The History of the Necktie

The regular tie that men fondly wear has a long and rich history. Even though the necktie has been continuously been redefined throughout, it’s anything but new in fashion. History shows how it evolved as an accessory that men tie around their neck. Many were considered as ancestors of our modern tie. A good example is the neckwear typically worn by men in Roman art which is dated back from the time of the Roman Empire. Also in old times, resembling accessories indicate social status other than fashion statement. In ancient Egypt, the elite were known to hang a cloth from their neck down the shoulders.

The necktie has not been popularized in Europe until the 1700s if not for the neckwear of Croatian soldiers noted by King Louis the 14th. Many believe the word “necktie” itself was derived from the French word “Cravatte”. It has been widely accepted since then.

Necktie and the wearing thereof was first documented and described by Honore de Balzac in his work called “The Art to Bear a Necktie” in 1987 where the principles of wearing neckties lie. In the succeeding years following that, men began wearing ties all over Europe. However in 1900s there was no standard shape or size yet as we know now. And the tie then was worn according to different native traditions and custom. That means different men from different countries wore their necktie differently from each other. Obviously, it suggested nationality as each country had its own variation of design and tying of necktie.

During these times, the design, shape, and tying style of a tie suggest social status, advocacy, and individuality of the bearer. It was also common to see ties bearing national symbols according to country of origin. Tying styles suggest some themes like diplomacy and loyalty. They look very much like the modern day novelty ties we have today.

In the 19th century, the tie has quite evolved and adapted a simpler shape. Even the tying of the tie became universal; it was executed the same as it was done today. Initially, it was worn on black canvass, where ties then had color stripes like white, red, blue, green, and yellow. The black canvass was replaced by other colors after World War I.

In 1924, the modern shape of our necktie took shape and was patented by Jessie Langsdorf. He innovated and standardized the material for neckties and the design how it was cut and sewn up. It was then distributed worldwide.

Not long after that when the image of necktie has evolved again in the early 20th century – the time when women started wearing ties. Hence, ties became accessories too by modern women.

Some changes also occurred after World War II. For example, artificial silk as fabric for ties was introduced. Feminism of ties became more prominent. The designs became bolder and trends soon came in the 70s up to present. Tie design usually patterns the social trends of the present time. Printing techniques have constantly been improved, making way for novelty ties.