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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fashion as History: The Tie

Ever wonder why formal dress for men involves a knotted piece of silk hanging from their neck like an expensive noose? Well in an attempt to explain all things sartorial another Google search followed. It seems, as most of mens' traditionally formal pieces, to have originated in the military. This knotted piece of fabric used to adorn the neck was clearly very striking. Since then it has evolved and taken root in the acceptable attire for men. The more detailed version goes something like this...

The modern day tie is a descendant from the cravat. This made its debut around 1630 on the necks of Croatian mercenaries during the Thirty Years' War. Croatian poet Ivan Gundulic is shown below in the first known painting to picture a cravat in 1622. The French admired the look and began to do it themselves. Stiff collars and copious amounts of ruffles were replaced with sleeker, free flowing cravats made of anything from muslin, to fine linen, to lace.

The Cravat

The look made its way to England after Charles II made his way back to the isles after exile and imported the look. It continually evolved as the years went on until we have the tie of today. There are many different types of neck wear now such as the bowtie, the tie, the ascott, the bolo tie (the official necktie of Arizona).

The Ascott

The Bolo Tie

The tie has been criticized as a restrictive element of formal dress that serves no actual purpose and can actually become a safety hazard. But more often than not it is simply worn unquestioningly. Some companies have abolished formal attire in the workplace and the result has been something of a never ending casual Friday where employees have been emboldened to wear flip flops and Hawaiian shirts to work. Some companies, such as IKEA, have actually abolished the use of neckties for their workers.

What are your thoughts on the use of ties? An antiquated formality? An addition that serves to improve the work of those who wear it? A ridiculous tradition that serves no purpose in today's offices? Let us know what you wear to work.

Have a killer tie? Bring it in so we can construct the perfect shirt to show it off. Hate ties? Make an appointment and we can create a shirt so exciting it doesn't need anything extra. Email us at info@9tailors.com to make an appointment or learn more about what we do!

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