When OutKast started making records back in the mid-’90s, André “3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton looked like ordinary dudes. “The budgets weren’t that big at the time,” Big Boi says today. “So a clean pair of socks, flip-flops and tracksuits was the attire.” As OutKast became legendary, their fashion sense grew more ambitious. The duo’s last great album, 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, featured a song called “Bowtie” that summed up the transformation: “Crocodile on my feet / Fox fur on my back / Bow tie ’round my neck / That’s why they call me the gangsta mack.” So when Paste decided to run a spread on bow ties, we knew who to call. “When you have on a bow tie, the bow tie commands respect,” Big Boi says. “And if you got a bow tie on, you gotta be a bad motherfucker to have a bow tie on. Especially if it’s not a clip-on and you tied it yourself.”
We asked Big Boi to pick a handful of his favorite bow ties, and explain why he likes them. After a while, we began to notice a theme.
In the gallery below, Big Boi shows us, step by step, how to tie a bow tie. He also explains four of his favorites.