necessarily the larger memories but just smaller memories of, you know, just sitting at a playground on the swings and just talking together, or just watching shows together.” When their older brother leaves for college next year, Alexander mentions that they will most miss these cherished moments, as well as “sharing a space with him regularly” and “having him drive me everywhere.”

Alexander pauses to point out the bow tie he’s currently wearing, noting, “This is probably my favorite one that I own.” This particular tie is navy with a green paisley pattern. Alexander purchased it for last year’s Prom before realizing that the navy blue clashed with his suit. Alexander makes sure to carefully choose his bowties and outfits so that they work well together. Another notable part of his collection is the wooden statue in the shape of a bowtie that Alexander got in Iceland. Alexander comments, “It’s so cool.” 

When deciding which bow tie to select from his collection in the morning, it’s “usually it’s just vibes” that help Alexander  to pick one out. Sometimes he selects a tie based on what matches his outfit for the day, and other days he has a specific bow tie in mind that will determine what he wears. 

There’s rarely a day when Alexander doesn’t wear a bow tie. On the rare occasion that he’s seen without one, he explains that this is because, “I wake up, I’m not feeling well, and I just completely forget, but usually I realize pretty quickly.” 

Bow ties are such an integral part of Alexander’s everyday life that he even makes sure to keep an emergency tie with him in case he forgets to put one on in the morning. As a last resort, “Sometimes I’ll make one out of paper,” he states. By not wearing one he feels untrue to himself, “I think it’s just that it’s become so much like a part of me that not having [a bow tie] sort of feels like I’m covering myself up a little bit. But, when I do have it I’m fully expressing myself which feels good.”

Alexander receives many comments from classmates and teachers about his longtime accessory. He welcomes these comments, noting that, “I think [the bow tie] is the most distinguishing feature about me.” Alexander’s good friend of 10 years, Truman Morsman ‘23, believes that Alexander’s bowties are a reflection of his personality, saying, “He’s very resolute in the things he wants to do. He is very sure of himself in a lot of ways, and I would say I admire him for that. He’s not easy to sway on his opinions, and will argue for the things he believes in.” Mormsan also mentions that Alexander “marches to the beat of his own drum.” Morsman recalls a fond memory of Alexander from last summer, describing, “We came into ownership of an airplane water raft, one of the things that [is used] if the plane crashes into the ocean. We had a lot of fun with that, just inflating it and stuff like that.” The memory is reflective of the pair’s adventurous spirits. 

Alexander’s bow ties are an extension of his personality, and allow him to stay true to himself. He says, “For one, it’s just sort of this extra, expressive thing. You know not a lot of people do this and it sort of gives me a way to stand out. It also makes me a lot more confident and all of that, just to be wearing it and to be sort of consistent in expressing myself.” Similarly, Mormsan sees Alexander’s bow ties as a part of who he is, noting, “I think the bowtie is a little bit of a unique thing that he does and it describes his personality well.” Alexander’s journey with his ties helped to define who he is as a person and express himself as a unique individual. Alexander plans to continue wearing bow ties throughout college, and for the rest of his life.