The History: The necktie, or variations of it has existed for centuries, Chinese and Roman art depict men wearing fabric that resemble the contemporary version of the necktie. In ancient Egypt a piece of fabric tied around the shoulders represented social status. The fashion of wearing fabric around the neck has been linked right back to soldiers buried with the Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti in 210 BC so ties are certainly nothing new.
The appearance of the more recognisable neckties can be traced to the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) when Croatian mercenaries from the Military Frontier and French service wore small, knotted neckerchiefs, this inspired a fashion craze throughout Europe and the neckwear was called a cravat. The name, "cravat" derives from a combination of the Croatian word for Croat, "Hrvati," and the French word, "Croates."
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, lace was a popular material for cravats. Both men and women wore lace cravats. By this time there was much debate over the proper way to tie a cravat. This sparked the publication of Neckclothitania, which instructed the reader on how to tie fourteen different cravats. It is also the first known usage of the word, "tie," in association with neckwear.
Early in the nineteenth century George Bryan "Beau" Brummel rejected the eighteenth century frills in favor of a more tailored look. His "British look" of wearing a dark blue coat, buff-colored pantaloons and waistcoat and a clean, white neck cloth set the standard for the contemporary dark business suit, white shirt and tie.
However it was after the First World War that ties became increasingly popular as a way to display membership. Accordingly in Britain, Regimental stripes began to take prominence in the 1920’s.
The English have been using stripes in their ties since the 1920s. On a typical English tie, the stripes ran from the left shoulder toward the right side. In the United States, Brooks Brothers had their stripes going in the opposite direction. Although there are occasional British exceptions such as The Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Wellington College which all run the same way as the U.S. stripes, generally this rule holds true.
In 1926, a New York tie maker, Jesse Langsdorf invented the tie we know today. His technique of cutting three strips of fabric on the bias and sewing them together made it easier to tie and for the fabric to not come undone.
The length and width of ties
It is sometimes possible to guess the historical era of a tie by the width -widths increased to around 4.5 inches after the second world war. In the 1950’s ties became thinner and widths slimmed down to around 3 inches and continued slimming until the 60’s where thin ties became the norm – the thinnest width was around 1 inch. At the start of the 21st century, ties widened to 3.5 inches wide again and this remains the standard width today.
Before World War II ties were worn shorter than they are today; partially because trouser waists were higher and because three-piece suits were a key trend, and having the tie stick out below the vest would be considered a major faux pas.
Design of ties: Since the 1920’s the tie has undergone variations of designs.
1940s :Bright, hand-painted designs became popular and continued to be so
1950s: When their designs became more subdued.
1960s: Dark, solid ties as narrow as one inch were in vogue. The 1960s also brought about an influx of pop art influenced designs partially inspired by the huge amount of pop art based advertising in the States. It became common to see more fun and exuberance of the styles.
1970s: Marked the raise of the Paisley tie – possibly as a reaction to the more garish designs and it became fashionable and indeed common to see various different paisley ties on men
At the moment the traditional striped tie is enjoying a major renaissance. Certainly trends come and go, and colours have become brighter and bolder but the appeal of stripes seems timeless. A well-made silk tie has never gone out of style.
10 Things You Didn't Know About Men's Ties!
2) Marv Beloff invented the wooden bow tie in 1993. He sells nine basic homemade styles and insists that the only things you have to worry about when you wear them are "termites and fires."
3) The stripes on British ties usually run from top left to bottom right while the stripes on American ties run from top right to bottom left.
4) 300 years ago the English developed neckwear so thick that they could stop a sword thrust.
5) At one point in history, merely touching a man's tie knot was cause for a duel.
6) The world’s most expensive tie was worth approximately £162,030.46 (or $250,000) Created by designer Satya Paul for a 2004 Mumbai fashion show this extravagant tie was made of pure silk and studded with 261 diamonds.
7) A good quality silk tie will require approximately 110 silkworm cocoons.
8) Around the world, the tie is still the most popular Father’s Day gift closely followed by socks.
9) It is possible to buy a bulletproof tie that will stop a 9mm bullet.
10) A person who collects ties is called a Grabatologist.