The Ties of Today
Today I thought I’d talk about apparel, actually more of an apparel accessory really, a simple yet sophisticated item of clothing. Something that has been around since the seventeenth century and still to this day maintains itself as a prominent feature of modern society. The tie.
These days, and unlike the modern bandana, the style of tie and the message one wishes to send out to the world among social and professional gatherings has evolved into something of a complex choice when it comes to selecting a tie and choosing just how to tie it. After all, there are a whole host of methods used these days, and nothing like the relaxed nature by
The modern tie however, couldn’t be further from the tie used when it first came about.
The Origin of the Tie
Originally spread by Europe in the seventeenth century during the ‘Thirty Years War’ era (1618-1648), the tie was originally discovered by the French when Croatian mercenaries served alongside them sporting, oddly enough, a traditional small, knotted neckerchief. After relishing in the novelty of this simple piece of apparel, it wasn’t long before a young Louis XIV (seven years old) began wearing a small cravat made of lace. This immediately set what was to become the symbol and fashion for French nobility. From there the fashion took hold almost immediately and very quickly took the nation by storm. It wasn’t long before men and women were wearing a variety of cravats or tie-like fabric around their necks.
In today’s world of what seems like cruel social judgement, elaborate gatherings demand the epitome of dress sense, in which the tie holds a firm stance as something that not only creates ones first impression, but also as something that is often considered as the icing on the cake.
If that wasn’t enough pressure for anyone at least having a go at fitting in, then there is a whole lot more to consider: the choice of pattern along with the corresponding choice of material and what messages these combinations send out to the world, the painful dilemma of trying to select a suit to match – again with its own set of pattern, fabric and colour combinations.
Patterns range from striped, plaid and geometric, to paisley, solid and conversational. Paisley is something of a repeating, curved design of Middle Eastern origin, usually involving an abstract or floral design set on a solid background. Plaid ties are generally very recognisable and feature overlaid stripes in varying colours and widths.
Material can come in many forms, such as silk, wool, cotton and standard linen. Then of course there’s the more intricate feel of knitted silk and knitted wool. ‘The knit’ as is commonly referred to has been in and out of fashion at various points. In fact, knit ties come back around so often it’s worth having a few on hand. These are generally larger, bulkier ties than the more common woven versions. They have a visibly bumpy texture and in some cases visible gaps in the fabric. The thickness makes for a nice, hefty knot, which can be great for larger men with broader faces, but not so easy to pull off if you’re on the slim to skinny side.
Knit ties are ideally used for when you want a little bit of a vintage feel, or when your outfit needs some texture to break up a flat look.
Now try getting all that decided upon and then pairing it with an adequately matched suit of similar materials, patterns and colours. It’s an all important measure to take too because as you may well be aware, it’s paramount that you ensure that nothing is going to clash in any way. So, should it be a navy, olive, brown, charcoal, grey or black suit? Should it be plain or pin-striped, or knitted even?
Then comes the final dilemma, and furthermore, the final challenge: just which knot to choose and exactly how to tie it. Most people are familiar with the simple back at school style over-twice-under-and-down method, while many opt for the full or half Windsor. But did you know that there are at least another eighteen or so different ways of tying a tie? Here are just a few:
- Four-In-Hand Knot
- Half Windsor Knot
- Full Windsor Knot
- Nicky Knot
- Bow-Tie Knot
- Kelvin Knot
- Oriental Knot
- Pratt Knot
- St Andrew Knot
- Balthus Knot
- Hanover Knot
- Plattsburgh Knot
- Grantchester Knot
- Victoria Knot
- Cafe Knot
- Eldredge Knot
- Trinity Knot
- Christensen Knot
In fact, there's a great article here, detailing the intricacies of modern tie tying.
Now obviously, if all that is too daunting, you could always settle for the method of the laid-back gentleman: simply reach into your cupboard and grab a pre-tied tie of choice and clip it straight on. Voila!
Anyway, I came across a great comparison site the other day offering all kinds of exclusive deals on ties. You can check it out here: http://www.for-sale.com/ties
Until next time..