The Scoop: What’s a thoughtful gift you’ve received or a cherished item you own? Whatever it is, chances are it’s decorated with an inside joke, a special memory, or a happy place. Bowtie.com is a one-stop eCommerce shop where you can choose from totally unique bow ties, neckties, and suspenders. They are handcrafted in Maine by 30-year sewing veteran Lisa Eaton, who makes each and every one to order. Whether you’re checking out the Flight of Swallows bow tie or want something totally custom, Bowtie.com can serve as a thoughtful gift or as a memorable accent to your wedding.
Don’t laugh at me, but when my then-fiancé was getting fitted for his tux, the tailor looked at me and asked, “What color do you want for the bow tie?” I didn’t know what to say. Until then, I just thought he would match the groomsmen’s ties.
In the moments he waited for my answer, I scanned my brain for a piece of information — maybe someone, at some point, had told me the proper etiquette for tie colors. But I’m the oldest sibling, the first to get married in the friend group, and unfortunately, without a maternal figure close by to handle these intricate details.
But the tailor had it handled. With one swift motion, he asked to see a picture of my dress and went into the back room, which I imagined to be full of thousands of black, gray, and navy suits with silky ties stacked neatly and suspender clips by the handful in buckets along the wall. There was relief when he came back with a silk rose tie in his hands. “This,” he said, “will be perfect.”
Although our tailor was a lovely gentleman who offered a personalized experience, part of me wishes I knew about Bowtie.com. Bowtie.com is a made-to-order bow tie, necktie, and suspenders online shop owned and operated by Lisa Eaton. You can choose from dozens of pages of patterns and colors or work with Lisa to develop your own design.
Bowtie.com will turn 30 years old in 2024 and has been celebrated in several well-known publications, including Newsweek, The Boston Globe, Maine Magazine, and the Portland Press Herald.
Bowtie.com Crafts Stories in Fabric
Before Lisa launched Bowtie.com, she was a home economics teacher in the 1980s and ‘90s. But as she explained, teacher pay wasn’t all that great, so she was in search of extra income. It didn’t take long for Lisa to crack the code of bow tie-making.
Fortunately, Lisa’s stepson recommended purchasing the URL Bowtie.com in the mid-90s. It was a time when the internet hadn’t quite hit everyone’s radar, so domain names were easy to come across.
“I didn’t think I needed one, and the URL was $35 anyway,” Lisa recalled. “But he talked me into it, and I bought it.” Thank goodness Lisa listened because, in 2024, a URL like Bowtie.com could go for thousands of dollars.
One of the first bow ties Lisa made was of a pride flag, which, when tied, seamlessly displayed across the two bows. Over the past 30 years, Lisa’s perfected numerous flag bow ties, including state flags and country flags.
“I’ve done so many flags but have had so many requests to do a Texas flag because Texas loves their flag,” Lisa laughed. “I said I can do anything; I just have to figure it out.”
Take the 35mm Camera Photographer bow tie, for example. Lisa recalled hearing the Simon & Garfunkel song “America,” which had a line that said, “She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy. I said, ‘Be careful, his bow tie is really a camera.’”
“I knew I had to try it,” Lisa said. “And then once I did that, I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can do anything.’”
There are so many fun bow ties on Bowtie.com — with a few of my favorites being:
- Flight of Swallows Bow Tie
- Fire Ferns Bowtie
- Chiropractic Skeleton Orthopedic Doctor Silk Bow Tie
- TEACH PEACE/All Kinds of Peace Silk Bow Tie
- Textured Sage Bow Tie
But Lisa’s knack for turning personal narratives into tangible, wearable art makes her creations more than just accessories — they become a part of someone’s history.
Something Perfect for Weddings or Thoughtful Gifts
Had I had Bowtie.com for my wedding, we may have chosen something quirky, like a picture of our cats. Or perhaps something that matched the theme but with a little more flair than the tailor’s selection.
Or maybe something else, like a landscape photo of New York’s Catskill Mountains, a place where we frequently go on weekend trips. A couple went for a similar personalized touch, with the groom donning a bow tie adorned with a map of custom coordinates.
“I was vending at a craft fair, and this young woman told me she was getting married at her family camp in Maine. She wanted the location onto the bow tie so when it’s face up, he can recognize it,” Lisa recalled.
The wedding — and the bow tie — are featured in the Maine Magazine 2013 wedding issue.
Lisa’s items are made to order, so making a custom piece or using a fabric you want is just as easy as selecting from all of the designs offered on the Bowtie.com store. She playfully advised that her only suggestion is not to wait until the last minute to avoid rush and expedited shipping fees.
But unique, handmade, customized ties can go even further than the most important day of your life: You can also go the gift route.
When you think of what gift you should get someone, a bow tie may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But if you’re the type who prefers something with meaning, then maybe bow ties should be at the top of your list.
“It always seems to be between something like a $300 lamp or $2 bookmark,” Lisa mused on her website, remarking how shopping for men’s gifts always seemed to lack in the craft area.
(This couldn’t be more true when men’s gift ideas on Amazon are between cologne, power tools, and clippers.)
A Little Beyond the Bow Ties
In addition to custom bow ties, Lisa makes neckties and suspenders. If you’re in the market for both, you’re in luck because Lisa also makes matching sets of suspenders and a tie of your choice.
“I also make clip-on bow ties, which are helpful for people with arthritic hands or don’t want something so snugly fit around their necks,” said Lisa. “Clip-ons are also really popular for weddings because grooms are usually nervous enough, and usually, they don’t want to learn something new that might seem difficult at first glance.”
As a cherry on top, Bowtie.com provides a handy bow tie-tying PDF (printed in backward type) that you can pin to your shirt and follow in the mirror so you’ll always look your best. Or, if you prefer, you can follow the instructions without using a mirror. Lisa also offers a resource on how to best sew suspender buttons into pants.
Here’s everything you can find with Bowtie.com:
- Bow ties
- Flag bow ties
- Artibus originals
- Custom map neckwear and suspenders
- Gift certificates
I definitely recommend checking out Bowtie.com’s Artibus Originals collection. Lisa meticulously crafted each design using ecologically responsible inks and fabrics sourced from the US.
“I’m a one-person business, so you will get my full attention,” Lisa said. “I really enjoy my customers. Sometimes, I design with them, and I’ll have Photoshop up so we can design together. That way, they have a lot of input.”
Whether it’s a map of where you first met the love of your life or a matching set of suspenders and bow ties, Bowtie.com crafts more than just accessories. Order something special from Bowtie.com today.