When you look at fashion history for the United Kingdom, you will see that a gentleman’s necktie was a prerequisite part of their clothing, regardless of class or status and especially if you were going to Church.
The tie travelled alongside a gentleman’s handkerchief, the symbol of a gentleman, worn in his top breast pocket, and used for those occasions when a lady might need consoling, (although a lady often had her own handkerchief).
The neck-tie has managed to outlast the bowler hat, which would be tipped as a mark of polite respect. It was considered a rite of passage, when a young man would learn to tie a tie, as he navigates the top knot to the collar stand, he is now growing up.
The tie’s personality, shaping and size has changed over the years, the slim ties of the ’60s converted to fat ties in the ’70s with bold patterns, the ’80s saw the man’s tie transform again with novelty patterns thrown into the mix. It was one of the ways in which a man could express his personality, the staple of Christmas and birthday presents, that accompanied aftershave and socks!
The charm of a neck-tie is its ability to transform the wearer into a gentleman, that being said, ties with flashing neon lights, and a Balinese dancer don’t hold quite the same status!
There was a quiet revolution taking place though the ’90s onwards, the tie was considered to be a sign of the 9–5 conformist and represented restriction, as a more casual form of dressing was introduced and the term ‘gentleman’ was no longer used in polite conversation. A ‘man’s man’ was the norm, his shirt tie-less would be open at the neck. As for medallion man with the shirt opened to the waist, that’s a different conversation altogether.
As a lot of men are now welcoming suits back into their wardrobe, seesawing between, two- and three-piece suits, they are I must say looking rather dapper, be it a finely cut tweed or off the peg.
The neck-tie complements this sharpness of look; a tie with a distinctive pattern or design becomes a focal point on the wearer. Men’s fashion is no longer prepared to be relegated to special occasions, the suit’s resurgence along with a tie, shows they are no longer purely for attending a wedding.
To understand the power of this piece of attire, I spoke with a female tie-maker as to why she designs and makes men’s ties. Natascha Danielle Ingold of ‘Lunalina Fashion for Men’ shared her insights when asked ‘why design ties for men’?
“One of the principal reasons I chose to design fashion for men, was they have much less variety as opposed to a woman, and it’s a pleasure for my eyes to see a well dressed man.
“Thinking out of the box, playing with colour and form, I wanted to change the reputation of wearing a tie that is conservative, into something fresh, stylish and modern.”
In EclipseMagazine.co.uk’s Summer Racing Fashion Guide 2017, Fashion & Beauty Editor Karen Grace spoke of ‘How to Spice Up Your Suit’ transforming office wear into ‘best dressed gent’ with the wearing of a tie as one option.
There’s a subtle sexiness when a tie is worn with a suit, the fabric, cut and colour also plays a part in this non verbal conversation; as Natascha stated previously: “it’s a pleasure to the eye to see a well dressed man.”