The remarkable history of the necktie

The remarkable history of the necktie

Fashions come and go, but like so much of men’s clothing today, the roots of the tie can be traced back to the early days of history. As far back as 210 BC, in fact. This little known historical fact wasn’t found out until 1974, however, when the Terracotta Army was discovered, and each solder had a neckcloth believed to be a badge of honour.

Much like the shirt, it’s the medieval ages we have to thank for the evolution of the tie

During the mid-1400s, the French Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV employed Croation mercenaries to fight during the Thirty Year’s War. Part of their uniform was a distinctive knotted scarf that came to be known as ‘Cravates”.

Rather than being restricted to soldiers, the cravat quickly spread across France as a fashion item. This was partly due to the impracticality of ruffles that were uncomfortable to wear but also only available in a “starched white”, whereas the cravat could be dyed in any colour.

It was the Regency era when the necktie really became a fashion item

The early 1800s and the necktie is popular in England and much of Europe thanks to a close friend of the Prince Regent, Beau Brummel, notoriously known for being a dandy and icon for male fashion. Rather bizarrely, young men would gather at his Mayfair home to watch him tie his necktie each morning! Unlike today, this was a rather intricate process that took as long as 2 hours to complete.

In fact, Brummel became so well known for the art of tying a tie that he released an essay on the subject “Neckclothitania” in 1818.

It was the Industrial Revolution that shaped the tie into what we know and love today

In the late 19th century, the Industrial Revolution bought machines to countries around the world, heralding the need for a shorter tie that couldn’t get trapped and strangle the wearer. This is where the bow tie came into being and became a popular choice among the working classes when previously they had been the preserve of the rich.

Primarily this was because rather than having shorter ties, men were having to use pins and clips to keep the tie at the right length. Being expensive to replace for many men, a New York tie maker known as Jesse Langsdorf invented a new method of sewing the tie in three sections. While this might not seem a big deal, it meant that his ties laid flatter against the chest, were much easier to tie into a knot and was able to maintain its shape over time.

And that is how we have arrived at the necktie we buy and wear today. To peruse our selection of ties click here before you leave.

Photo by Dom J from Pexels

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