ADDITIONS SERIES 1993
Add: [III.] [7.] b. dicky bow, a bow-tie.
1977 Sounds 9 July 34/4 He’s even in a dickie bow and tuxedo, for Chrissakes! 1979 Observer 28 Jan. 9/2 The odds, however, would be completely revised if, as rumoured, Robin Day takes off his dickey-bow and leaps into the fray. 1987 New Musical Express 9 May 21/3 The other thing about bouncers is that, because they’ve got dickie bows and the suits..you think they’re even meaner.
I was rather surprised to find no earlier cites than 1977 for this. I associate the phrase with the 20s, 30s, at least the 50s. Of course, it may well be that they just haven’t come up with earlier instances yet, but could I perhaps be mistaken and the phrase did in fact originate in the 60s/70s? (It wouldn’t be the first time I’d projected a later word back into my memories of the 50s).
Also, is this a peculiarly British phrase?