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”)

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]

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]

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 Paris Made In France Blue Red Geometric Ladder H Print Silk Tie 5532 UaTom Ford TieBurberry London Hand Made England Blue Jacquard Tartan Nova Plaid Silk Tie IconRecent Brioni Hand Made 100% Italian Silk Tie Blue Floral Geometric Dot PrintHermes Tie Pristine 9cm Rrp £130Hermes Blue Silk Cloud Tie Size 3.5 / 60 5181 IaHermes Paris Made In France Blue Grey Roped Link Geometric Silk Tie 7822 Ua NrHermes Men's Grey & White Chainlink Print Silk Tie 938 LaLucky Hermes Paris Made In France 888 Pa Navy Blue Rare Geometric Silk Tie NrHermes Paris Made In France Ocean Blue Splash Tendril Geometric Silk Tie 7759 FaHermes Paris Made In France Wild Orange Multi Stripe Twill Silk Tie 5257 Sa NrVintage Hermes Made In France Blue Emerald Green Chain D'ancre Silk Tie 623 SaClassic Hermes Mens Purple Silk Neck Tie 26 Ua Geometric Diamond Pattern FranceGiorgio Armani Classico Italy Black Gloss Satin Ribbed Solid Wedding Silk Tie NrLouis Vuitton Mens TieHermes Navy Blue Horse Print Neck TieHermes Blue Silk Chain Print Neck TieBvlgari Men's Navy Blue & Light Blue Spotted Silk TieAuthentic Hermes Green Belts Silk Mems Necktie Tie 7021 Ta $220 Salvatore Ferragamo Tie Penguin On Blue Skinny Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Sheep & Floral On Red Skinny Silk NecktieLuxury Hermes Mens Blue Silk Neck Tie 7920 Ma Bears In Honeycomb FranceClassic Hermes Mens Blue Silk Neck Tie 7307 Ea Geometric Box Pattern FranceLouis Vuitton Tie 10000% Authentic Damier Pattern TieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Turtle & Car On Light Blue Classic Silk NecktieBulgari Bvlgari Blue Lilac Seven Fold Lavender Crosshatch Grid Ribbed Silk TieBurberry London Men's TieHermes Black/white Flower Design Silk Tie/necktie/neck TieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Bird On Salmon Pink Skinny Silk NecktieBrioni Satin Silk Hand-made Tie Necktie | Dis. 03406 | Flower And Leaf Pattern100% Auth Hermes Tie Silk Necktie Mens Whimsical Whales Pattern 7294Giorgio Armani White Label Maroon Satin Woven Honeycomb Cube Spotted Silk Tie NrHermes Blue Red Green Silk Beer Tie Size 3.5 / 58 , 7347 PaSalvatore Ferragamo Green Blue Running Rabbits Bunny Print 100% Silk NecktieLiquid Midnight Brioni Roma Navy Dark Blue Satin Silk Wet Butter Soft Tie Wow!Burberry Yellow W/ Red/blue/yellow Flower Design Silk Tie/necktie/neck TieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Saddle On Red Skinny Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Mens 100% Silk Necktie Italy Animal Print Ducks Lavender 61"Salvatore Ferragamo Pink Purple Basketweave Geometric Print 100% Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Blue Duck Mallard Critter Print 100% Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Gancini On Orange Skinny Woven Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Pristine 10cm Rrp £130Brioni Red Silk Printed Patterned Mens Neck TieNo Reserve Authentic Salvatore Ferragamo 100% Silk Neck Tie Made In Italy Hermes 100% Silk Tie." One Of A Kind"Men's Burberry Bow Tie With Check PatternSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Green With Pink Dragonflies 100% AuthenticHermes Tie Faconnee H In Dark Blue Skinny Jacquard Twill Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Golf Club On Pink Skinny Silk NecktieHermes Tie 5391 Oa Animals & Florals On Dark Blue Classic Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Penguin On Red Skinny Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Floral & Butterfly On Cyan Blue Classic Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Present On Blue Classic Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Parachute On Dark Blue Classic Silk NecktieBrioni Tie / Silver / Geometric Diamonds / StripeHermes Pocket Square Foulard Silk Seta Made In France X1779Rare Salvatore Ferragamo Made In Italy Green Woven Wave Stripe Sailboat Silk TieMint Authentic Hermes Dark Blue Silk Mems Necktie Tie 7092 Oa $220 Hermes Red Silk TieSalvatore Ferragamo Purple Silk Tie Size 3 / 59.5