THE HISTORY OF TIES
Do you ever wonder why in the world men wear ties? We dug into the history of men's neckwear and our research found many different opinions on where and when this accessory originated but here's the gist. The term "tie" wasn't adopted until about 300 years ago, but according to some records men began sporting various neck adornments as far back as four thousand years ago in ancient Egypt. Other artifacts and evidence show that even tribes across the globe in the places like the Amazon wore various materials around their necks which were thought to be badges of honor.
The accessory closest to what we have today took shape in Europe many years later but evolved from more of a scarf shape - also known as a cravat. Around the 1600's some researchers believe it was first worn by Croatian soldiers, and some think that the German Army created this look. Either way, from about 1650 on, men could be seen wearing these scarf-like ties regularly and did so more as a symbol of nobility. Over the next 200 years it evolved into more of the formal tie that we know today. In the 1800's as the middle class of Europe increased rapidly, the necktie more and more evoked a sense of hierarchy and said a lot about ones status or class level. The higher class you were, the more subtle your neckwear was. The lower class you were, the brighter and bolder your neck adornment.
It wasn't until a tie maker in New York created a new method of cutting the fabric and stitching it together which allowed the tie to hold its classic shape and tie knots to become diversified. From there tie knots continued to evolve tie patterns reflected trends in art like the art deco movement of the 30's, got shorter in length for some time, and colors became bolder and more playful. Then, in the 50's they got skinnier and started being made out of different materials including knit ties (the television show Mad Men exemplifies these two changes in style), the bolo tie increased in popularity, and then they came back wider and more colorful as ever in the 80s.
Despite these changes over time, neckties have always been a widely adopted form of neckwear across the globe and bow ties have historically been deemed as appropriate for more formal occasions. Which leads me to our next question, are you a necktie or a bow tie kind of guy? And what does that say about you?
NECKTIE VS. BOW TIE
Bow ties have become rather trendy in recent years and here at Knotty Tie Co. we can definitely vouch for that! Although as mentioned, the bow tie has always been deemed the more formal neckwear option, being that tuxedos do require bow ties exclusively, we’ve seen them make a comeback and be widely embraced as a proud symbol of geekdom. Bow ties do generally get more attention, but it’s a fact that not everyone can pull them off. This is partly because they may not look proportionately balanced on every figure and also since they take more sophistication to tie. At Knotty Tie we only make self-tie adult bow ties and although the average bow tie afficianto appreciates this greatly, many guys are totally stumped when it comes to tying a bow tie. With a little practice and help from Youtube that can definitely be overcome. We’ve noticed that our friends in the South are never afraid to make a statement with a colorful or wild patterned bow tie and we find that bow ties are deemed to be more festive than ties when it comes to how men are dressing to celebrate major holidays.
As we now know, the necktie is the OG of all ties. They are the most popular and widespread, being appropriate for almost every occasion. They are typically worn with suits or a simple button-down shirt, so although they can certainly be worn in most formal settings they also tend to be easier to dress down. Unlike bow ties, neckties can be loosened at the knot to give a more laid back, less buttoned-up feel. The type of knot also says a lot. More complex knots like the Trinity can create a more formal and polished look, but the most universal and widely used knot is the Windsor. Give some new knots a try if you’ve stuck it out with the Windsor all these years! Neckties are well-known to be the more figure flattering option and can actually make a man look taller by providing an elongated illusion. Neckties are far more popular than bow ties when it comes to business dress and can really make a statement when you walk in the room depending on the color and design. For example, a red tie establishes dominance and for this reason red ties are a very popular choice amongst politicians.
WHY CUSTOM TIES?
A necktie or bow tie is one of the least expensive parts of a man’s ensemble and because of this, allows for plenty of variety. A simple swap of your tie can change your entire look. Suits, shirts, belts, and shoes at the average department store only come in a handful of colorways. Wearing ties as an accessory is a cheap and easy way to get a pop of color, dress more professional, or make a stronger statement. Show your personality through a fun pattern that features your favorite things in life. At Knotty Tie Co. we make this simple. Do you love tacos? Let us know your favorite toppings and we’ll create a custom design with the colors that either match the other elements in your outfit, or are just simply colors you love but can’t find in a department store. A fun tie pattern can make you more approachable but doesn’t have to be loud. By scaling it down and coloring it in a subtle way you can create a look that people will appreciate once they. Are you known for something in your office or amongst your group of friends? Do you have a tagline or go-to phrase? Or do you simply have a love for manatees? Whatever floats your boat, even actual boats, we can create a design that will make getting dressed in the morning something to look forward to!
HATE WEARING A TIE?
If you’re the kind of guy who considers ties stuffy or impractical we’d bet that you’ve never heard of Knotty Tie Co. Imagine if someone designed a tie that incorporated all of your favorite hobbies and interests. We bring our customers wildest ideas to life every day. In fact, one of our most popular tie designs is a Corgi wearing a top hat and jetpack flying through outer space. Talk about a conversation starter! Wearing a tie that you’ve custom designed adds a personal aspect to your wardrobe that is both meaningful and priceless. Have everyone laughing and create a tie that features an inside joke between you and your buddies. When you design a custom tie that is so unique and so you, you’ll be searching for reasons to wear it again and again - and your friends might be asking too. You aren’t a boring person and your ties shouldn’t be either!
Guest blog post by Knotty Tie Co, a Denver based online custom tie company.
Photo credits: Tanyas & Victor Rodriguez Photo, Sonja K Photography, Mallory McClure Photography, Alison Vagnini Weddings
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