In class on Tuesday, one of the last things we discussed is how useless a necktie is. It doesn’t keep you warm, cover any part of your body, or serve any real purpose. People – usually men – wear ties to look professional and put together. In our society, ties are part of the accepted way to dress for special occasions, work, and other important events. There is practically no functional use for the necktie, but it is loaded with symbolism and meaning that our culture has placed on it over time.
When you take a second to really think about this idiotic piece of clothing it’s almost comical how much weight it carries. If you went to interview for an office job without your tie, it’s almost guaranteed you won’t get it. But you’re so talented and cool! It doesn’t matter. You’re tie – or lack thereof – is equally, if not more, important.
Well, that’s what I wanted to find out. People didn’t simply start wearing fabric around our necks as a fashion statement one day. Right?
Neckties have been around since the seventeenth century and have evolved into the tie you see adorning men everywhere today. During the Thirty Years War, King Louis XVIII hired Croatian mercenaries who wore cloth around their necks as part of their uniforms. At first, the tie was used to hold soldiers’ jackets together but the King liked the style so much he made neckties a popular fashion style that spread across Europe. (So, I guess someone actually did just start wearing fabric around their neck as a fashion statement one day…)
And that is where it all began.
Over the years, this neck accessory evolved from “la cravate” to bow ties, skinny ties, and wide ties, designed ties, bolo ties – all with many different ways to tie them.
I intended to write about coolness and how over time, the tie will be mocked and replaced by some other fashion statement, but after learning the history of the tie, its future looks bright. It may vary in size and shape and knot and color, but it will remain part of our society as a symbol for social rank, tradition and power. It is timeless.
Other clothing items and accessories won’t be as fortunate. They will be mocked mercilessly in the future because they don’t have the history or the ability to evolve with changing times. Can you picture a pair of Uggs thirty years from now? For everyone’s sake, I hope not. (But, they are comfortable and I will continue to wear them until mockery ensues.)
Who knew a tie meant so much?