Neckties as we think of them today weren’t widely worn until the late 19th century, when they became a symbol of British gentry. The wide Windsor knot was devised for King Edward VII, and this style of tie spread to Ivy League schools and the white-collar world. However, it was U.S. tailor Jesse Langsdorf who came up with the three-segment bias cut in 1924 that became the staple of modern ties.

In the 1920s, ties were much shorter than they are today, as men wore their pants at or above their waists. Ties got skinny in the '40s and '50s, and wide again in the '60s, when Kipper ties were all the rage. Slim ties were preferred by the punks and New Wavers of the '70s and '80s, though, as respectable medium-width ties were worn by corporate “suits.”

Silk is the most popular material for neckties, but they’ve been made of everything from polyester to wool. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Prada, Gucci, and Salvatore Ferragamo have produced ties in a wide variety of colors and patterns, from solids and stripes to dots, checks, chevrons, houndstooth, paisley, and plaid. Burberry, naturally, sells ties in its famous check pattern, while Louis Vuitton and Gucci have incorporated their iconic logos into their patterns.

Perhaps the most coveted designer ties are the animal-print ties made by Hermès. This design firm first made its mark on the fashion world in 1937 with luxurious hand-stitched and hand-printed silk scarves bearing a wide range of imagery, including coats of arms, equestrian motifs, 18th-century maps, neo-Grecian embroidery, and patterns inspired by artists M.C. Escher and Piet Mondrian.

Hermès, credited with pioneering silkscreen printing on ties, began selling neckties in the 1950s, but these were only made for the company's Monte Carlo shop, where tieless gamblers would come to buy neckwear to gain admission to the casino.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that Hermès introduced its wildly popular line of animal-print neckties that went beyond the standard horses and game birds. This line, starting with elephants spurting water from their trunks, has featured hippos, pandas, koala bears, and lambs out of St. Exupéry’s “The Little Prince.”

Hermès ties have avoided the stigma of goofy novelty ties featuring pin-up girls or Santa Clauses because the animals are part of a subtle over-all pattern that looks tasteful wi...

Tom Ford, who kicked off a new era of elegance in men’s fashion starting in the early '90s at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, is another highly sought-after tie designer, as is Vitaliano Pancaldi, whose ties are considered works of art.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Black Tie Guide

The Black Tie Guide

Peter Marshall became an authority on formalwear out of necessity — he needed a tux to wear on the maiden transat… [read review or visit site]

Anna Checcoli's homage to the beauty and art of hand fans ('ventagli,' in Italian). Use the left-hand nav to browse… [read review or visit site]

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

The Fashion Columbia Study Collection (FCSC) is the digital home of the Columbia College Chicago’s fashion archiv… [read review or visit site]

Dr. David Fleishman's comprehensive spectacles site (over 3500 images), in collaboration with museums around the wo… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Hermes 7932 Ma Tie 100% Silk Made In France -green/beige/brown Color L58.3 W3.5Iconic Dior Homme Solid Midnight Black Ink Satin Solid Skinny Tie Rockstar NrBrioni Recent Satin Gloss Deep Cobalt Power Blue Orange Block Stripe Silk Tie NrBrioni Recent Navy Midnight Blue Pink Infinity Scroll Satin Gloss Silk Tie NrDuchamp London Tie Silk -multi Color L59.1 W3.3Brioni Recent Metallic Shimmering Bronze Copper Blue Pebbled Geometric Silk TieSignature Hermes Paris Vert De Terre Woven Jacquard Faconnee Monogram Silk TieLouis Vuitton Paris Monogram Tie 100% Silk -blue/brown Color L57.1 W3.3Brioni Recent Baby Pink Woven Solid Geometric Jacquard Blocks Thick Silk Tie NrUsed Tie Cravatta Hermes 5541 Ua Sheep & CloudBrioni Hand-made Jacquard-weave Silk Satin Tie Necktie Authentic Burberry Nova Check (plaid) Classic Men's Tie Brioni Recent Sage Green Satin Gloss Chevron Herringbone Woven Lustrous Silk TieBrioni Recent Micro Weave Satin Gloss Power Pink Geometric Blocks Silk Tie NrFaberge Tie Silk Multi Color Pattern Like Hermes & Salvatore Ferragamo-l62.2w3.9Isw* Hermes 914 Ha Red Silk Tie ***cool Pattern***Burberry London Tie - Pink NecktieBrioni Recent Metallic Shimmering Satin Turquoise Green Blue Geometric Silk TieSalvatore Ferragamo Foulard Twill Grass Green Flying Birds Whimsical Silk Tie NrLuxury Hermes Paris Light Blue Navy Spotted Polka Dot 100% Silk Woven Tie - 3.5"100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Pea Green W Whimsical Blue Beavers Chopping Trees XlLovely Salvatore Ferragamo Pale Blue Foulard Twill Silk Green Butterfly Tie NrSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Car & Turtle On Light Blue Silk NecktieIsw* Armani Collezioni Navy Silk Tie Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Fish On Pink Silk NecktieBurberry Neck Tie Nova CheckLuxury Burberry London Tie Classic Light Blue Nova Check With Claret AccentBurberry's Vintage Nova Check Silk Tie -england- Blue Label (rare)Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Dolphin On Dark Salmon Pink Silk NecktieMen's Hermes Silk Tie - Excellent ConditionUsed Tie Cravatta Burberry LondonRecent Hermes Paris Lime Green Foulard Twill Silver Chain Links Silk Tie 5450 FaMen's Brioni Striped Tie Excellent ConditionL��k✨exclusive✨100% Authentic Louis Vuitton Papillion Opera Black Bow Tie��hotBurberry Black &gray Equestrian Tie Cufflinks & Pocket Square Gift Set 100% SilkBrioni Tie 100% Silk Blue/grey/white Color Like Duchamp London L61 W3.7 Ref B2Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Rope Gancini & Flag On Light Green Narrow Silk Necktie100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Cherry Red Tan Sheep Rabbit Rooster Snail On H Fence XxlEstate Mens Tie Duchamp London England Handmade Silk Floral 3 3/4" X 60 1/4 "Brioni Satin Silk Tie Necktie | Dis. 00807Isw* Hermes 7229 Ua Tie ***beautiful Flower Design***100% Authentic Burberry London Salmon Color Silk Tie 58 X 4 InchesHermes Tie 5382 Ia Tiger & Monkey On Orange Silk Necktie100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Florescent Green W Salmon Swimming Upstream Waves XlUsed Tie Cravatta Vintage Hermes 208 UaGucci Tie Tom Ford Era! Beautiful Peacock Feathers Design!Men's Hermes Silk Tie - Excellent ConditionSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Ship On Blue Silk NecktieStunning Duchamp Harlequin Pink Orange Lime Green Yellow Purple Color Block TieNwot Louis Vuitton *paris 100% Silk Suit Tie *made In Italy Striped Msrp $350 Nr100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Orange W/ Fun Whimsical Salmon Swimming Upstream XlBrioni Extra Long 62" Woven Black W/ Pink Check 100% Silk Tie Italy ExcellentHermes Of Paris 54" Long 3" Wide Authentic Silk Neck Tie Great Shape!Brioni Bright Blue Birdseye Geometric Woven 100% Silk Mens Tie Xl - 3.625"100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Navy Blue W Light Blue Lemons & Lemon Slices WedgesIsw* Hermes 7201 Ua Navy, Silk Tie =near Mint!= Isw* Recent Brioni Red, Black Striped Silk Tie Unique Hermes Silk Textured Bubble Dot Tapered Stick Blue Silver Pink Neck TieAuthentic Hermes Paris Designer Blue 7124fa Equestrian Horseshoe Silk Skinny TieUsed Tie Cravatta Salvatore Ferragamo Saddle