Ties seem to be a pretty crazy accessory if you think about it. Cufflinks hold your cuffs together, belts hold your pants up, sunglasses shade your eyes, and ties? They, ummm… hang there and cover your shirt and maybe get caught in things in gruesome horror movies?
The inspiration for the tie did have a function, however. The “ties” of Croatian mercenaries, hired by King Louis XIII, were used to hold their cloaks/capes on.
Although we wouldn’t consider this a tie by any means, King Louis XIII did like the way that it looked.
Sometime after the 30 Year War started in 1618 and before King Louis XIII of France’s death in 1643, ties became common place. He even went so far as to require the look for his formal functions, and named it “La Cravate” in honor of the Croatian mercenaries that had helped him out so much. That is still the name for the accessory in French today.
As time progressed, so did the idea of a tie. Ties as we know them today didn’t come about until the early 1900s. Before that you would see what would more closely resemble what we would call cravats or ascots:
Those pictured above are considered cravats and were for more formal occasions. The difference between a cravat and ascot being that ascots were looser and more casual in their appearance:
The ascot was considered less formal and more for day wear. Consider it like a person wanting to look nice and be somewhat casual, but not have their chest hair or under shirt pop out underneath an open collar. The ascot started gaining its own steam around the early 1700s.
By then, decorating your shirt from the neck and collar region was fairly popular, and you would see crazier things like the jabot pop up in the 1800s:
and frilly poofy jabots:
Our ability to manufacture quality goods continued to steadily rise. And, although you might find the occasional bowtie in the 1800s somewhat resembling today’s look:
They were really not shaped and even back then.
This wasn’t until right around the year 1900 where that started kicking in and where the necktie started becoming more and more prominent and the others less so.
These days although bowties still hold their own, cravats and ascots have fallen to the wayside, and the clean and neat look of the necktie has become the standard.
…At least for now.
What do you guys think? We haven’t done a cravat or ascot in our subscription box yet, but writing this article kind of makes me want to put in a request for us to look into it.
Would you like the look, or do you think there’s a reason that neckties and bow ties dominate the market?