Here's Why Alton Brown Stopped Wearing Bow Ties

Alton Brown has become a star for preaching good decision-making in cooking, and it would seem he wants to do the same for men’s fashion by drawing a line in the sand: bow ties, he says, don’t look good on pudgy men.

On a recent Facebook Live session, Brown, who is gearing up for a return to cooking shows with a sequel to Good Eats, fielded some questions about his wardrobe, and why we’re not seeing as many bow ties on the celebrity chef and show host’s appearances.

“A lot of people have asked why I’m not wearing bow ties anymore,” he began, working toward a confession. “Okay, I put on weight. I used to be really skinny,” said Brown, “and skinny guys look great in bow ties.”

Brown, by his own admission, is not currently in that club. “Over the last few years, because of some things that happened in my life I put on about 15 pounds. I’ll get it off, and I’m going to write a book about it because I think a lot of us go up and down and up and down. Anyway, until I get the weight back off I’m going to stay away from bow ties because they tend to make pudgy people look even pudgier than they really are.”

As a fashion advisor, Brown has some chops. He’s always been obsessed with details with regards to cooking tools and practices, but that laser focus has also been on timepieces for decades.

Brown mentioned Bill Nye and Orville Redenbacher among examples of people who bow ties “work” for. And when you think about it, outside of a tuxedo, the most famous bow tie-clad men who don’t look as if they’re being strangled by their neckwear are of that build.

As with most things on the internet, the public comment devolved, with Brown politely declining requests to wear suspenders (“I will wear braces but only with evening wear, only with a tuxedo, because I don’t wear a cummerbund”) and “rock a viking beard” (“No”).

He was also blunt about how hard it is to keep weight off. “I’m in my fifties,” he said. “I’m not going to be shy about that. I’m 54 and it’s difficult to keep weight off.”

But there may be one other thing at work. “The other problem is that I refuse the idea of not having a bourbon every now and then, which is what I should give up. But then that would be boring, and I don’t want to give that up.”