400th anniversary of the tie? Father's Day still has room for the tie
From the moment humans wore clothing, there were neckties. But at the dawn of man, they probably held up shirts.
Today the shirt holds the tie.
This year more than $13 billion will be spent on Father's Day and 40 percent of that is expected to be for clothing, according to the National Retail Federation. Some of that money is going to ties, even though the gift gets a bad rap somehow as the easy choice.
But it's still a good choice for dads who wear ties. After all, ties today are for decoration, and everyone wants to look good. Modern ties, in fact, have been making men look good for at least 400 years, though in different forms.
The earliest ties were actually scarves and they could signify rank or have a practical purpose.
According to the gentlemansgazette.com, Roman soldiers wore scarves, some tied at the neck, as a badge of honor. That was 113 AD.
Earlier than that, in 210 BC, Haung Dynasty soldiers were sculpted wearing wide scarves wrapped around their necks and tucked into their armor. This was possibly because it protected them from cold and irritation from the armor.
The modern tie is generally attributed to the Croatian mercenaries who served with both the French and Germans in 1618 during the Thirty Years War. The Croatian fighters wore wide collars tied at the neck, prompting the invention of the word cravat.
After that, men always were pictured with neckwear. For a brief period in the 18th century, men wore those folded, white, high, round collars, called a stock. If you think a tie is uncomfortable, think of wearing a stock made of horsehair.
By the late 1700s, fancy men wore neckties that were supposed to look casually thrown on and tied. In fact, dandy Beau Brumell took hours to tie his. That wouldn't do for the average fellow going to church.
Finally, after numerous changes of style and fabric, by 1900 the tie as we know it emerged, complete with a fashionable and easy way to tie it: The Four In Hand knot, still the most common knot tied today by dads heading off to the office.
Today, ties become skinny or fat, according to fashion, and are made with hundreds of different patterns and fabrics.