Alright Gentlemen, time for a history lesson. Now if you’re like me, you enjoy history about as much as you enjoy the feeling of texting that girl you met a few days ago and having some 25-year-old dude reply, “sorry man, she gave you the wrong number.” Been there. However, it’s always good to be educated on why human beings do what we do, and today we are going to focus on the history of neck ties and why the heck we wear them. Time to get cultured.
Origin of Neckwear: Most researchers believe that the people started wearing neckties during the reign of King Louis XIII. He hired mercenaries during the Thirty Years War and they wore pieces of cloth around their necks to hold the tops of their jackets together. The king liked the look of this functional clothing item and made them mandatory to be worn at every Royal Gathering. He gave this the name “La Cravate” and once the king started wearing it, it spread to the rest of Europe.
1900-1909: The cravat tie that was big in the 17th century went through minimal amounts of change. What evolved was how the tie was tied. The Four-in-Hand knot became the most common knot for these cravats. This is still one of the most popular tie knots today. Other neckwear was introduced during this time like the bow tie and the ascot, as seen in the iconic outfit worn by Fred from Scooby Doo (bottom).
1910-1920s: In this decade, we saw a decline in the formal neckwear, and people searching for something that was more comfortable, more functional, and better fitting. These became the ties we typically think of and wear today. In 1926, Jesse Langsdorf revolutionized the necktie as we knew it. He formulated a new way of making the material that allowed a tie to spring back to its original form after each use. This caused the creation of many new tie knots. These new options became the reason that neckties were the more prominent choice in neckwear, reserving bow ties for more formal events.
1920s-Present: The necktie finally found its basic shape and form and went on through a series of modifications. Ties used to be very wide (as wide as 4.5 inches) and displayed bold patterns and colors (during the Art Deco movement). Men also wore their ties a lot shorter because they wore their trousers at the natural waist, having their tie end around the belly button. All you hipsters and thin people can thank the 1950s for inventing the skinny tie, used to complement the form-fitting clothes of that time period. The 1960s were oppositem, bringing forth ties that were as wide as 6 inches, known as a “Kipper Tie” and we are more than OK with that trend dying (2nd picture). The 1970s introduced the Bolo Tie that is commonly seen in the West (3rd picture), while Paisley and floral prints (4th picture) were big in the 1990s and still are popular today. The 2000s brought back and embraced the skinny tie into one of the most fashionable pieces of neckwear currently in our closets (Last picture).
Kipper Tie…Whatever floats your boat gents.
Bolo Tie. Yeehaw.
There you have it gentlemen, that is why we wear ties. Now put this information to good use by doing the following: Head into a place of social gathering, possibly a cafeteria, dining hall, bar, lounge, etc. Find the most beautiful lady in the room and walk up with that confident, charismatic walk of yours, and introduce yourself, “Hi, I’m (blank) and I’d like to tell you about the history of this piece of cloth hanging around my neck.” I’d be shocked if you didn’t get her number…her real number.
On second thought, she will probably give you some random 25-year-old dude’s number, so tuck this information away into your “knowledge-to-bring-up-on-gameshows” center of your brain (it’s science). Thanks for reading and check out some of our other stuff! Remember, if you like it, share it!