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”)

Museum of Corporate Neckties

Museum of Corporate Neckties

Larry Gundersen's tribute to the organization man. Includes eight galleries of mostly blue-ish and purple-ish neckt… [read review or visit site]

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]

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

Most watched eBay auctions    

Dior Homme Aw06 Soft Wool Grey Knit Tie £250 Iconic Hedi Slimane Collectors ItemRare Vintage Hermes Paris Skinny Green Houndstooth Check Silk Tie Roman NumeralsIconic Burberry Signature Camel Beige Nova Plaid Check Silk Mens Tie Nr LuxuryLouis Vuitton 100% Genuine Blue Signature Embossed Silk TieRare Hermes Paris Thick Silk Weave Lavender Neck Tie 233623 Sa Made In FranceDior Homme Aw07 Iconic Bee Embroidered Black Silk Tie £250 Hedi Slimane Bn RareLouis Vuitton Made In Italy Signature Quatrefoil Taupe Tan Mens Silk Tie Nr LuxeHermes Tie 7159 Fa Chain Check On Red Narrow Silk NecktieAuthentic Hermes 5107ha Orange Tan Cap Shape Bright Nice Mens Silk Neck TieMint! Burberry London Nova Plaid Ta Red Black Silk Necktie Men Tie ItalyBurberry Plaid Nova Check Silk Men's Neck TieRarity Hermes Paris 7388 Blue Foulard Twill Green Grass Playing Turtles Silk TieLuxury Brioni Terracotta Rust Red Orange Micro Geometric Satin Silk Tie Is048 NrSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Gancini On Red Narrow Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Floral On Light Blue Silk NecktieAuthentic Mens Burberry Tie~grey PlaidSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Necktie 100% Silk Made In ItalyHermes Silk Tie 7477 Ia - Blue - Interlinked Trellis Pattern -Hermes HermHermes Silk Tie 7903 Ma - Blue - Script H Pattern - Boxed -Brioni Hand-made Jacquard-weave Silk Tie Necktie | Dis. NRecent Valentino Sky Blue Crystal Weave Solid Silk Tie Made In Italy Gorgeous NrHermes HermHermes Mens Silk Necktie 7321 Ea Violet Blue Nautical Sailor Knots RopesRare Authentic Blue Hermes Silver Shooting Star Lucky Tie 8cms 100% SilkVery Nice Dark Purple Louis Vuitton Paris Tie Pre-ownedHermes HermSalvatore Ferragamo Printed Foulard Silk Tie Cobalt Blue Gas Bubbles Nr LovelyBrioni Hand-made Satin Silk Tie Necktie Genuine Hermes French Geometric Blue Silk Tie €Italo Ferretti Made By Brioni Silvi Marina Purple Houndstooth Stripe Silk Tie NrUltra Mint $195 Hermes Paris Recent & Rare Pattern Men's Red Silk Tie - Euc & NrSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Angelfish On Dark Blue Silk NecktieHermes Paris Coral Red Twill Geometric Blue Links Mens Silk Tie France 5359 TaItalo Ferretti (maker Of Brioni Ties) Hand-made Jacquard Silk Tie | Pois NAuthentic Brioni 100% Silk Men's Neck Tie Made In Italy $215 Retail #2 $165 Burberry London Woven Silk TieGenuine Hermes French Chain Mofic Red Silk Tie €Ultra Mint $230 Brioni Italy Solid Black Satin Luxury Silk Tie - No Reserve100% Authentic Hermes Paris Golfers Golf Pga Blanket Design Tie France 5485 FaRecent $195 Hermes Paris Men's Autumnal Yellow Silk Print Tie - Euc & No ReserveDuchamp London Silk Men's Tie Black & Purple/floral Made In ChinaHermes -paris Classic Elegant Blue Patterned 100% Silk Tie Nos: 7175 Ua$195 Hermes Whimsical Tie Girafe Jockeys Light Blue X-long***hermes*** Yellow Silk Tie Duck And Duckling Design Super!!!!Authentic Hermes Brown Belts 100% Silk Mems Neck Tie 986 Sa Retail $220 No RerseSalvatore Ferragamo Printed Foulard Silk Tie Blue Butterfly Dragonfly Animal NrBeautiful Gray Giorgio Armani Tie Made In Italy*wow 1p Start* X 5 Hermes Ties( 7357pa) (7418ha) (7724 Oa) (7558 T-12) (7527 Ia)Salvatore Ferragamo Red W/ Repeated Floral Print 100% Silk Tie Made In Italy WowBrioni Copper Brown Intricate Silk Weave Paisley Neck Tie Made In ItalySalvatore Ferragamo Printed Foulard Silk Tie Navy Blue Floral Roses Flowers NrArmani Collezioni Black Twill Silk Subdued Grey Geometric Mens Tie Nr GorgeousHermes Tie Curved H On Blue Silk Necktie No. 7169 FaAuthentic Hermes Brown Belts 100% Silk Mems Neck Tie 831 Ea Retail $220 No RerseHermes Navy,red Silk Tie(nwot)Duchamp -london Designer Elegant Blue/lime Patterned Woven 100% Silk Tie Hermes Tie 5248 Sa Elephant On Grayish Purple Silk NecktieBurberry Tie Nova Check Stripe On Burgundy Red Woven Silk NecktieIridescent Duchamp London Blue Label Pink Black Bright Stripe Wild Silk Tie Uk~