From the history of a tie

“A well-chosen tie, like exquisite perfume, varnishes the entire suit, it plays the same role for the suit, as truffles for lunch.. Looking at the tie, we can judge on the person who is wearing it; to know a person, it is sufficient to have a look at that his part which is between his head and chest.”

Honore de Balzac
“The art of wearing a tie”, 1827

Tie (German Halstuch, which means the neckerchief) – a strip of cloth tied around the neck. Used as a decoration, accessory.

The history of a tie began in the ancient times. It is known that the Egyptians emphasized their social status by a piece of a rectangular cloth thrown over the shoulders. And the soldiers of China and the ancient Romans tied scarves around the neck, which resembled the modern tie in shape. The word “tie” is translated from German as “neckwear” or “scarf.”

And when in 1635 the Croatian soldiers defeated the lanyards Turkish Janissaries, they were introduced to the court of King Louis XIV. The king loved colorful Croatian scarves, and this was the reason why ties became very fashionable in France.   And indeed, the French word “cravatte”, meaning a tie, is very close to the word “Croat.”

In the XVIII century, the “tie” became a single article of clothing, representing a neck cloth with long lace ends. It was only in the second half of the XIX century, when it obtained familiar shape and size. About a hundred ways of tying a necktie was invented in England.
Those men who wore a big bow in “Byron style”, were romanticists, like the famous dandy and poet Lord Byron.

When someone was talked that he was wearing a “Walter Scott” tie, that meant that a tie was made of tartan fabric: such a tie witnessed a passion for historical novels of the famous Scot.

Lovers of blue ties with white polka dots – so-called “Belcher” ties – need to know that this pattern meant a passion for sports authority. Jem Belcher, a docker, worked in the port of London in the days of Byron. He was distinguished for his excellent boxing skills.  A piece of fabric in polka dots on the neck of a local celebrity introduced a new fashion, which, however, became widespread only in the end of XIX century.

A black silk tie was of two types – a “Talma”, named after the French tragedian François Talma, and a “tragic” tie.

All of those ties were more bows than ties.  To adorn oneself with such a tie one had to fold a scarf diagonally into a strip, put the wider part of it to the throat, cross the ends behind the neck, and tie them in a bow at the front.

To keep the shape of a tie, men resorted to various tactics. For example, some wore a stiffener to the front of the tie. Stiffeners were made of whalebone, quilted fabric or bristle.

White ties from thin fabrics were designed for special occasions, and colorful ties for everyday wear. Usually they were made of silk or fine wool.

A man’s suit was gradually getting simplified and a dinner suit was no more a daily wear, so the shape of the tie was to be changed, too.  Outdoor activities of the British upper classes resulted in turning of a tie, which looked more like a headscarf,  into a ribbon tie.To some young people that tie seemed too complicated. It is said that one of the annual regatta participants decided not to get bothered with tying and untying his tie and he cut it in the back hoping to bind the ends later.This is how a “regatta” tie came into light – for those who didn’t strive for elegance.

The same holds true for the “Ascot” tie with straight ends and a ready knot which was worn to visit the royal races in Ascot.

Rigorous science finds a clear connection between “Victoria” and “Albert” tie knots. But there is no historical evidence that the Prince – Queen Victoria’s husband wore a tie, the knot of which was named in his honor.  Another myth is associated with Edward VIII (1894-1972), who got the title of the Duke of Windsor after abdication. His was considered a legislator in men’s fashion – very popular were pullovers, socks and boutonnieres in his style. However, “Windsor” and “Half-Windsor” tie knots were worn by many, but most probably, not by the Duke of Windsor. Although in general, in all times it’s been up to people to imitate celebrities’ style, ways of tying a tie knot, its color and width.

The width of the tie is subject to frequent changes, but a classic tie should not be wider than eight inches. Usually it varies with the proportions of a jacket, or rather, with the lapels width. Fashion of the XX century experienced a fascination with narrow ties (up to five centimeters) and very wide ones (up to thirteen).

The ribbon tie initially was a cause of worry for many men. It was made from a single piece of fabric in a grainline and the knot often shifted and untied. Only in 1926, a New Yorker named Jess Lengsdorf found a remarkable solution to get rid of pins and clamps – he offered to cut ties on the bias, which made them resilient. In addition, from now on the tie was made of three parts. Unfold your own tie – and you can see how efficient and easy it is designed.

For special occasions it is often required an unusual tie – a bow tie. The history of its appearance is not quite common, too. The bow of the steinkirk was called “Butterfly wings” and it was tied accordingly. It didn’t look like a modern bow-tie.

Its story begins in 1904 and relates to the first production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” (“Cio-Cio-San”). A year earlier, in 1903, the opera’s first night failed miserably. The composer had taken into account the claims of music critics and substantially edited the score. For marketing purposes before the next performance it was announced that the there was a surprise for the audience. Indeed, all the musicians were wearing bow ties, which from now on became immensely fashionable.

By the end of the twentieth century a “black tie”, or – “Black Bow” – had come to mean a tuxedo as a compulsory men’s attire for guests. And a white tie (“white bow”) – means a tailcoat.

However, bows are worn with casual jackets, too. Moreover, they can be made not only from silk or rep, but also from wool, with a variety of patterns from tartan to polka dots.

Currently, the average European has a wardrobe of about 20 neckties. And every day about 600 million people in the world wear a tie.

How to choose a tie?

Since a man’s tie is now not only a popular but also a very important accessory in men’s fashion as long as it helps to create a complete look and emphasize the individuality of its owner, then one must be careful when choosing his tie.  There is a huge variety of ties on sale now, so it’s easy to get lost in what to choose.

What do you need first to look for when choosing a necktie?

The most important thing here is that it must be beautiful and of high quality.

It’s better if a tie is made of natural fabrics such as silk, wool, satin. As a rule, such ties look very noble and are easier to tie than ties of synthetic fabric. First of all when choosing a tie you must pay attention to the lining. If you’d like your tie hold its shape for a long time, the lining must be made of natural wool.

When choosing the size, pay attention to the length and width of a tie. The wide end of your tie should be just as long as to touch the middle point of the belt buckle (or cover it). The width of the tie should be approximately the same width of the suit’s lapel, with which it will be worn (ie, if the lapel is wide, the tie should be wide and vice versa).

If you doubt whether a tie will fit the suit in color and pattern and whether it will look nice on you, prefer self-colored natural fabrics.

Here are some simple tips to help you avoid mistakes when choosing a tie:

For a light-colored suit and a light shirt, a tie is chosen to match the shirt. And if you pick a dark shirt for the same suit you’d better tie a light necktie (preferably complimenting the suit).

The classic black suit with a white shirt should be worn with a light-colored necktie with a small pattern.

A single colored shirt goes well with a patterned tie. A large pattern makes a tie less formal, and it’s more suitable for a company of good friends. If the shirt has a pattern, you’d better choose a solid color tie.

A dark suit with a dark shirt goes well with a tie of lighter shades.

A dark suit and a light shirt look good with a dark tie and some Personalised Hoodies.

Make your look using a combination of three different colors (if you use more colors they must be the shades of the main colors).

It’s always necessary to take care of your tie to keep it look classy.  When you want to take off your tie, you must untie it first, and it’s better to do it in the reverse order to the way you tied it. To store your tie properly, you can hang your ties, which is highly recommended. A tie rack or a hanger can be used.  Keep it out of direct sunlight or the sun can fade the fabric and the colors will lose their brightness.

If your tie looks worn and wrinkled, don’t iron it but roll it into a tube instead, beginning from the narrow end. After a few hours wrinkles will disappear. If this doesn’t work, try steaming the tie.

And now a few words about how to tie best the necktie you’ve chosen.  You can find a great selection of tie knots with detailed diagrams in How to Tie a Tie app from ArtelPlus.

Besides, some tie knots also impose certain requirements for the selection of a tie.

For example, the ‘Pratt’ tie knot is better suited for a tie with a thick lining, so tying even a short tie, you can get a fairly round and wide knot.

Tying your tie a Windsor tie knot, you revive old, stretched ties.

Kent will be appropriate if you have only a very short tie, but you have a large body type. Tie Oriental and Kent tie knots only if a tie is made of thick or bulky fabric or very wide. Then it will look wider and more stylish.

A tie for tying the Christensen knot should not be too wide or of very dense material.

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Does Windsor suit your face shape?

So now you know a little bit more about Windsor and it is still your favourite knot. Now it’s time to consider one more aspect of wearing a tie – the face.

Many people know that to make a perfect tie knot they should match up their tie with a shirt and a suit. But many don’t know that different knots suit different face shapes, and depending on what tie knot you’re wearing you can either accentuate your face peculiarities or disguise some evident drawbacks. For example, Oriental, a very small tie knot, doesn’t fit people with round faces. Why? It’s too small, and can easily get lost under one’s broad neck.

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