Listen Up Boys!

January 21, 2011

If the New York Times says bow ties are coming back, then bow ties are most definitely coming back.  Well suited for early spring,  as the color palette lightens from Black to purple ( yes purple is big! and fuchsia, and all the other Easter egg colors spring allows for ) the bow tie has an interesting history…

The bow tie dates back to the 17th century. During the 30 Years War, Croatian mercenaries went to France to show their support to King Louis. In order to keep their shirts closed, (apparently they didn’t have many buttons), they wrapped a loosely fit tie around their necks. The early form of today’s men’s tie served two purposes: (1) To keep the top of their uniforms closed, and (2) to protect the soldiers’ necks from the cold wind and rain. Some historians still argue that besides having a solely practical purpose, it was also inspired by fashion.

King Louis was impressed with how bravely the Croats were fighting on the side of his men. He found liking in their uniforms, in particular the tie. He liked this piece of clothing so much that he adopted it, and made it a required piece of fashion accessory for the upper class during formal functions. To honor the Croats, he gave the tie the name “La Cravat” a name still used today in France.

Over time, the fabric of the tie changed from fine cotton to the most expensive silk. Initially the first ties were white in color. They served both as a fashion statement, and as a sign to distinguish between classes. Neckties was a symbol for affluence and sophistication.  And, don’t we all strive for sophistication? …well maybe not but if your feeling fashionably sassy, tie a bow tie on and step-up to the fashion plate.


2 Responses to “Listen Up Boys!”

  1. sagemag Says:

    I learned something new! Thanks for sharing the history of bow ties. I’m always interested in learning about the history of fashion.

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