The short, and not antagonistic, answer is ‘why not?’. These days anyone wearing a neck tie is asked ‘Why wear a tie?’. Again, not to be antagonistic or grumpy, someone once said that a man should never have to apologize for wearing a tie. Specifically, you choose a bow tie if you want to be in the category of men who know they don’t have to wear a tie, but want to anyway, and want to be doubly unconventional.
What statement does it make, and how does it alter an ensemble?
Most people who rarely or never choose a bow tie say, “I just don’t think I’m the type of guy who can pull it off.” The funny thing is, I’ve never heard anyone say, about a man with a bow tie on, “Some people can pull it off, but he can’t.” I think putting on a bow tie demonstrates a playful, defiant sort of confidence—if it’s worn both playfully and confidently.
A bow tie alters an ensemble by making it say “I’m here.” It seems to draw attention to the face–something about the amount of shirt that shows from the top button of the jacket to the bow tie knot. A neck tie says that an ensemble is complete (assuming you have a pocket square); a bow tie says an ensemble is has been put together by a person who is now in the room.
Who are bow ties for? What does it take to pull off the look?
It simply takes playfulness, confidence, and defiance of convention. There’s no “bow tie type”; there are only men who wear bow ties.
What should someone take into account when incorporating bow ties into their wardrobe? Does it change the style of shirt, cut of jacket, etc. to incorporate them properly?
Don’t overlook the blue blazer. Make sure it fits well, and that it’s on the tight side of the fit. The last thing you want is to look frumpy with a bow tie. The bow tie is unconventional enough. Use the conventional-ness of the blue blazer (and the khakis and gray worsted trousers and the solid white and blue oxford) to frame the bow tie. It will keep you from looking like a clown.
Finally, I think young people ought to give serious consideration to the notion that a bow tie and a pair of jeans aren’t enemies.