2,000 Years of the Necktie
The Modern Business Suit Takes Shape

by David Johnson

NECKTIES
THROUGH THE AGES
 
Introduction

210 B.C.
China's First Emperor

113 A.D.
Did Romans Wear Ties?

17th Century
Croatian Cravats for the King of France

Cravats Go to England

Real Men Wear Lace

18th Century
Cowboy Bandannas from India

Sailing the Seven Seas

19th Century
Business Suit Takes Shape

Cambridge & Oxford School Ties

Ties Fit for Officers and Gentlemen

Bow Ties Center Stage

A Tie Singing Dixie

Lord Byron's Legacy

Women Tie the Knot, Too!

20th Century
Paris Presents Designer Ties

Celebrities & Rock Stars

Ascots Cross Finish Line

Bolo: The Tie That Won the West

Turtleneck: The Anti-Tie

 
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The well-dressed man about town should wear clothes that are simple, functional and discreet, George Bryan "Beau" Brummell commanded in the early 19th century. By advocating well-cut, tailored clothes, Brummell essentially invented what has come to be known as the "British look."
Brummell rejected 18th century frills. His mandate, a dark blue coat, buff-colored pantaloons and waistcoat, black boots and a clean white neck cloth, survives today as the dark business suit and white shirt, and as crisp white sportswear.

Whiter than white cravats

He was particularly adamant about the whiteness of his cravats. As he made his daily rounds from the park, various gentleman's clubs and fashionable homes, Brummell would stop and change his cravat as often as three times a day. He preferred neck cloths that were lightly starched and carefully folded.

The simplicity of Brummell's uniform was adopted by everyone from many working men to his friend, the Prince Regent, later King George IV. For the first time, poorer men hoping to make their way in the world could easily imitate upper class fashion.



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