Ever wondered how it is that wrapping a piece of colored fabric around your neck came to be a normal part of getting dressed for guys? And why the necktie is seen as the essential element in being smartly dressed? If you’ve ever questioned how the tie got its fashion staple-status, then here’s the answer you’ve been looking for.
While you might naturally assume that ties started out life in one of the fashion capitals of Europe such as Paris or Milan, you’d actually be half-a-continent wide of the mark. But to be fair to you, it’s highly unlikely you’d ever guess the real story. The tie was in fact invented as a way for the wives of Croatian soldiers to identify them on the battlefield. In much the same way as jockeys wear brightly colored riding hats these days to distinguish them during horse races, so Croatian soldiers gave the same helping hand to their loved ones during their fights. Although why you’d want to watch your husband in battle is a question for another day.
When a group of Croatian mercenaries were employed by Louis XIII during the Thirty Years War, he liked the look of them so much that he insisted that everyone should start wearing them. And the world of fashion never looked back.
In fact, the word ‘cravat’ is a throwback to the Croatian word for necktie.
The Evolution of the Necktie
After their introduction, for the next 250 years or so, they didn’t really change, which is pretty surprising for a fashion accessory that could easily be played around with. However, the beginning of the 1900s saw the start of the evolution of the tie.
In the early 1900s, bow ties became very fashionable as an evening wear accessory. At the same time, the Ascot tie became common, and was used for formal wear during the day. However, by the end of the 1920s, bow ties and Ascots had become less popular and the tie as we know it today became de rigueur.
Over the next century, the tie evolved into what we now wear. There are some interesting reasons why neckties changed. Skinny ties, for example, came about because of a shortage of material during the Second World War.
However, there seems absolutely no rhyme or reason for the kipper tie of the 80s.
For a full range of ties (but no kipper ties), take a look at ties.co.uk.
Why Do We Continue to Wear Neckties?
We continue to wear ties as a way of making ourselves smarter, more professional, and as a way of gaining respect, as well as showing it. People who wouldn’t dream of wearing a tie at any other time of the year will don one for a wedding or a funeral as a mark of respect.
Why a simple tie should have this effect seems a mystery, but the fact of the matter is, it does. And it doesn’t look like a fact that is likely to change any time soon, which in the world of fast fashion, is something of a miracle. So choose your ties well because a quality one could last you a lifetime.