2,000 Years of the Necktie: Cambridge & Oxford School Ties

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Cambridge & Oxford School Ties

by David Johnson
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Neckties Through the Ages

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The I Zingari Cricket Club, founded by a group of Cambridge University students in 1845 is believed to have created the first sporting colors. They designed a flag of black, bright, orange-red, and gold, symbolizing "out of darkness, through fire, into light." Blazers, caps, and ties were eventually created in these colors.

Rowing colors

In 1880, the rowing club at Oxford University's Exeter College One men's club, invented the first school tie by removing their ribbon hat bands from their boater hats and tying them, four-in-hand. When they ordered a set of ties, with the colors from their hatbands, they had created the modern school tie. School, club, and athletic ties appeared in abundance. Some schools had different ties for various grades, levels of achievement, and for graduates.

Middle class pretensions

Such ties had enormous appeal to the vast Victorian middle class. As industrialization allowed for mass consumption of material goods, men wanted to stand out, to assert their social superiority, or to proclaim their allegiance to a group.

Today four-in-hand refers to both the standard necktie and the most common knot used to tie it.

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