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    

Tom Ford Black Handmade Bow Tie Bnwt Made In ItalyTom Ford Grey Check Wool & Silk Tie Handmade In Italy BnwotTom Ford Dark Blue Spotted Mulberry Silk & Wool Pocket Square BnwtTom Ford Light Grey Spotted Mulberry Silk & Wool Pocket Square BnwtBurberry London 3000 Mens Blue Silk Plaid Neck Tie Skinny Tie ��Mens Duchamp 100% Silk Neck Tie Mwtags Gorgeous Look!! Made In EnglandLouis Vuitton Tie Necktie 100% Silk Mens Monogram Lv Vintage Gold ***hermes*** 100% Silk Tie Pale Greeny / Blue Seagull Design Superb!!!HermÈs Hermes H 7000 Sa 100%silk Seide Tie Krawatte Navy Blue RedLouis Vuitton Silk Tie, Damier Pattern, Dark BlueSalvatore Ferragamo Floral Grey Silk Necktie TieFun & Timeless Hermes Gray Hippos & Birds Orange Animal Tie 5271 Sa Nr 1¢Brioni Skinny 3" Burgundy Blue Grey Silk Neck Tie Hermes Tie - Rabbits And Seals ***salvatore Ferragamo** Silk Tie Blue Pelican Design Excellent Condition SuperbHermes Tie Pristine 9cm Rrp £130Burberry London Tie Woven Silk Giant Check Pattern Brown Dress Necktie ItalyBurberry London - Men's Novacheck Tie - 100% Silk - Pink & PurpleNwot Burberry London Men's Check Silk Neck Tie Italy Red ��Tom Ford Black White Polka Dot TieHermes Paris Made In France Yellow Gold Peace Dove Bird Rare Silk Tie 5299 TaHermes Paris Blue With Red Geometric Pattern 100% Silk TieHermes5 Tie 5534 Ua Rocking Horse Jockeys Racing Bicycles Orange 100% Silk FlawsBurberry London Blue Beige Stripes 100% Silk Tie***hermes*** Blue / Grey 100% Silk Tie Bear / Butterfly Design Superb!!!***hermes*** 100% Silk Tie Pink / Blue Fish Design Superb!!!Hermes Paris 7674 Ta Tie 100% Silk Pink/blue Color L57 W3.3Hermes Paris Made In France Green Gold Red Interlock Geometric Silk Tie 962 IaRarely Used Mens Ties - Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Pink, DunhillFun & Timeless Hermes White Goose Sheep & Clouds Yellow Tie 7960 Ea Nr 1¢Recent Burberry Made In Italy Charcoal Woven Tonal Tartan Nova Plaid Silk Tie NrBrioni Pink Diamond Weave Textured 100% Silk Necktie Disn. B08007Hermes Paris Made In France Foulard Twill Sky Blue Bunny Rabbit Silk Tie 7900 Ma***hermes*** 100% Silk Tie Blue Duck / Duckling Design Superb!!!Tom Ford Green Knit TieSalvatore Ferragamo Silk Tie, Navy Blue With Seal Print Rrp £140Gorgeous Hermes Paris 7361 Pa Tie 100% Silk Flamingo Pattern Green Color L57w3.5Bvlgari Green Blue Orange Fire Fly Print Design 100% Silk TieBrioni Elegant Red Black Micro Polka Dot Stripe Knot Print 100% Silk NecktieSmooth Hermes Paris 7530 Ia Tie 100% Silk Mermaid Sea Pattern Red Color L57 W3.5Brioni Roma Vintage Basket-weave Silk Tie Necktie | Skinny 3.125" / 8cmBurberry London Checks Signature Blue Silk Necktie TieHermes Paris 5425 Oa Silk Blue/beige Necktie TieGorgeous Brioni Tie 100% Silk Blue/beige/white Color L60 W3.9Hermes Silk Tie -made In France- 7220 Ea - 57" Black W/ White Dots And Gray GridHermes Tie Pristine 9.5cm Rrp £130Hermes Hermès Vintage Silk Tie Necktie | 790 Ma | Equestrian Horse Bit MotifSalvatore Ferragamo Tie Frog & Leave On Salmon Pink Classic Silk NecktieHermes Paris Made In France Mocha Brown Lilac Purple Geometric Silk Tie 7990 EaHermes Paris 7087 Oa Tie 100% Silk Burgundy/grey/white Color L56 W3.1Gorgeous Hermes Paris 7489 Ia Tie 100% Silk Mill Pattern Pink Color L57 W3.5 Hermes Silk Tie -made In France- 7953 Ma - 60" Peach With Blue Chain PatternHermes Silk Tie -made In France- 5037 Pa - 60" Yellow With Blue Star PatternHermes6 Tie 5256 Sa H Pattern Green Lemon Twill Classic 100% Silk Necktie FlawsHermes Silk Tie -made In France- 7308 Ea - 56" Red With Rope Heart PatternHermes Silk Tie -made In France- 7029 Ta - 55" Gray With Rounded H PatternTom Ford TieMen's Salvatore Ferragamo Ducks Orange Silk Neck Tie Made In ItalyGorgeous Hermes Paris 7841 Ua Tie 100% Silk Boat Sea Pattern Blue Color L62 W3.5***hermes*** Apple Green Silk Tie, Raccoon Design Superb.....