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    

Special Edition Hermes Tie Pour Merrill Lynch 100% Silk.made In France.#7539 1aTom Ford TieAuthentic Hermes Ties - 6 Piece Collection - Excellent ConditionHermes Ties: Two Classic Ties: #7694 Oa & #7668 TaBrioni Navy Blue Floral Leaf Twill Jacquard Silk Tie Made In Italy D070310 NrTom Ford Men's Black White Polka Dot Silk Bow TieHermes3 Tie 5652 Ea Woody Woodpecker On Blue 100% Silk Twill Skinny Necktie MintHermes5 Tie 7926 Ma H On Dark Blue 100% Silk Classic Necktie Nice MintBlack Label Charvet,paris/brioni-dot Ruby Rouge Silk Tie-$220Mens Burberry TieBvlgari Blue Ice Cream Cone Silk Tie 58" Nwot!Hermes France Origny Linstruction Du Roy Monter Cheval Scarf Pattern Necktie EucBlack Label Brioni-beautiful Dot Drop 100%silk Tie-$230-fathers Day ?Salvatore Ferragamo Mens Navy Blue Yellow Silk Fish Printed NecktieHermes Tie Mens~ Paris Authentic Thick Silk Tie~blue ~ Made In France Authentic Hermes Tie -set Of 2 Excellent Condition! Red Blue Pattern Silk FranceHermes Paris Made In France 5288ta Blue Swirl Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a37Louis Vuitton Mens Damier Silk Necktie Tie Brown Hermes Paris Made In France 5040pa Blue Geometric Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a02Brioni Liquid Gloss Satin Marine Navy Blue Cornflower Multi Stripe Silk Tie Nr100% Auth Hermes Tie H Zipper Gray-blue Heavy Twill 645815 Ia FlawsHermes Tie Necktie Zigzag Link Blue-red # 7090 OaHermes Paris Made In France 758709t Red Contrast Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a14Hermes Paris Made In France 968sa Red Rope Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a33Salvatore Ferragamo Gold Blue Moon Stars Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a09Salvatore Ferragamo Blue Sheep Repeat Print Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a06Brioni Men's Silk Tie, Xl 64"l, 3.5"w, Geometric, Silver Blue Red, Italy, EucHermes Tie 831 Ea100% Luxury Silk Necktie#er2Salvatore Ferragamo7 Tie Snowy Ski Mountains Gray 100% Silk Classic Necktie MintHermes Tie Twill Silk Designer Swirls Pattern Baby Blue Dress Necktie 7955 EaSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Silk Designer Horseshoe Diamond Theme Gray Necktie ItalyHermes Tie Twill Silk Designer Ribbon Rosette Pattern Red Dress Necktie 7170 FaHermes Tie Twill Silk Tulips Flower Design Pattern Green Dress Necktie 7449 HaHermes1 Tie Faconnee Jacquard H On Orange Classic 100% Twill Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Blue Tiger Hunting Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a18Hermes Paris Silk Tie Designer Ladybug Pea Pattern Brown Necktie France 7799 FaHermes Tie Twill Silk Designer H Figure Pattern Gray Dress Necktie 5359 OaPre Owned Brioni 100% Silk Men's Long Tie Made In Italy Gold Chain Mixed ColorsHermes Tie Twill Silk Designer Stirrup Link Pattern Blue Dress Necktie 7053 TaHermes Tie Twill Silk Designer H Curve Figure Pattern Blue Dress Necktie 7029 Ta100% Auth Hermes Tie Faconnee H Purplish Blue FlawsSalvatore Ferragamo 100% Silk Tie Blue Whimsical Made In Italy 100% Auth Hermes Tie Fish Purplish Blue 7862 Ua FlawsAuth Hermes France Blue Oval Print Silk Tie 7695 OaSalvatore Ferragamo Mens Red Pink Silk Deer Snowflake Printed NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Blkue Floral Italy Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a01Salvatore Ferragamo Red Elephant 100% Silk Tie - Italy - Euc!Authentic Hermes Paris 5338ta Red Light Tan Geometric Shape Mens Silk Neck TieTie By BrioniBrioni Thick Woven Texture Raisin Purple Satin Multi Stripe Silk Tie Nr PowerHermes Tie Guc Silk Designer Squirrel Animal Pattern Sky Blue NecktieBrioni 100% Silk Hand Made In Italy Neck Tie Mint ConditionHermes Men's Chartreuse Green Woven H Pattern Silk Neck Tie Made In FranceHermes Tie 5261 Sa Men's Red & Blue Silk Neck Tie W/ Link Pattern Made In FranceGiorgio Armani Neck Tie Floral Pattern On Black Silk Men's Tie Made In ItalyBrioni Red & White Striped 3.5" Wide Silk TieMens Brioni Handmade Light Blue Yellow Geometric Flower 100% Silk Neck Tie ItalyHermes Neck Tie Green And Blue Link PatternHermes - Paris - Lt. Blue With Blue/silver Connecting - Silk Tie - 60"l 3 5/8"wSalvatore Ferragamo Blue Sun Sky Stars Silk Necktie Tie Hmy1817a #a10