The necktie has been an important article of clothing for literally thousands of years. Soldiers began wearing ties to signify their allegiance to a certain army on the battlefield. In contemporary times, men wear ties to signify their allegiance to various organisations and groups, and others wear ties as the centrepiece of formal attire. There are many different styles of ties and they come in all manner of colours and patterns to suit the personality and daring of any individual. They are made from various fabrics that run from inexpensive cotton versions that are excellent for more casual applications to the high end silk designer ties perfect for formal attire. But they all serve the same purpose, which is to lend a unique and attractive appearance to the wardrobe of those who wear them. This guide explores the origins of the necktie, what constitutes a designer tie, and how to best locate and purchase one.
Origins of the Necktie
The necktie has been used throughout the centuries for different applications from a clothing accessory to a part of a uniform in times of war. Neckwear was worn by soldiers to help their comrades recognise them on the field of battle. In more modern times, the necktie became an article of clothing that signified a person's membership in a certain club, school, professional association, or military regiment, and to this day, the practice of wearing ties that are specific to an organisation is popular worldwide. Today, ties are an integral part of formal attire and can also be worn as an accessory to casual clothing as well. Ties are designed from several different types of materials, but the more formal ties are made with high quality fabrics and are crafted by well known fashion designers.
What Makes it a Designer Tie
There are a vast variety of necktie designs available to the consumer. They come in various fabrics, patterns, colours, sizes, shapes, and prices. Ties are known to range from very loud and obnoxious varieties to classically sophisticated works of fashion art. The difference between the two is usually the quality of the materials used and the intent of the designer. Designer ties are meant to be unique yet subtle accessories to a well developed outfit. They utilise the finest materials available and are generally trend setting in their patterns and sophistication. Designer ties are usually created by well known fashion houses that are known for consistently developing high quality trend setting attire. As such, and because of the higher quality of material used, the designer tie is always more expensive than the mass produced ties found in retail chains. Designer ties have a sense luxury about them that lends to the appearance of any outfit.
Types of Ties
Designer ties come in three general types. There are many different variations, styles, and colours available in each type to accent any fashion ensemble.
The long tie is the most common type and the one most often found in contemporary fashion. They are available in various lengths from 117 cm to 152 cm with 140 cm being the standard. In the middle part of the twentieth century, long ties were found with widths up to 13 cm; however more contemporary styles seldom see widths larger than 9.5 cm, with narrower ties becoming increasingly popular.
In 2008 and 2009, ties that were narrower than 9 cm began to make inroads into the fashion world. Ties as narrow as 7.6 cm became popular with younger men and fashion conscious individuals. The skinny tie look is reminiscent of the styles that were prevalent in the 1950's and 1960's when the large, wide, and loud ties associated with the 1940's quickly fell out of fashion. The trend appears to be continuing as ties become more and more narrow and appear to follow similar fashion trends from previous decades.
The bow tie has its roots with the Croatian mercenaries in the 17th century Prussian wars who wore cravats around their necks as an addition to their uniforms. The bow tie has always been associated with high society and more rigid formal attire. It has, however, had a constant following that has seen it remain a fashionable and elegant article of clothing. It is most notably used in the most formal of settings as an addition to tuxedos and fine suits, but it is also common amongst professionals who need to maintain a formal appearance without the drawbacks associated with longer ties.
Different Tie Fabrics
There are five different types of material that are commonly used to create designer ties. The most common fabrics used in designer ties are natural fibres, but synthetics are also common.
Silk is one of the most luxurious and popular fabrics used in designer ties. Silk is a versatile fabric that can be worn through all seasons because it is light enough for warm weather yet not so light as to be an issue when the weather turns cold. The look of a silk tie is fluid and smooth and the material easily absorbs dye, which results in vivid and rich colours. Silk is also reflective, which tends to make ties have a shine to them that helps them stand out. Silk is easily wrinkled and more care is required to prevent the soiling the fabric. Silk ties are very difficult to clean and usually will not maintain its new appearance through cleaning.
Satin is a fabric that is composed of weaving together filaments of silk with nylon or polyester. It has a glossy and formal appearance that lends itself well to more conservative suit materials where its lustre and sheen create a brilliant contrast. Satin does tend to be easy to damage, and once the fibres have snagged, they tend to bunch up and quickly ruin the appearance of the tie.
Cashmere is an ultra luxurious fabric that is developed from the hair of cashmere goats. It is a very soft and delicate fabric that seems to glow. It is often blended with silk to reduce this effect. Cashmere is the warmest of all the tie fabrics, which makes it ideal in colder climates. Cashmere is not bulky despite its warmth and it is the softest of the tie fabrics available, which makes it the most comfortable. It is not a very strong fabric and it is difficult to clean.
Wool is a heavy and warm material that gives that gives the appearance of softness and a more rustic flair. Wool ties have a natural appearance that lends well to more conservative and down to earth ensembles that are less formal and more pragmatic. Wool is difficult to clean and is easily damaged in water or if it is rubbed.
Polyester is a synthetic material that has similar appearance characteristics to silk without the high cost or delicate nature. Polyester is stain and water resistant and when woven with other materials such as cotton, it becomes a very natural feeling material that has characteristics of ties twice its price. Polyester resists wrinkling and is much easier to clean than other materials, but it will pick up and hold odours more than any other fabric. Polyester also will not breathe very well, so it might not be the best fabric in warm climates.
Types of Knots
There are four basic categories of knots that men use to form a tie. There are variations of these, but most all knots are related to these four in one fashion or another.
Most common and easiest to tie; produces a fairly small knot that gives a neat appearance; utilitarian; not meant for more formal applications; works well with a variety of fabrics
Most complicated knot to tie; produces a very large knot; symmetrical and very triangular in appearance; excellent for spread collar shirts and more formal occasions; works well with thicker fabrics
Similar to Windsor in symmetry and triangular appearance; smaller and less complicated to tie; formal appearance; works well with light and medium weight fabrics
Started with the reverse side out; produces medium sized knot; symmetrical appearance; easy to tie and takes up less material than other knots; excellent for shorter ties
No matter which type of tie is worn, these knots can typically be used on any make and model of ties. From casual to formal, well-tied knots make a great impression.
How to Buy a Designer Tie on eBay
The simplest and safest to purchase your next designer tie is to use the powerful search tools available on eBay. From the eBay homepage, simply type a keyword such as designer tie into the search box. A list of available auctions will be brought up that reflect all the auctions with that keyword in the title. From this point you can search through the various auctions until you find a tie that suits your requirements, or you can refine your search by selecting various categories that will narrow the results of the search more in line with the specific of what you are looking for. If you already know the type of tie you want or the specific brand, you can enter that information into the search box and eBay will bring up a list of auctions for that keyword.
Verify the Seller
Once you have established which tie you wish to purchase, the next step is to verify the feedback rating of the seller. The eBay community uses buyer feedback to rate each seller on how they conduct each and every transaction. Each buyer rates the seller after the completion of the auction on how the seller performed in relation to that transaction. Buyers that have an excellent experience rate the seller with positive feedback. Selecting sellers with good feedback ensures that your transaction will be completed with professionalism and customer satisfaction in mind.
From the battlefield to the boardroom, the tie has been a staple piece of clothing that has helped men look more professional and presentable in formal situations. A well made designer tie speaks to a man's dedication to his own appearance and it sends a message of confidence to those around him. Designer ties are made from the finest materials available and lend a definite sense and air of quality that serves to enhance the appearance of any suit. A well made and attractive designer tie can be the one piece of an outfit that makes the difference between a man standing out in a crowd or merely blending in.
When shopping for a new designer tie, its' important for the buyer to shop around for the best deals possible prior to committing to the purchase. There are many reputable retail shops as well as online websites that provide quality ties at very reasonable prices. Online research is a great way to narrow the field prior to making a purchase and a great way to do that is utilising the powerful search tools available on auction sites such as eBay.