Log in Subscribe

Tie one on

Hudson Cooper - Columnist
Posted 12/10/20

It is that time again. With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is right around the corner. Many of us have already prepared the list of gifts to buy for our friends and family.

For mom, you take …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Tie one on


It is that time again. With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is right around the corner. Many of us have already prepared the list of gifts to buy for our friends and family.

For mom, you take the time to select the perfect gift based on her hobbies, expressed desires or the latest culinary device. For dad, who already has plenty of golf balls and sweaters, you go to the nearest department store and select a tie.

Rummaging through hundreds of ties looking for the standout one, you are probably unaware of the long history of the necktie.

Many believe the tie dates to ancient Rome when legionnaires wore a cloth around their neck to ward off the cold and use as a handkerchief. It also probably came in handy if you happened to be nicked by an errant gladius sword.

According to Montrose LeGrand, the eminent authority on men's fashion accessories and author of “Hats Entertainment”, the necktie gained modern prominence in France during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). To support their efforts, France hired Croatian mercenaries.

As part of their uniform, they wore small fabric strips that were knotted around the neck. Parisians noted the knotted look, put down their baguettes and croissants and turned those strips of fabric into the necktie. Soon nobles and the wealthy adorned their fabrics with jewels and frills.

Once established as a fashion statement, ties became an integral part of men's wardrobe. The tie as a fashion statement expanded when clubs and schools in England began having their supporters wear them as a symbol of membership. In 1880 the University of Oxford became the first group to do so.

Have you ever noticed that stripe ties are most often angled from left to right when you are facing them? I will wait a few minutes for you to peruse your tie collection for verification.

Did you see what I mean? Well, you can also thank the Brits for that. At the onset of the twentieth century, they developed the striped tie angled that way to represent the pattern going from the heart to the sword in honor of their military. Some American makers of ties have gone rogue and have a right to left pattern.

Whether you have one to wear only on rare occasions like a wedding or have many hanging in your closet to complete your business look for work, every man owns a tie. It is a rite of passage when your father teaches you how to well… tie a tie. The basic directions seem easy enough.

After placing the tie around your neck and guessing how long the wider piece should hang down, grab both ends. You cross the wide end under the narrow end. Then pull the wide end over the narrow end. Slip the wide end through the loop and tighten the knot until it pushes against your collar.

If you think those directions are complicated, try to verbally describe how to tie your shoelaces. That is why they make loafers and clip-on ties.

Further complicating the tie securing process are the many variations of knots. A partial list includes the four-in-hand, the full Windsor, the half Windsor for men in a hurry, the Nicky, the Kelvin, the Stabyhoun, the Pratt, the St. Andrew, the Hanover, the Grantchester and the Trinity. Most of us learn how to tie one knot and stick with it.

The necktie is here to stay allowing men to enhance the look of the business uniform, the suit. So, you only have a few more weeks to fight the hoards in the men's wear department as they line up elbow to elbow at the tie counter.

When you give it as a gift make sure to tell the recipient not to bother with the Stabyhoun knot from my previous list. It is not a knot. The Stabyhoun is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world.

With its reputation as a great family pet, you can play fetch with one of your old, worn knotted ties.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here