The History of the Necktie in pills.

A black Stock
a Black STOCK

An informal presentation on the History of the Necktie at Dante Alighieri Hong Kong on 18.IV.2013 made me think deeply about this particular subject.

Here are some snippets:

In Spanish it is called corbata, kravate in German, cravate in French, Cravatta in Italian and nekutai in Japanese.

Bandana is Sanskrit, focale-focalis or sudarium in Latin. Necktie is American but if you talk of a cravat with a British he may think of something like a scarf, if he is well acquainted with the past, or an ‘Ascot’ if he is not.

The modern tie was created around 1850 in England. Macclefied – Surrey. That place had the largest number of weaving, dyeing and printing mills for silk  in the world, 71 by 1821.

With a tie on a man looks better, slimmer, taller, due to the verticality of the line.

Uniform is everything, and yes, most women love them. If you dress like a general, people will think you are a general until the contrary will be demonstrated.

To pull a man by the tie was a capital offence, it is called peanuting.

Women often make the mistake with men to give them a tie they like, not what men like. When a girl gives a tie to a man a mistake may be more serious than she may imagine, a form of disrespect for the man.

The bowtie is still out of fashion, it received a lot of bad press in the 1970-1980.

In the book “Dress for Success” a sort of bible in the seventies for men we read and I quote: “You will not be taken seriously if you wear a bowtie. Most people will not trust you with anything important. In general, I have found that people believe that a man wearing a bowtie will steal.”

Stone age. Look at the picture below, the tie or something like this could be around since many thousand years. As the mark of a chieftain.

During the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648)  Croatian mercenaries in the French Army sported a sort of cravate. But the link between Croats and the cravate or the tie is not real. Simply not true even if necktie day is celebrated in Croatia, on October 18th, but they did not invent it.

Eustache Dechamp, a contemporary of Petrarch in the XIV century wrote in a ballad ‘Faite restraindre sa cravate’ ‘tighten his cravat’.

Venetian Cesare Vecellio used the word ‘Cravatta’ in the year 1590 in his book about the clothing used in different part of the World.

STEINKIRK battle of, fought in 1692.

Legend has that while  in Holland, some British soldiers launched a surprise attack on the French army. In order to hurry to battle the French had no time to tie properly their cravats so they twisted it and passed the extremities in their buttonhole’s lapel. This became very popular and remained so for over 100 years. Look at the picture of Gemelli Careri below.

Somebody says that Europe esperienced a small glacial period from 1645 until 1715, due to solar activities, and this according to some explain the explosion in the use of cravats and bandannas during that particular period.

Venetian Lace. Gross Point of Point de Venise was indeed very popular at that time  and reached a mania status all over the world, in England and France and the America.  Huge money was spent on it. Louis XIV was a great fan of Venetian lace.

The stock appeared in 1715 in Germany. Was a sort of rigid collar for military use, tightened at the back. The Solitaire was a bow made in front when wearing a toupee’ on the head and a stock.


They were smuggled into Europe from India and perhaps because they were prohibited under the Calico Act from 1700 – 1720 and this may have aroused the curiosity that caused a lot of smuggling throu France.

GEORGE BRUMMELL (1778 – 1840) Beau Brummell

His best years were 1800-1830. After Oxford he joined the Hussars and became a friend of the ‘Prinny Prince’ George IV (who loved black stocks). He became a kind of new Petronius Arbiter of fashion.

He said of himself: I was a nobody that became somebody and gave the law to dress  to everybody.

He was a gentleman because he looked like one and was better than all the others.

He re-invented fashion for man: Blue jacket, buff color trousers and vests, black boots. Bright white cravat.

No vulgar show, no eccentricity, just being in order. Geometric lines. This is indeed is Brummellian!


Tailors make you suit but you have to tie your cravat. One of the only items where men can express their vanity. Knowing 3 basic knots is enough for a gentleman: the Oriental, half Windsor and Windsor.

Pratt Knot ( also known as Shelby) is the la latest invented, in 1989. Basically it is a half Windsor reversed.

Mr. Le Blanc said that knot a bandana is art but knot a tie is science.

Theoretically speaking the maximum possible number of knots is 85.


Lord Brummell (1778 - 1840)
Lord Brummell (1778 – 1840)


Neapolitan traveller Gemelli Careri sporting a Steinkirk
Neapolitan traveller Gemelli Careri sporting a Steinkirk


A Venetian Lace (Point de Venise)
A Venetian Lace (Point de Venise)


A Warrior of Xian sporting a cravat
A Warrior of Xian sporting a cravat


The prehistoric origins of the necktie
The prehistoric origins of the necktie


Men's ego in relation to the Tie
Men’s ego in relation to the Tie


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