The Pussy Bow & The CEO

Posted on June 18 2016

Oxford shirts, dickeys, pants, brogues ... and the pussy bow. These basic staples of the modern working woman's wardrobe were once the domain of menswear – only.

The pussy bow may have started as a response to menswear, but over the years women have made it ALLLL our own. Below: (left) Lady Gaga walks the runway at Marc Jacobs; (top center) DIY pussy bow on Man Repeller, inspired from the Gucci runway; (right) Le Cou Olympia bow in Midnight; (bottom, center) Vogue's look at ways to wear the pussy bow. 

Man Repeller, Lady Gaga, Marc Jacobs, Vogue, Pussy Bow, Le Cou

Menswear inspired pieces have made their way into women's fashion for over a century now, but the 1970s and 1980s were especially notable for menswear-as-womenswear looks for professional women. "We used to dress in suits, with a skirt and a jacket, with button down shirts and a bow tie. That was sort of our interpretation of the man's tie. I look back at those pictures today, and I think 'What were we thinking?!' – but it was our attempt to be feminine, but to fit into what was then a male world," says Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlitt-Packard, in the documentary on the history of modern feminism, Makers: Women Who Make America.

In the 1980s, Whitman was in good company as far as pussy bows go.. like Linda Alvarado, badass entrepreneur (not to mention co-owner of a baseball team), or Senator Elizabeth Warren owning the room, and a pussy bow, in 1986. For more inspiration about glass-ceiling-breaking women, check out the documentary.  

Pussybow Trifecta, from left to right: Meg Whitman, Linda Alvarado, Elizabeth Warren

Women leaders, feminism, Elizabeth Warren, Linda Alvarado, Meg Whitman, Pussy Bow, Le Cou, Olympia

And what about the name? In this piece on the pussy bow, Jezebel writer Tracie Egan Morrissey sums up her take on the less-than-conventional garment name: "Since pussy bows were invented to be a sort of 'girlie tie' it would appear that the name actually refers to the euphemism for female genitalia. Frankly, I think that makes it more awesome." 

Nowadays, do we wear ties because men wear ties? Nope! Personally, I love a good lady bowtie because THIS:

Check out our Know Your Bows video tutorials for tying the perfect pussy bow. Pictured below: Le Cou Olympia in Black & Cream Gingham. 

Fashion tutorial, Olympia dickey, Le Cou, pussy bow, video

Looking for a pre-tied bow option instead? We've got you covered. Check out or Anika Bow – surely Senator Warren would love this update, right?

Le Cou, Anika, Bow, Bowtie, accessory, neckwear, pussy bow, Elizabeth Warren

Le Cou Know Your Bows video credits: Photography: Jacob Hinmon at Four + One Photography / Model: Skye Welten / Hair and Makeup: Jodi Vaughn

(Le Cou photo credits from collage above: Photographer Evie McShane / Stylist Pauline Kim / Makeup Monica Ninh / Model Melonie Mitchell)


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