2,000 Years of the Necktie
The history of America's favorite Father's Day gift
Former president Clinton liked his colorful, while Regis Philbin wants his to match his shirt. The Duke of Windsor had a vast collection, but Col. Sanders always wears the same black one. And many men won't wear them at all.
Like them or not, neckties are the Father's Day gift. Americans spend more than $1 billion each year to buy a staggering 100 million ties. That's roughly one tie for every male over the age of 20 in the United States.
Men's neckwear has been made of every kind of material: silk, cotton, wool, leather, rope, string, lace, linen, rayon, and polyester. And whether they were called cravats, jabots, bandannas, bolos, ascots, bootlaces, bows, butterflies, kerchiefs, or simply ties, neckties have been closely linked to the male ego.
Ties have been used to proclaim status, occupation, and even identity, as well as allegiance to a group or cause, often military. Neckwear has also had utilitarian purposes—to protect the neck or hide buttons on a shirt.
The earliest known version of the necktie was worn by Shih Huan Ti, China's first emperor...
Sources: Neckwear Association of America, The Tie, by Sarah Giddings, Columbia Encyclopedia, fifth edition; Time Almanac, 1999; The Last Resorts, by Cleveland Amory, and the following web sites: http://web.mit.edu/invent/, http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/, http://www.ties.com