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Joan Crawford With Her 'bow knot' garter

This is a rare 1926 photo of famous Hollywood actress Joan Crawford, wearing a bow tie as a garter!

The caption reads:

”Tying Dame Fashion Into A Bow Knot

The famous ”jazz bow” tie may not be exactly what the well dressed man wears, but the well dressed girl will find it both useful and novel as a garter. Joan Crawford, beautiful Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer star, has introduced this new fad into Hollywood”

From the top of her head to the tips of her shoes, she ouzes MGM glamour…Joan is wearing an elegant lightweight crepe blouse and skirt with a fabulous cloche hat!

The snug fitting cloche is designed to frame her face, the brim coming to the eyebrows, accentuating her eyes. The crown of the hat has triangular points, echoed in the collar of the blouse and also has a brooch pinned to the front. The crepe blouse has lovely deep double layer collar, the under-layer a shimmering silk, the top layer of crepe embroidered with flowers. The sleeves are also unusual, with a snug long sleeve and a kimono style over sleeve. The kimono sleeve edge is embroidered with flowers and trimmed with the silk.

Her tie back skirt, has the wrap edge embellished with the silk and flower embroidery and a beautiful curved hem, which she cheekily lifts to give you a peek at the mans bow tie she’s wearing just below her left knee. To wear a mans item of clothing would have been considered slightly shocking… Note that she’s only wearing one ‘garter’ and she’s wearing long stockings, so the bow tie garter is purely for show… it would barely be covered by her skirt and this would be a saucy publicity photo…

Promotion text about Joan Crawford's garter

”A dinner-jacket used to be the sign of extreme informality in the evening. A man might put it on for dinner at home and change it for a dress-coat if he went to the opera or a dance afterward.  Now it has become so usual an evening garment that, except on most ceremonious occasions, most young men wear it habitually.” 

 From Vogue’s Book of Etiquette (1925)

From the caption on the photo and the snippet from ‘Vogue’s Book of Etiquette’, it would seem that bow ties weren’t considered particularly respectable for a well dressed man, so in the ‘shocking’ flapper era, a woman, wearing one as a garter would be positively risque!

Thank you to the Grapefruit Moon Gallery and Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer for this fabulous photo. “This vintage art deco photograph is in fine condition, an unusual early view and piece of jazz baby Hollywood history.” You can view more from the Grapefruit Moon Gallery here.