How Did Neckties Originate?
Today’s neckties are the direct descendants of the neckcloths worn by the Croatian troops in the army of the French King Louis XIV (1638-1715). The French called the neckcloth by the same name they called the Croat: Cravate. In English it became the cravat, ancestor of the modern tie. The boy-king Louis XIV began wearing a lace cravat about 1646, when he was seven, and set the fashion for French nobility.
This new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe; both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks. From its introduction by the French king, men wore lace cravats, or jabots, that took a large amount of time and effort to arrange. These cravats were often tied in place by cravat strings, arranged neatly and tied in a bow.
In the mid-1660s men of fashion began to adopt the cravat as a replacement for the large linen collars which were then customary. At first the chosen style consisted of linen strips tied at the throat in a bow with cravat-strings which were sometimes colored ribbons. Later the neckcloth was looped at the throat. By the turn of the century it had become wider with tasseled or lace-bordered ends.
Towards the middle of the 18th Century a twist of fashion decreed a stiff, folded neckband called the stock, which fastened at the back of the neck and became higher round the throat as the century progressed. Soon after 1800 the collar of the shirt began to appear above the stock and the neckband was worn almost to the ears.
As collars rose still higher, the folded stocks gave place to ties. These were sometimes very large, but smaller bow ties with the stocks were quite common. The frilled shirt gave way fast to the plain shirt front visible above the waistcoat. About the year 1840 men about town resorted to turning their collars down.
The modern necktie, ascot, and bow tie are generally unsized, but may be available in a longer size. In some cultures men and boys wear neckties as part of regular office attire or formal wear. Some women wear them as well but usually not as often as men. Neckties can also be worn as part of a uniform (e.g. military, school, waitstaff), whereas some choose to wear them as everyday clothing attire. Neckties are traditionally worn with the top shirt button fastened, and the tie knot resting between the collar points.