Ties reveal a lot about its wearer, his social position, his aesthetic tastes or even his political stance. The tie’s grip on the civilised gentleman’s throat has loosened somewhat, but you’ll still find that it hangs proudly in the most sartorially savvy men’s wardrobes. The latest Philippe Perzi Vienna online collection feature luxurious silk ties with mini-motifs, full-bodied wovens along with more preppy rep stripes and everything in-between. So, in celebration of the tie, we’ve compiled some interesting facts for you:
Tie Fact #1
How many knots can you do? Three tie knots are commonly known today: the Four-in-hand, the Windsor and the half-Windsor. In contrast, if you lived in the nineteenth century, you’d have to familiarize yourself with over 40 knots! Numerous written accounts from the 19th Century offer concise guidelines not only on how to correctly tie a knot, but also on which knot to choose depending on one’s personality and build.
Tie Fact #2
Did you know that in 1999, 2 Physicists from Cambridge identified mathematically, 85 different ways to tie a tie? Think that’s impressive? Well, 2 Swedes decided to top that and in 2013, after watching ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and noticing that one elaborate knot featured in the movie wasn’t on the 1999 list, decided to investigate. They took the mathematical formula back to the drawing board and came up with 177,147 possible knots! Impressive…yes, but our bet is that you still probably only need know 3 or 4!
Tie Fact #3
Neck of state: In the USA, the presidential election campaigns feature a tie code. Republicans wear red, democrats blue. Even the knot makes a political statement: Democrats prefer a simple four-in-hand, republicans on the other hand choose the Windsor knot. Unlike in Europe, the American media frequently hone in on the topic o politicians’ ties. Check out some of these American political campaign ties from the last century.
Tie Fact #4
Obligatory ties: Until the 1960s, wearing a tie was obligatory in most service-sector jobs as well as on public occasions. Today, only exclusive events still have a dress code calling for either “white tie” (tails and a white bow tie) or “black tie” (tuxedo with a black bow tie).
Above: In the 1960s, a working man wouldn’t leave the house without a tie
Tie Fact #5
Regimental Ties: British regiments have been wearing ties that show the unit they belong to since the nineteenth century. Typically, the pattern consists of diagonal colour stripes that run from the bottom left to the top right. In America, these stripes run in the opposite direction, from the bottom right to the upper left side. Many schools, clubs and colleges in Australia (and other commonwealth countries) continue this tradition, issuing their own ties with regimental stripes, coat of arms/crest or a combination of both.
Striped ties are still among the most popular ties in men’s wardrobes.
Tie Fact #6
Before any important occasion, it is important to be suited, booted and knotted. Before appearing on stage as a group, these leaders decided to fix their ties, knowing the details matter.
Above: Jitzchak Rabin, Hosni Mubarak, King Hussein of Jordan, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat at the White House, during the signing of the Oslo 2 Accord on Sept 28, 1995
Tie Fact #7
Teddy Boys: the tie has won a large following on the rock music scene and surpasses all social boundaries. The tie was worn by the first rock n’ roll fans in the 1950s, who were known as Teddy Boys, inspired by the style of the dandies in the Edwardian period.
The Mods, fans of soul, and rhythm n’ blues included it in their outfits, as did the Beatles in the 1960s.
In the 1970s and 80s, punk musicians integrated the tie into their rebellious style and it became an eccentric trademark accessory of performers like Brian Ferry or Patti Smith.
Above clockwise: The Beatles, The Mods, Brian Ferry, A group of Teddy Boys
Tie Fact #8
Cultural Ties: Did you know there’s an American artist, Jeffrey Vallance, who interprets the tie as a means of communication in his work, Cultural Ties. Vallance sends political leaders around the world one of his own used ties along with a letter asking them to, in return, send him one of their ties. Vallance has received numerous ties (he owns over 10,000) and letters, among them letters and ties from King Hussein of Jordan and the President of Austria, Rudolf Kirchschläger. Unfortunately the President of Korea was unable to accept or exchange gifts – here you see the letter written back to Vallance by President Kwang Soo Choi in 1978.
Tie Fact #9
The most beautiful ties in the world: Along with Zurich (Switzerland), Krefeld (Germany), The Italian city of Como is one of the most important silk cities in the twentieth century. Two men are of particular importance in its development: son of a Como silk manufacturer, Guido Ravasi and textile designer Gualdo Porro. In the 1920s, these two produced extraordinary tie fabrics. There was even a competition held in Como in 1927 for “The Most Beautiful Tie in The World” which was entered by 1500 artists, who submitted 7000 designes. Gualdo Porro won first prize. It was at this competition where many of our classic 20th Century tie patterns were born and have been endlessly recycled since.
Tie Fact #10
Did you know that Freud (a fellow Austrian) thought the paisley tie symbolised virility? But seriously, the humble paisley tie has come a long way since its origins, which date back to the Babylonian civilization and its association with the English upper-middle class as being their ‘fun tie.’
Above: an assortment of Paisley ties, available online $129
Tie Fact #11
Polka dot ties have always been exceedingly popular, probably due to their versatility and friendly partnership with striped suits. It could be said that the size of the dot correlates directly with the sartorial chutzpah of its wearer. Microdots are a basic every man should have, any larger requires a judgment call – think natty rather than clownish.
Tie Fact #12
Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for years!: Although the late twentieth century saw the tie all but go out of fashion, it has seen a comeback in the last decade. Having shed all earlier notions of hierarchy, stuffiness and dress codes, the tie has become a playful element of style with seemingly endless possibilities. New approaches and experiments, now less with extravagant designs and instead with forms, materials and knots, constitute the fascination of the contemporary tie. Now, the tie is worn by men not to conform to social standards, but rather with a jaunty nonchalance.