If you are a lover of neckties, you have probably, at some stage, wondered where they originated from. After all, although the necktie is quite the fashion statement, apart from being ultra-stylish, it doesn’t actually serve any other purpose!
The earliest depictions of the necktie are the Chinese in 200 BC. Historians discovered ancient paintings of Chinese Terra-cotta warriors wearing knotted scarves tied stylishly around their necks. In these early times, neckwear served a purpose and was used in the Chinese army as protection from the sun and cold.
The necktie, as we know it today, has its origins in the Croatian Military in the 1600s. During the Thirty Years War, Croatian soldiers wore bright and colorful neckerchiefs in support of their French counterparts who, in contrast, wore stiff and ruffled collars. In addition to being stylish and decorative, these neckties proved to be far more comfortable than the starched collars worn by the French soldiers.
Because of the Croatians, neckties eventually became a huge trend by the time Louis XIV ascended to the throne, with both nobility and commoners wearing this highly fashionable accessory.
This fashion trend- of wearing a silk cloth (or cravat) stylishly tied around one’s neck- continued well into the 18th Century. During the Industrial Revolution at the beginning of the 19th Century though, men began simplifying the cravat into something more practical: the necktie as we know it today. Neckwear started being folded “four in hand”, with a knot at the base of the throat with two pieces of fabric flowing down. This method of tying a necktie has remained ever since.
Over the past 2 centuries, the necktie has evolved only slightly with the Ascot Tie being formal traditional morning wear, for example (after King Edward VII wore it to The Royal Ascot).
Today, the necktie is as popular as ever. Evidence of this can be seen in the number of neckties given as Father’s Day gifts!