Neckties, Cravats, Tie Bars, Tie Tacks, Cuff links, Bolas, Some guys really love them. Others really hate them! We are talking about that symbolic bastion of British snob attire, the gents tie. But where did they come from? Let’s take a look at a little Necktie history.
Britain!! would probably be your first guess, but a careful analysis of the history of neckties will reveal some interesting facts that show that they were popular in China many thousands of years ago and they came to Britain via the French, from Croatia from whence the name ‘Cravat’ originated.
· Necktie, neck tie, Cravat, cravats, scarves, all have a similar origin. Necktie history goes back many hundreds if not thousands of years and I guess the original idea was a very practical one. It was very convenient to have some sort of cloth draped around your neck to soak up the perspiration or perhaps to wipe your face.
· ‘Cravat’ (French, ‘Cravete’ a corruption of the word ‘Croat’ linking it with the land of Croatia, which traces its history to ancient Iran.) The Croatian soldiers wore a handkerchief around their necks made of standard or floral silk, as standard equipment to be used to either wipe their faces or as a bandage in case of wounding. The later uniform included a red necktie. – see ‘Croatian soldier’ link below.
· Cravat Day debuted on October 18, 2003; the Academia Cravatica undertook to wrap a giant red necktie around the Roman arena in Pula. However the practical application of this appendage was soon replaced by the potential to accentuate fashion for men, tie fashion in fact. Coat and tie fashion by extension.
George Bryan “Beau” Brummell (7 June 1778 – 30 March 1840) was an iconic figure in Regency England, the arbiter of men’s fashion, and a friend of the Prince Regent, the future King George IV. He established the mode of dress for men that rejected overly ornate fashions for one of understated, but perfectly fitted and tailored clothing. This look was based on dark coats, full-length trousers rather than knee breeches and stockings, and above all immaculate shirt linen and an elaborately knotted cravat.
Variations of the Necktie – The American Bola
Now mass-produced, and bolos are usually made of leather cord, with a silver or turquoise buckle. They are common throughout the west and are often worn for business. In 1971 Arizona legislature named the bolo the official state neckwear.
Where did the Bola Necktie originate?
Silversmith Victor Cedarstaff of Wickenburg, Arizona, claims to have invented the bolo tie in the late 1940s, and later patented his slide design. According to an article in Sunset: Victor Cedarstaff was riding his horse one day when his hat blew off. Wary of losing the silver-trimmed hatband, he slipped it around his neck. His companion joked, “That’s a nice-looking tie you’re wearing, Vic.” An idea incubated, and Cedarstaff soon fashioned the first 888bola (the name is derived from boleadora, an Argentine lariat).
Tie Bars, Tie Tacks Cuff links, and all that
It was only a matter of time before the neck Tie or the cravat would be seen as a marvelous display piece for jewelry.
The purpose of a tie bar of course is not just as a decoration as any man will tell you if he is trying to keep his tie out of the soup. A Tie bar or a Tie tack can do two jobs. Decorate as well as keep your tie pinned in place, far away from potential gravy discoloration. However there are other uses for tie jewelry, not necessarily connected to the masculine practicality of keeping it in place.