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History and Trends of the Necktie
March 12, 2014
Where does the necktie come from?
This is a question that we French should all be able to answer.
Because make no mistake, the necktie is an accessory born in France.
Without going into the pompous historical details, know only that the necktie was invented by a regiment of Croatian hussars, recruited by the army of King Louis XIII during the 30 years War (1618 - 1648). Indeed, in Croatia, tradition had it that warriors took with them a scarf: symbol of their conjugal fidelity, and keepsake of their family left at home.
In 1633 Cardinal Richelieu, forced to recognize the Croatian warriors' many qualities on the battlefield, recommended their recruitment into the French armies. This proved to be a wise decision since the Croatian hussars fought for France up until the dissolution of their regiment during the revolution.
During the thirty years war, the Croatian hussars stood out through their courage and combativeness, receiving honors from King Louis XIV, who named their regiment "Royal Cravate" (Royal Tie) in 1666.
The Croatian scarf was quickly adopted by the French aristocracy before being internationalized in Great Britain (the elegant Charles II, King of England, was one of the first Englishmen to wear one).
Today, the tie is universally accepted as a fundamental element while wearing a suit.
How is the necktie worn today?
Beyond the traditional silk version, neckties are today made with other materials such as wool.
Should also be noted (to my great delight) the return of the so-called "knit" necktie, which is made of knitted silk and, for me, dresses men up perfectly. But this renaissance of a tie model, "has been" since the mid-80s, was carried out at the cost of a resizing: the initial cut of these ties was abandoned in order to better correspond to the current standards, and was thus extended (traditionally, it barely reached one's navel).
Regarding "traditional" ties, not much has changed in recent years: the breakthrough of skinny ties ran out of steam; we now prefer hybrid models between skinny and wide (wide ties resembling a bib more than an elegant tie...).
Concerning patterns, as always it is in bad taste to wear models with printed patterns. Today, we love bold models, with "club" or spotted patterns. But in the end, and as always in terms of style, anything goes as long as you are comfortable wearing it (Authors note: I nevertheless maintain my veto on printed models, especially if they are too fanciful).