In the fashion world we have been coming to bows as a trimming treat to dresses and hairstyles throughout history.

In fact bows have always been quite fanciful finery. In well-loved fairytales the heroines such as Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland would often be seen with a dainty bow in their hair. They are girly-twirly as well as flouncy and fun.

Bows however, well, bow to the occasion, they add a flourish to hair or dresses whatever your age. Certainly don’t rule them out for being too young or silly; at a theatre awards ceremony in London recently, Helen Mirren gave her pale pink bolero a feminine lift with a large bow. It looked more evening elegance than schoolgirl innocence and shows that there is a bow to suit everyone’s wedding outfit.

Bows, which are actually defined as decorative knots with two loops and two loose ends, have been adorning outfits for centuries. The Victorians were big fans of bows as their dresses were large, flouncy and were oozing with ornaments, including fabric bows. In between the ruches and ruffles, puffs and petticoats of the late 19th century you would find bows perched prettily among the fountain of frothy fabric. In the 1940s, bows worn in a woman’s hair would give preying males a head start on her dating status. Worn on the right, a woman was madly in love, worn on the left, she was going steady, worn on the top, however, was the green light, as she was looking for a man. However worn at the back of the head, forget it, the girl was not interested.

Nowadays designers have prised them away from the perhaps over-the-top look of the Victorians where they were lost in layers. Among the collections at Compton House, you will find them used as a simple, decorative detail in many wedding outfits.

If you want to start with a discreet bow look at the wedding outfits at John Charles for inspiration. The smaller-scale ties just add a finishing touch to tops without being too much.

The gentlest dove-grey silk and lace dress at Presen is finished off perfectly with a bow. Like the perfectly poised cherry on a cake, it enhances rather than detracts from the finished sheen of a wedding outfit.

There is also a perky bow perched on the side of a tiered silk dress at Presen, but, today, bows worn on the side of dresses won’t say much to the modern man about anything, let alone love, so proceed with confidence.

Bows have really got wedding outfits tied up at Ispirato. One special occasion dress is finished off with a lovely, layered bow, which makes a style statement, without shouting too loud!

There are similar bows wrapping around wedding outfits at Mireia, where the colours are sharper but, with the softening effect of the bow, makes a great look at any special occasion.

And for a truly dramatic decoration, take a look at the backless dresses at Linea Raffaelli, where one truly sumptuous fuchsia pink gown really takes a bow and perches it at the neck. Unbeatable style and elegance for weddings or an evening ball.

Or to really get ahead of the bow trend, why not have it nestling snugly on top of your outfits hat? Have a look at The Hat Studio at Compton House for some ideas. As mentioned previously, the modern man will be immune to the historical charm of a love message contained in the positioning of a bountiful bow, so relax in the knowledge that once again you know more than him. Bow essential, man optional.

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