The History of the Necktie
There are different opinions regarding the origin of the necktie. As one of the earliest predecessor, the “Trajanuscollony” in Rome from about 200-century after Christ is usually mentioned. It depicts a Roman legionnaire bearing a cloth around his neck. It was probably used both as a protection against the cold and as a handkerchief.
The modern necktie history has its origin in France. But it is not a French invention but something that the Croatian soldiers used during the Thirty Year War. The word “cravatte”, the neckties precursor originates from the French “la Croate”, meaning “Croat”. It refers to the decorative cloths the Croatian Vallerists had tied around their necks during the 30-year war. This made them easy to identify. Silk neckties were strictly reserved for officers, while the soldiers were satisfied with neckties of simpler materials.
The cravatte dynasty was spread in the 1600s by France to the rest of Europe where the embellished nobles and wealthy burghers wore it. The Croatian equestrian scarf was highest fashion in the French baroque. It was a long white cloth which was made out of fine cotton or linen and in intricate ways was tied around the neck. Sometimes it was decorated with lace and if you were a lazy person you could buy them already pre-tied. The most affluent during this time was wearing a lace frill as signs of enormous wealth and status. For example a costly lace frill worn by the English King Charles II in year 1660 was corresponding to about a 10 year salary at the time!
During the 1700s a rectangular scarf in both black and white took over the necktie and in the 1800s all possible neck swathes in all sorts of different colours was also starting to show. During the century of the time the scarf was narrowed down while its ends were extended. The scarf became a tie. After the revolution in the 1800s a more discreet and equitable fashion applied.
The English club and school ties are close to the predecessor of today's ties. University at Oxford had in 1880 ordered the first club tie. This was quickly followed by other clubs and schools in the country. The patterned tie was first produced around 1900 in the town of Macclesfield in the north-east of England. In the 1920's Prince Edward of Great Britain became a fashion model. He preferred a relaxed dress code with a soft shirt collar and a not too heavily tied necktie. The neckties popularity grew quickly and now it began to be worn by an emerging British middle class as a sign of success and status.
In Year 1924 the modern necktie got its present appearance because Jesse Langsdorf in New York patented the method by which the vast majority of ties are manufactured still today, the same method is used. This was also the time when people started to develop different ways to tie neckties. After World War II the neckties would become more colourful with fanciful patterns. The neckties started to show the owner's identity.
In the late 1900s the German “schlipsen” emerged. The word schlips means "coattail", which also gave rise to the English "slip" meaning stripe. Schlipsen was a kind of neck-tie that was long, thin and had increasing width towards the ends. It was linked to knots of various kinds and complexity. Ties also occurred in different materials, but silk was the most frequently used. While the suit jacket with double collar became fashionable the necktie also triumphed big time.
When the 50s came with its youth culture the necktie went out of fashion. Instead t-shirts and leatherjackets applied. The necktie came back during the 60s thanks to the Beatles but vanished soon again when the hippie culture spread. Towards the end of the 70th century highlighted pop icons like Brian Ferry and David Bowie once again popularised neckties. The 80s also marked a massive comeback for the necktie. It was worn by everyone from pop and rock stars to financial yuppies. In the early 90s the necktie was frequently used and became a requirement in many workplaces. When the IT boom hit in the late 90s and in the early 2000s the necktie lost a bit of its status, but has made a strong comeback in recent years. Now the necktie is worn by practically everyone. It is embraced in a relaxed and casual way and is used at all sorts of events.