• Kevin Kenealy

The Advent and Development of the Modern Necktie


During the 17th century men wore cravats, the precursor of the modern necktie, ( a cravat is a neckband, the forerunner of the modern tailored necktie and bow tie, originating from a style worn by members of the 17th century military unit known as the Croats). For more than 200 years it was part of style and menswear in Europe. During the 1920’s the modern necktie came about, and in the time after it has had several low-key but discernible transformations. Featured here is a chronology of the modern necktie design changes in the 100 years since it came into existence.


  • The 1920s The world was changing after World War I and neckties underwent a major transformation during this period. Jerry Langsdorf, a now famous New York necktie manufacturer, came up with an inventive new method of making fabric cuts when making a tie. This invention permitted a necktie to return to its original shape after it was worn for a day or evening. Several new necktie knots were created due to this innovative invention. From that point on, neckties were the neckwear of choice for men. Bow ties went from being daily wear neck apparel to being used for formal wear and high society events. There were several types of new tie looks that emerged thanks to Mr. Langsdorf’s invention.

  • The 1930s During the 1930s the advent of wider bolder designs and patterns associated with the Art Deco movement came to be during that decade. Men began wearing neckties in shorter lengths and tied them using the still popular Windsor knot. This necktie knot was invented by the Duke of Windsor.

  • The 1940s During the early 1940s there were no changes to men’s neckties to speak of during this period. People were focusing on WWII and the American economy at the time, so it makes sense. In 1945 when the war ended, design and creativity flourished as seen in both clothing design and men’s fashion. Necktie colors changed from basic colors to snappy colors, bold patterns and creative artwork presentations on the visible main front tie panel.

  • The 1950s During the 1950s menswear neckties were known famously for the development of a complete design change to the skinny tie. The skinny necktie fit in with form fitting tailor clothing of that era. Necktie manufacturers began trying out making ties with various materials that had not been used before.

  • The 1960s Necktie designers and manufacturers went from making skinny ties in the 50s to wide ties in the 60s. During this period ties were made wider and wider to where one tie style known as the “Kipper Tie” was 6 inches wide.

  • The 1970s In the 1970s the super wide “Kipper Tie” that made its appearance in the 1960s really came to the forefront of popularity. Another tie that became well known in the 1970s was the Bolo Tie.

  • The 1980s This era did not produce any noticeable necktie fashion changes or inventions. Both wide ties and skinny ties were present, but neither dominated the fashion scene. If anything, medium width neckties became the norm during this period.

  • The 1990s During the 1990s necktie styles from the 60s, 70s and 80s fell out of favor. It was during this era that necktie styles became more standardized with a fixed width of the 3.5 to 4 inches. Styles of neckties were paisley, floral and popular themes such as golf, tennis, skiing, and other similar subjects.

  • The 2000s The old saying of what goes around comes around is true with neckties in the 2000s. Neckties now available at independent menswear stores and department stores were skinny again. This was true in Europe and the U.S..

  • The 2010s During this period neckties were made in virtually any style, pattern, material, or width imaginable. Picking the look in apparel and making it happen through bold choices was in.


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