Neckties may seem like a fashion trend from the United States’ Big Business Era, but did you know that ties existed as early as 210 B.C.? That’s right, necktie accessories were found in the tomb of China’s first emperor, Shih Huang Ti. Silk neckties adorned 7,500 replica soldiers who were said to protect Shih Huang Ti while he laid to rest in his sarcophagus. This discovery was made recently, in 1974, when the emperor’s tomb was unearthed. It left many people baffled because the Ancient Chinese had never been associated with the necktie trend.
The next wave of necktie popularity was what sparked the fashion trend that we know today; it began sometime during the Thirty Years War, which lasted from 1618 to 1648. A military regiment from Croatia visited Paris and were presented as heroes to King Louis XIV. The officers were wearing brightly colored handkerchiefs around their necks. These neck cloths most likely descended from the Romans, where orators would wear cloth around their necks to warm their vocal chords. This trend delighted the king, who was known for his eye for fashion. Shortly after, he designated tie knots a national symbol for royalty. Soldiers showed their rank by the quality of their linens. The fashion trend swept through France and the term “cravat” stuck as the name.
From that point on, the tie knot has been a permanent fixture in men’s (and women’s) fashion. The styling has undoubtedly evolved through the years; the next variation was called a military Steinkirk, named for the Battle of Steenkerque in 1692. This style came about when soldiers were dressing in a hurry, so instead of knotting their linens, they would twist the ends and stuff them through their jacket’s buttonhole. These Steinkirks looked similar to the ties we know today.
Stocks, Solitaires, Neckclothes, Cravats were the trend from 1720-1800. These neck accessories had many variations and a sense of personal style was shown in the length and knot one chose to display. The bandanna became popular in the West, where cowboys would use them to keep the dust off their face. This was also the time when sailors picked up on the trend and would typically wear a blue scarf to compliment their blue and white uniforms.
In the 1850s, interest grew in cravats and the different ways to tie knots. Publications, such as “Neckclothitania,” became popular. This particular book contained directions and illustrations on how to tie 14 different cravats. This was also the first time that the word ‘tie’ was associated with the neckwear. The Ascot, Four-in-hand tie, Long Tie, and Bow Tie had their phase until the 1920s, where the modern day tie we know took over in popularity.