But when he decides to go the regular tie route, Black contends he’s often met with bewilderment by friends and colleagues: “When I’m not in a bow tie, they say, ‘Where’s the bow tie?’ So it’s almost as if I’m out of uniform.”

Indeed, even a woman who answered the phone in the Office of the Senate Chaplain sounded surprised when ITK mentioned the lack of Black’s trademark accessory. “Oh he wasn’t?” she said before exclaiming, “Oh yeah, he was wearing a tie!”

While Black, 64, has made headlines over the last week for injecting his opening prayer with calls for lawmakers to find a solution to end the government shutdown, he tells us his fashion choice had nothing to do with current events: “I do sometimes wear regular ties instead of bow ties so it was just a matter of doing it with no real intentionality or anything.”

Estimating he owns an equal number of “at least” 50 bow ties and ties, lovers of Black’s bow tied style will likely soon be breathing a sigh of relief.

“Probably by [Wednesday], the bow tie will be back,” he says.

— Ramsey Cox contributed.

Photo: Courtesy of C-SPAN