Symbol of elegance and refinement, the tie is always an important and irreplaceable detail in a classy man clothing attire. Basically, it is just a strip of fabric and at first sight, it seems a simple task tying it around your neck. Actually, to make perfect tie knots is a task that requires precision and experience.
Despite the tie derives from the French word “cravate” and was invented in France at the age of Louis XIV to indicate the Croatian horsemen scarves, some texts date its true origin back to the second century AD. The Roman legionnaires used it to tighten around their neck a long piece of fabric to protect them from the cold.
In fact, the first prototype of the modern tie dates back to the 18th century, and it is American. It’s the so-called “bandana”, a large patterned neckerchief that had to be wrapped several times around the neck and fixed with a bow. It is in England indeed, in the late 19th century, where the “modern” tie was born, very similar to the one that still nowadays the gentleman wears. To be more precise, it’s at the Exeter Oxford College that the first club tie was used for the first time.
In its current form, the modern tie exists since the early years of the 20th century, when in America men began to adopt the classic 45° cut, which still nowadays characterizes the end of most ties. Before that date, in fact, ties had typically a straight on the grain cut and were lined with other fabrics, but they worn out in a short time and the knot created horrible folds.
An important influence came from England in the 20s, when the Duke of Windsor, or as it was called at that time, David Windsor Prince of Wales visited the famous entrepreneur Henry Ford in the United States, spreading the knot of his tie, the so-called Windsor knot.
The Windsor knot
It is a symmetrical and thick knot, even if we should attribute the volume of the tie to its original padded hand rather than to the double knot. I’s the knot for big events, best suited for spread collars because of its volume. Windsor tie knots, or double knots, should exactly stay in the middle of the neck and hide the last button of the shirt.
The four-in-hand knot
It is from a stylistic point of view, the most basic yet versatile knot. In fact, due to its extended shape necks are slender, and its oblique position creates an interesting asymmetry as opposed to the edges of the collar.
The best ties are made of pure silk or wool, though often the indication 100% silk or cashmere on the label does not tell the truth about the real nature of the tie, as even the more valuable ties have an interface made of a different material. Only the so-called “fold ties”, real masterpieces, are exclusively silk made, with a square of fabric folded 7 times on itself without any other insert or padding.
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