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 Aw07 Sleek Black Gradient Stripe Silk Tie £220 Hedi Slimane NavigateAuthentic Rare Louis Vuitton TieAuthentic Hermes 5107ha Orange Tan Cap Shape Bright Nice Mens Silk Neck TieGiorgio Armani Thick Woven Purple Geometric Rare 7 Seven Fold Silk Tie Nr WowRare Brioni Grenadine Effect Woven Silk Bicolor Floral Embroidered Thick Tie NrSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Rabbit & Turtle On Dark Blue Narrow Silk NecktieAuthentic Rare Hermes Paris TieIsw* ***interesting Design*** Hermes 813 Ma Burgundy, Gray Silk Tie Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Whale On Mint Green Silk Necktie100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Blue W/ Fun Dark Blue African Hippopotamus & Trees XlCurrent & Mint $190 Salvatore Ferragamo Iconic Red Horsebit Motif Silk Men's TieHermes Tie, Guaranteed AuthenticBeautiful Hermes Paris Neck TieHermes Herm100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Light Sky Blue W/ Whimsical Golden Snails Playing XlFun, Classic & Timeless Hermes Brown Dogs Chasing Red Yellow Stars Tie 7784 FaHermes HermHermes Mens Fashion TieTimeless Hermes Blue Tan Pumpkins Rose Red Autumn Halloween Tie 7519 Ia Nr 1Salvatore Ferragamo Silk Tie Necktie | Dragonfly Flower MotifsHermes Silk TieHermes Paris Gorgeous Sky Blue Silk Tie Made In France Model # 5294 TaHermes Silk Tie 5019 Ea - Blue - Abstract Squiggles -Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Gancini & Arch On Dark Blue Silk NecktieHermes Paris Tie Yellow With Multicolor Fans 100% Authentic Rare!Men's Hermes Tie, No Reserve!!$215 Brioni Luxurious Silver & Red Woven Silk Men's Tie 3.5" ~ Recent & PristineVintage Hermes Red And Eggplant Brown Geometric Tie 377 Ea Silk, Made In FrancePowerful Brioni Navy Jacquard Diamond Pink Floral Inset Thick Illusion Silk TieRecent Brioni Green White Houndstooth Luxury Silk Neck Tie $215Hermes HermBurberry Classic Plaid Necktie Neck Tie Burberrys Of LondonRecent $195 Hermes Paris Iconic Yellow "h" Icon Silk Men's Tie ~ One Minor FlawStunning Hermes Paris Neck TieSalvatore Ferragamo Scarf Print Silk Tie | Antique Nautical Navigation Motifs Salvatore Ferragamo Silk Tie | Belts Garters Collars Duchamp TieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Penguin On Orange Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Heart Chain On Light Blue Narrow Silk Necktie$215 Hermes Paris #5074-pa Rare Navy Sunflowers+smiley Suns 100% Silk TieWonderful Hermes Tie - Good Condition - Awesome PatternGiorgio Armani White Label Baby Blue Brown Multi Pencil Stripe Repp Silk Tie NrIsw* ***bold Print*** Brioni Black, Red, Silk Tie Hermes 731 Fa Rare Pre 1962 Vintage Black Silk Tie Black Horsebit Snaffle Lqqk~buck Auction~1��% Authentic Louis Vuitton Brown Monogram Mix Charm TieHermes Necktie Tie Pure Silk 3.5 Inches Wide Made In France Red / Blue Nice!Authentic Hermes TieLuxury Hermes Paris Red Colorful Horse Motif 100% Silk Thick Woven Neck Tie NrBrioni Hand-made Satin Silk Tie Necktie | Dis. NSalvatore Ferragamo Tie ClipSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Safari Animal On Orange Narrow Silk NecktieBrioni Hand-made Satin Silk Tie Necktie4 Hermes Tie BoxesFun & Timeless Hermes Grey Gekko Lizards Red Animal Thin Tie 5661 Ea 1Luxury Brioni Plush Silk Satin Finish Micro Stripe Ecru Wedding Tie Nr Classic100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Dark Red W/ Whimsical Blue European Long Tail Squirrels100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Aqua Blue Whimsical Yellow Love Birds Gray Hearts In TreeBeautiful Hermes Paris Neck Tie100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Yellow W/ Whimsical White Egyptian Camels & Palm Trees 100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Dark Red W/ Whimsical Yellow Golden Figs