Necktie is most important piece in formal dressing. The definition of neck tie is a narrow and lengthy fabric band hanging loosely from the neck worn by men under the collar and tied around the neck.
The necktie is mostly made out of cloth materials like silk, polyester, cotton, wool, and linen. The main purpose of wearing a necktie is to hide the button on the shirt. There are variant forms of ties like cravats, bows, butterflies, bandannas, bolos or bootlaces, jabots, ascots, anti-tie or turtleneck tie, and designer ties.
History of Ties
Though the tie because very famous in the 20th Century, the paintings and status of Egypt and China shows men wearing a rectangular neckwear. The famous terracotta statues of army made in 210 B.C. during the reign of China's first emperor, Shih Huang Ti, have neckwear tied around them. In 106 B.C. necktie was cloth worn around the neck and knotted like bandannas by Roman Military.
Necktie was seen in European country the first time during the reign the French King Louis XIV. The king noticed the colorful silk neckties worn by the Croatian army. The necktie known as 'Cravat' made of lace, muslin, or silk, trimmed with embroidery was favored by the king. It is believed that the word 'Croat' could be mispronounced as the French word 'cravat.' Cotton cravats were worn by poor people. The cravat spread to England in 1660 with the return of King Charles II to England after a nine years exile. Lace was commonly used by both men and women. The materials used for neckties by the people besides lace were plaid scarves, ribbon, embroidered linen, and ordinary cotton. The soldiers used to wear thick neckwear to protect their neck from the swords.
During the 17th Century Bandannas, a piece of cloth worn around neck, was commonly used in India. British who came for trade started importing bandannas. The colors were vivid including hot colors like red, orange, and yellow and cool colors like blue, green, white, black, and pink. There bandanas had motifs of flower and birds.
In 19th Century, George Bryan “Beau” Brummell, a young prizefighter believed that a man should be dressed in simple perfect way and did not prefer frills. He wore a blue silk bandana covered with white spots. The simplicity of the dress with the neckwear became popular among English working class. The British sailors wore white and blue uniform with silk or cotton bandanna or scarf. Bandanna was famous in America too. The cowboys used to wear red or blue bandanna to protect their face from dust.
The first school tie was worn by students belonging to a rowing club at Exeter College, Oxford University. They ordered ties that matched with the colors of their hatbands. In 1850s, for the first time four-in-hand necktie was used. These types of ties had enormous appeal among the middle class. In 1880s, the British military decide to stop using vivid colors and adopt more restrained color. The ties was used by Artists’ Rifles had stripes with black, gray and red color.
In 1924, Jessie Langsdorf designed a cloth of neckties cut on 45 degrees bias and divided the necktie in three separate parts, sewn together. The tie falls evenly from the knot without twisting. This was patented and sold all over the world. This made the stripes on the tie appear diagonal.
The French, who used wear lace cravat in 17th Century, started wearing bow ties. The white bow tie was considered formal, whereas other colors were worn in different occasions.
Pierre Lorillard V invented tuxedo as an alternative formal wear for the tailcoats with white bow ties. The bow ties were not used by the business men as they were complicated to tie.
A Tie Singing Dixie
The Irish immigrant to America wore green or red bow ties. In America, however, because of hot climate, people stopped using materials like lace and silk scarves. The plantation tie worn by the plantation owners were wide ribbon tied in bows. The portrait of Mark Twain has his picture with a plantation tie.
The ascot tie is a narrow patterned neckband with wide wings made of pale gray silk. The wings were held firmly with a pin. The neckwear got its name from Royal Ascot race meeting at Ascot Racecourse. It was earlier worn by upper class European in 1880s as a formal wear. Ascot was also popular in United States.
Bola Ties or Bootlace Ties
The bola ties or bolo necktie is a piece of cord worn around the neck and clasped together with an ornamental piece. In European countries, it is known as “Bootlace ties.” The first bola tie was worn by Vic Cedarstaff in Arizona and patented it. It became official neckwear in Arizona in 1971. The bootlace ties became popular in 1950s with Teddy Boys who wore them with drape suits.
Turtleneck Tie or the Anti-Tie
The turtleneck tie or the anti-tie was worn by British writer Noel Coward in 1920s. This set a new trend. The French wore black turtlenecks in 1950s.
The famous poet, Lord Byron did not like to wear neck cloth. There were different types of ties named after him. In 1820s, the Byron was a big floppy bow in black or white. In 1840s, this changed to string or narrow ribbon which changed to large readymade bow in 1860s.
In 1920s, a Paris fashion designer, Jean Patou, designed a designer ties became famous with women. The tie was designed drawing inspiration from art movements like Cubism and Art Deco. The designer ties became very popular in 1960s.
Different types of Knots
There are many different ways to wear a tie. The style in which a tie is worn is called knots. The knots include four-in-hand knot, Pratt knot also know as Shelby knot, half-Windsor knot, and Windsor knot.