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    

Burberry Check Tie - SkinnyHermes Tie 233623 Sa Basket Weave In Maroon Red Classic Knit Silk NecktieAuthentic Louis Vuitton 100% Silk Red Damier Tie Men'sHermes3 Tie 5664 Ea H Pattern Striped On Black 100% Silk Skinny NecktieBurberry Men's Necktie Manston Pink Heather Check Plaid $190Duchamp London Paisley Jacquard Silk Tie - Handmade In England – Rare & PristineAuthentic Louis Vuitton Logo Lv Orange Men's 100% Seta Silk TieAuthentic Hermes Paris Purple Red Green Tan Silk Tie 57" France 7124 FaTom Ford TieLouis Vuitton Blue Silk Monogram Pattern Mens Neck TieHermes Blue Squirrel & Rooster Blue #5720 Silk Neck TieHermes Purple Silk Horseshoe Printed NecktieHermes Crimson Burnt Orange Silk Leaf Patterned Classic TieHermes Tie 5121 Ha Snail On Green Classic 100% Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo2 Tie Gancini On Green 100% Silk Skinny Necktie Nice MintTom Ford Navy Blue Knit Neck TieHermes Tie 5361 Oa Chaine D'ancre H On Yellow Classic Silk NecktieLouis Vuitton Blue Silk Monogram Embossed NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Hedgehog Green Apple On Yellow 100% Silk NecktieLouis Vuitton Paric Gray 100% Silk Tweed TieLouis Vuitton Paris Tie 100% Silk Blue Color L61 W3.3Vtg Burberry Of London All Silk Skinny Red With Blue Flowers Repeat Pattern TieHermes Paris Made In France 964sa Purple Belt Silk Necktie Tie Hjn2017a #n27Hermes Paris Vintage Tie Red With ElephantsLouis Vuitton Black Checkered Silk Tie, Made In Italy, 60.75" Inches LongBvlgari Tie Bulgari Striped On Dark Blue Wide Silk NecktieBvlgari Davide Pizzigoni Tie Heavy Silk Water Drop Pattern Blue 7 Folds NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Dragonfly On Yellow Check Classic Silk NecktieHermes Paris Tie Luxury Silk Green Yellow Red Necktie 7642 Ta Made In FranceHermes Tie 100% Luxury Silk Necktie 978 SaMen's Bvlgari Orange Blue 100 % Silk 7 Fold TieSalvatore Ferragamo5 Tie Whale Elephant Bear Butterfly 100%silk Classic NecktieBvlgari Tie Bulgari Fancy Dot On Dark Blue Wide Silk NecktieHermes [ Paris ] { 7453 Ha } Men's Tie 100% Silk Made In FranceSalvatore Ferragamo Red With Gold Leaves Design Neck Tie 59.5/3.75Hermes Tie Paris Silk Designer Chaine D'ancre Pattern Pink Necktie 5450 FaHermes Ferragamo Silk Novelty Print Neck TiesHermes' Red Floral Design Neck Tie (7927 Ma) 61/3.75Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Turban Yokee On Dull Pink Classic Silk NecktieHermes Tile Pattern Silk TieHermes Silk Necktie - Sailing Ships Theme - U.s. SellerBvlgari Bulgari Tie 100% Silk Black/white/blue Color L58 W3.5Salvatore Ferragamo Olive Hunting Italy Silk Necktie Tie Hjn2017a #n03Salvatore Ferragamo Blue Tie With Dog Design Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Blue 100% Luxury Silk Racer Horse Men Pattern NecktieMen's Hermes Silk Tie (bats) 100% Silk #605721Nwot Beautiful Salvatore Ferragamo Mens Silk Dress Tie 58" X 3.5" Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Blue 100% Luxury Silk Leaves Leopards Pattern NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Blue 100% Luxury Silk Tiger Batch Pattern NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Silk Designer Buffalo Flower Pattern Blue Necktie ItalySalvatore Ferragamo Tie Blue 100% Luxury Silk Rabbit And Fruite Pattern NecktieMen's Burberry Gray ( Burberry Logo )silk Neck Tie Made In England Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Blue 100% Luxury Silk Ireland Pattern NecktieBvlgari Tie Heavy Silk Dots Pattern Black Dress Seven Folds NecktieAuthentic Giorgio Armani Silk Neck Tie Beautiful Red / Gold Elephants Bvlgari Davide Pizzigoni Tie Heavy Silk Helmet Armor Theme Blue 7 Folds NecktieBvlgari Tie Heavy Silk Geometric Pattern Blue Dress Seven Folds NecktieLn Hermes Paris Tan/blue Silk TieMen's Authentic Hermes Paris 7955 Ea Yellow 100%silk Neck Tie Made In FranceSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Blue 100% Luxury Silk Hand Bag Pattern Necktie