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Neckwear

A History of Neckwear: Evolution of the Necktie

necktie

Throughout history, neckwear has been an important accessory to the style of each era. Today, the modern necktie has become a staple of the corporate environment. Although suits and ties have traditionally been worn by men, there has been a growing trend of women wearing suits as well. However, the tie has a long history, originating in the 17th century. Since then, it’s undergone multiple evolutions. For example, in the 18th century, you could get into a duel to the death for touching someone else’s necktie. Today, a wide range of fabrics and designs are available, including neckwear designed for all genders. So, let’s look at some of the types of tie currently available on the market and their origins.

dwimmer necktie

PARTS OF A NECKTIE

There are multiple parts that make up a high-quality necktie. For example, hemming separates the material used at the front of the tie from the fabric at the back. Another important section is the self-loop. This is the small loop of fabric through which you thread the end of the tie.

necktie-knot

TYPES OF NECKTIE KNOTS

There is a range of necktie knots you can use. However, the most popular type of necktie knot is the Half-Windsor knot. The more formal variation is the Full Windsor.  Often, the type of necktie knot you use depends on how formal the occasion will be. The knot will also depend on the type of tie you choose. For example, you tie a bowtie differently to a sailor’s tie.

BOWTIE

The bowtie was originally created in the 18th century. However, since then, it’s become more popular, now widely worn around the world. Many people prefer to wear this type of modern neckwear because of its simplicity. Bowties can be worn at many occasions, particularly formal events such as weddings and business dinners. Generally they are worn with a dinner jacket. While there is a wide range of bowtie designs available, including fun ones like wooden bowties and feather bowties, they are divided into two categories: cut edge and sharp edge, depending on the shape.

scarf

SCARF

One of the first recorded scarfs was worn in Ancient Egypt. However, scarves only became a popular fashion item in the 19th century. Today, they are widely used to keep people warm during winter or to add a touch of color to an outfit. This is because they are made from thicker materials like cotton or wool. There is a wide range of scarf designs and lengths available. Generally they are worn for outdoor events and removed when indoors.

gold cravat

CRAVAT

This fashion item has a long history, having been made popular in the Croatian army. Cravats were one of the only items that could be used to identify individual soldiers, as uniforms weren’t yet mainstream. However, they became most popular when they reached England in the 17th century. Though they changed multiple aspects of the design, cravats were still made in a traditional white fabric. This started to change in the 19th century, when different colors were introduced to help people display their style. Today, cravats are not often worn, but if they are it is usually with a coat. In addition, pinstripe pants are often worn with the cravat.

gold ascot

ASCOT

This scarf like tie is looped under the chin. It’s one of the widest neckties available, with the ends looping under each other, then getting cut diagonally. The ascot became popular in the 19th century. During that time, it was worn to formal occasions. Over time, the perception around the ascot tie has changed. Today, it’s become less formal and is often used as an alternative to the necktie.

bolo

BOLO TIE

Bolo ties are also sometimes called the shoestring tie because of the thinly braided material it’s made from. Typically, the ends of the bolo tie have metal ornaments hanging from them, allowing you to give the tie some personality. The neck piece can be anything from a carved stone, to metal, to the skull ornament pictured here. Often, bolo ties are worn to formal occasions. Interestingly, it’s a relatively new addition to the fashion world, as the first recorded mention of the bolo tie was in 1956. Since then, it’s gained popularity and bolo ties are worn to a wide variety of functions.

sailors tie

SAILOR’S TIE

The sailor’s tie originated in the 16th century. It was adopted by the naval branch of the defense force because of the multiple ways it could be used. For example, sailors could use the large square to form a sling. Since then, its association with sailors has been strengthened through multiple appearances in film and television shows. The sailor’s tie is a large square of material which gets folded diagonally. The knot used to tie this item is called the sailor’s knot. Traditionally, it’s made from a piece of black and white silk fabric.

clip on tie

CLIP-ON TIE

This is a pre-tied necktie with a clip on the back. You can then attach it to the collar band of your shirt using the strap. Usually, these come in two varieties, either a four-in-hand or a bowtie. It became popular because of its simplicity. However, people tend to avoid wearing these ties in a formal setting.

string tie

String Tie/Sheriff’s Tie/Bootlace Tie

Traditionally, this tie is made from black fabric and is suitable for a range of formal social occasions. This tie is generally no wider than an inch, but it is quite long. You should tie it in a bow around your neck, similar to a bowtie. However, the string tie has two long ends that dangle down the front of your shirt.

7-FOLD TIE

Seven fold ties are usually some of the most expensive options available on the market because of their unique construction. Instead of using a thicker material to line the inside of the tie, giving it rigidity, this tie is made from one large piece of fabric. This allows you to have the same pattern on both the back and the front of the tie. To achieve the look and feel of a tie, the material has been folded over several times. Because of the construction methods used, it typically takes a lot longer to produce than a standard tie. For this reason, many people value these types of ties. They were originally created in 1892 and became popular with businessmen in the 1920s. However, during the war, they needed expensive silks to produce other items, like parachutes. This meant the 7-fold tie was no longer worn. However, its popularity saw a resurgence in the 1980s. Today, you can wear these ties to a range of important social occasions.

kipper fish

KIPPER TIE

The kipper tie was originally developed in England in the 1960s. This tie is extremely wide, similar to the width of a kipper (a type of fish), giving the tie its name. They originally became popular after the war, as a way for people to rebel against the budget cuts the government had implemented. Generally, they featured bright colors and patterns, similar to ones found on a Hawaiian shirt. They became popular again in the 1960s and 1970s, fitting in with the disco music played during that time. However, they were worn less frequently in the 1980s, as attitudes started to change. They had a brief resurgence in the 1990s, though the colors were more muted. Since then, this tie has faded from use, as many modern professionals prefer slimmer ties.

riding_stock

HUNTING / RIDING STOCK TIE

This is traditionally used by horse riders and trainers when competing. Originally, it was worn as a safety measure because the material could be used as a sling if the rider accidentally fell from the horse. In the 18th and 19th centuries, men also wore the tie when attending formal events. However, their ties were made of thinner materials and often featured ruffles. The riding stock remains popular in modern equestrian events, forming an important part of the dress code. Generally, it’s usually stated in the rules that these ties need to be white.

macclesfield tie

MACCLESFIELD TIE

The macclesfield tie was first made in Macclesfield, England in the 1920s. It became popular for its distinctive patterns, featuring dobby weaves. This gives the fabric more texture. Often, their patterns feature small geometric shapes, like circles or diamonds. Today, it’s become known as the wedding tie because of its popularity at these events. However, corporate employees also widely use this tie.

rep_tie

REP/REPP TIE

Originally, the rep tie was inspired by the colors knights carried into battle to identify them. Today, these ties are still being used to distinguish groups of people. For example, many schools used Repp ties when creating their school uniforms. Alternatively, some political leaders might wear Repp ties that display their party’s colors. This tie usually features striped patterns. It gets its name because of how the tie was constructed. It features multiple ribs that have been woven into the fabric, which provide these ties with their unique textures and gives the ties their name.

neckerchief

NECKERCHIEF

Neckerchiefs were originally associated with those who worked outside, having been popular with farmers and soldiers. The long triangular fabric is worn by rolling up the two ends into a point. Then, a slide is used to fasten it around the neck. At the back, a triangular section remains unrolled, providing sun protection to the back of the neck. Today, the neckerchief has become a popular accent accessory and is also used as a uniform piece by many organizations. One of the best examples is the scouting movement, where the neckerchief is a key part of their uniform.

dwimmer neckwear

DWIMMER NECKWEAR BY LAUREL CHRISTINE

I designed a new style of genderless neckwear which is always the correct length. The unisex design features a range of styles and designs made from the highest quality textiles I design and source from artisans around the world. There are also some significant improvements (in my opinion!) to how the ties are made. For example, they feature a metal accent piece instead of a knot. This makes it easy to customize, more comfortable to wear, easy to tie, and more modern looking. Another innovation is  in how the tie is constructed. It features a flat surface on both the front and the back, rather than a folded construction. Although it’s not reversible, the back features a fun accent color as well as embroidery.

Throughout history, neckties have continued to evolve. Ties will continue to adapt to society’s preferences as a symbol of style, status, or occupation. 

Do you enjoy wearing neckwear? Let me know in the comments below!

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