As menswear fashion and style continue to grow and evolve, we continue to learn more on how to look more stylish by adding new items in our wardrobes. However some of these items may be new in our closets but remain classic as they’ve been around for many years. Here will be getting to know more about one of the most famous and iconic menswear accessories.
A necktie or simply known as a tie has its own rich history and heritage. However there are other types of neckties which every gentleman should be familiar with. Although not all of them may be part of our sartorial style, it’s always nice to know their distinctive differences. Just like we learnt about our dress shoes, neckties are very much synonymous with our everyday ensembles but do we know their names and some interesting facts about them?
Before we go further in getting to know them in detail, I thought it was wise to get a bit of history about these type of men’s accessories. Neckties generally had no specific size, basically one could get them in different sizes. For men and boys, wearing a tie was a prerequisite as it was part of a formal uniform (military or school). Although it was traditionally part of uniform, some men adopted this lifestyle and began wearing neckties on a regular basis. Neckties originated in Europe back in the war years and was then called neckerchiefs, which was worn by Croatians and attracted the Parisians. It was a slightly size bigger handkerchief that was carried by soldiers, in most cases it was white. I’m sure you’ve seen it in the old war movies when soldiers surrender to the enemy, they would raise and wave a white cloth to accept defeat. Usually the Croatians would tie a small knot on their necks with these handkerchiefs. From there and after seeing King Louis XIV and the French nobility wearing a necktie, everyone adopted the style of wear a necktie whenever they wore a buttoned up dress shirt.
Before you get bored and fall asleep reading about the never-ending history of neckties let’s look into the different neckties that we see today.
An ascot tie, also known as “hanker-tie” is a necktie with two wide pointy wings. Ascots are the casual version of a cravat, and are also called a day cravat to distinguish it from the highly formal dress cravat. Traditionally neckties are worn with the top button of a shirt fastened and the tie knot resting in between the collar points, but with the ascot there’s a casual exception. By casual, it’s because of how it’s worn against the skin, inside of the shirt. These neckties date back from the 19th century and are made of heavily starched linen.
A cravat is the father of all neckties, from ties and bow ties, all of these evolved from this neckpiece. I know for some it’s rather confusing because a “cravat” is now seen and worn inside the dress shirt. Well the cravats were worn by King Louis XIV and the French nobility and these are worn over the shirt, under the collar. Just to make it clear, these neckties are now popularly seen worn by grooms and their groomsmen for western weddings. These are usually made of decorative silk material with different patterns and prints.
A bow is another revolutionary necktie with rich history. It is the shortest and smallest after a knot being made as it sit as a ribbon. It is mostly made of luxurious silk fabric because it’s popular for the black tie events and weddings. It is also one of the most complicated ties to make a knot, which is why there are the pre-tied and clip-ons to make it easier for the gents to put on. Did you know that there’s only about 10% maybe even less of adults that knows how to tie a bow tie knot?
The bolo, also known as the shoestring necktie is the most different of them all as its not made of fabric but just a rope with metal tips and an ornamental buckle. The bolo neckties are more popular in America, particularly with the western culture or rather the cowboy tradition. It is the simplest necktie to wear as there’s not much to do like other neckties that needs to make a specific knot. This one just has a buckle to slide and hold the ropes together while the decorative buckle stands out on the top-end button.
This is what almost every man and boy wears today even though the term “four-in-hand” is now known as a style of a knot. This is the longest necktie of them all and back then it was a rectangular cloth with square ends. The name described a carriage with four horses and a driver. Basically these drivers wore a scarf and because it would fall while they were riding, they would make a knot with one hand while the other was controlling the carriage of four horses. Nowadays and since it’s the popular necktie which is well-known as a tie, there are multiple types of knots. That’s a story for another day, *wink*…
I hope that after reading this you’ll not only know what you’re wearing but wear it with confidence and pride, that you don’t just know that name of a tie but also their fun facts.
Until next time, stay stylish