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]

Ventagli.org

Ventagli.org

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]

Antiquespectacles.com

Antiquespectacles.com

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    

Coveted Tom Ford 100% Silk Royal Purple Ornate Knit Slinky Solid Tie Nr AmazingBrioni Tie For Men Blue And Flowers Excellent CondtionAuth Hermes Orange Blue Silk Geometric H Print NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Silk Tie | Eccentric Zebras With Pink Noses, Ears And TailsHermes Silk Tie - 7932 Ma Ducks & Ducklings Blue BackgroundHermes Paris Deep Berry Blue Red Geometric Chains Signature Silk Tie 7382 Pa NrHermes Paris , French Blue , Fine Grenadine Weave Silk Tie Very Good ConditionBrioni Satin Silk Hand-made Tie Necktie | PaisleyHermes Navy & Red Patterned 100% Silk TieHermes Silk Tie - 5022 Pa Dolphin Red / Maroon BackgroundSalvatore Ferragamo Orange Nautical Flag Bouy Print 100% Silk Neck Tie Italy100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Blue W Red Monkeys Swinging Vine Above Blue Crocodiles XlTom Ford Pink White Silk Wool Geometric Slim NecktieCurrent Hermes Blue Textured Weave #758957 T Mens Silk TieHermes Silk Tie - 5192 Ia Flying Puffins Light Blue BackgroundHermes Silk Tie - 5192 Ia Flying Puffins Green BackgroundHermes Silk Tie - 5459 Fa Rabbits With Foot Prints Purple / Indigo BackgroundHermes Silk Tie - 5439 Monkey Head & LeavesHermes Silk Tie - 5022 Pa Dolphin Light Purple / Violet BackgroundMen's Tom Ford Silk TieHermes Silk Tie - 5298 Ta Octopus Light Blue BackgroundHermes Green Patterned 100% Silk TieSalvatore Ferragamo Purple Pink Orange Snow Ski Tips 100% Silk Neck Tie ItalyHermes Silk Tie - 5248 Sa Elephants & Palm Trees 5248 Sa White /cream BackgroundMens Blue Pink Frogs Hermes 5115 Ha Silk Suit TieRecent & Mint $230 Brioni Printed Foulard Motif Silk Tie ~ Pristine ConditionSelf-tie Bow Tie Professionally Converted From Hermes Hermès Silk Tie 7571 Sa Hermes Silk Tie - 7960 Ea Sheep & Ducks & Clouds Purple BackgroundHermes Silk Tie - 7682 Ta Monkeys & Crocodiles Orange BackgroundHermes Silk Tie - 5272 Sa Rabbit & Seals Purple BackgroundSignature Hermes Paris Foulard Twill Orange Red Pixelated Grid Silk Tie 91 Ha NrHermes Hermès Silk Tie Necktie | 5209 Ia | Sheep And Herd DogsAuthentic Louis Vuitton TieGenuine Louis Vuitton - 100% Silk Neck Tie - Gray Necktie - Flawless & AuthenticMen's Louis Vuitton Silk Tie (light Blue, Navy)Hermes Brown Patterned 100% Silk TieHermes Silk Tie - 5248 Sa Elephants & Palm Trees 5248 Sa BackgroundHermes Silk Tie 100% Authentic Paris Mens Collection 2014 Turquoise Violet 100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Pink W/ Fun Scottish Bag Pipers & Sheep In The HighlandsHermes Silk Tie - 5012 Ea Honeycomb Design With Curve Olive Green BackgroundHermes Silk Tie - 5272 Sa Rabbit & Seals Chocolate Brown BackgroundHermes Stylish Skinny Tie Silk/wool "cravate Ephemere" Marine/navy ColorHermes Silk Tie - 7682 Ta Monkeys & Crocodiles Navy Blue BackgroundHermes Navy Red "h" Chain Link Pattern #810 Ma Mens Silk TieAuth Burberry Classic Plaid Neck TieL��k✨only 1 On Ebay✨100% Authentic Louis Vuitton Damier Black Petit Knit Tie��100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Navy Blue W/ Light Blue Modern Classic Wire H LinksHermes Silk Tie - 5321 Ta Horses & Jockey Pink BackgroundDuchamp London Silk Neck Tie Eggplant Purple Lavender Vivid Blue Green Weave UseHermes Paris France Made 7894 Ma Rocking Horse Play Chase 100% Silk Neck Tie Beautiful Brioni Silk TieNwot Hermes 100% Silk Suit Tie Made In France Red/white/blue Belt Buckle Rare NrHermes NecktieHermes Tie 5149 Ha Halloween Pumpkin On Light Blue Silk NecktieSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Animal Stripe On Yellow Silk NecktieMen's Authentic Hermes Paris 5344 Ta Horses Blue Silk Neck Tie Made In France Xl100% Real Hermes Tie ~ Red W Yellow Lucky Horseshoes & Blue Triangle Links Tiffany & Co. Tie, Wine Ground W/ Fish Design & Hermes Tie-multi Color Brioni Hand-made Jacquard-weave Silk Tie Necktie | Dis. N. B05002 | Skinny Men's Salvatore Ferragamo Silk Tie; Tan/animal Print