The necktie is a peculiar article of clothing. After all, it’s not meant to keep us warm, dry or comfortable. However, neckties are worn every day by men all over the world. It makes one wonder: Who came up with the idea for men to wear neckties as a decorative accessory to formal outfits?
To help answer that question and celebrate National Tie Month this December, Tristar Products review the invention of the necktie.
The earliest form of neckties did serve a functional purpose but it didn’t take them long to be appreciated as decorative article of clothing. They were worn in the 17th century by Croatian mercenaries during the 30 year war in France. King Louis XIII hired these mercenaries who wore a piece of cloth around their neck as part of their uniform to keep the top of their jackets closed. However, King Louis took a liking to these as a fashion accessory and soon made neckties a mandatory piece of attire at Royal gatherings. The name King Louis gave this piece of clothing, La Cravate, is still the French word for necktie to this day.
But those early cravats have very little resemblance to modern neckties, which emerged in the 1920s. In the early 1900s, cravats, bowties and ascots were still common forms of neckwear, but in the second decade of the 20th century those types of formal fashion became less popular. Fashion as a whole became more casual with a stronger emphasis on comfort and functionality. This sort of shift helped shape cravats into the type of neckties we’re used to seeing today.
Neckties grew in popularity throughout the Art-Deco movement of the 1930s, and during this time the Windsor Knot was invented by the Duke of Windsor and became a common way to tie neckties.
The 1950s saw the emergence of the skinny tie and tie makers began to experiment with different tie-making materials. The wide necktie was back in the 1960s and it was heavily embraced by the disco movement in the 1970s.
Neckties have fluctuated between getting skinnier and wider throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, but today ties are available many types of widths, cuts and fabrics.
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