A Brief History of Ties

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Ties are probably the most frequently worn men’s tailoring accessory. They can vary in cut, fabric, colour and pattern, but what they all have in common is the ability to neatly pull together and finish off a formal outfit.

The inspiration for modern ties were traditional knotted neckerchiefs worn by Croatian mercenaries in the 17th century. Unlike today’s version, these early ties actually served a function: to hold the mercenaries’ shirts closed. 

The neckties of the Croatian mercenaries caught the eye of the French king Louis XIV. Though he was only seven at the time, he clearly had an eye for the sartorial as he began wearing a lace version of these neckties in around 1646.

Once the ‘cravat’, as it became known, was being worn by the king, the trend spread quickly throughout France, and then Europe. Men and women began wearing pieces of cloth around their neck. These became increasingly ornate, and often needed to be held in place by cravat strings.

Cravats remained popular for a couple of hundred years. From these evolved the more formal bow tie and the Ascot tie. Modern neck ties didn’t really come into being until the beginning of the 20th century.

The major breakthrough came in the 1920s when a tie maker in New York came up with an innovative new way of cutting ties. This new fabric cutting technique allowed the creation of neck ties that would ‘spring back’ to their original shape after being cut. These new ties were recognisably the ties we know and love today.

As the 20th century developed, neck ties underwent a few changes. The 1920s saw the emergence of regimental ties, and in the 1930s ties became wider and generally patterned in Art Deco or Art Nouveau designs. This period also saw the invention of the Windsor knot, so named for its creator the Duke of Windsor. 

Ties went ‘skinny’ in the 1950s, then super wide with ‘the kipper’ in the 1970s. Today, there are a wide range of shapes and styles available, depending on the personal preference of the wearer.

If you’re on the hunt for a beautiful tie with a traditional feel, take a look at our collection of LAD Yorkshire neckties. We’re pretty confident that you’ll like what you see.