As I sat in church on Sunday, my mind began to wander all over the place. I try not to let that happen during the one hour a week I devote to worship, but I don’t always succeed.
I began to ruminate on the purpose and origin of the men’s’ necktie. I noticed for the first time how few men wear them anymore – at least to church. After all, aren’t they part of the infamous “Sunday go to meetin’ outfit,” the final touch for your “Sunday Best” attire?
Apparently not anymore. The phenomenon known as casual day at the office has seemingly liberated our men from such constrictions, much the way women have been liberated from the corset and panty hose.
I decided to do some research and when I got home I googled up men’s ties and was surprised how very little is known about when and why men began to take to wearing a scarf around their necks.
Little known tie tidbits
1) The necktie originated from a silk scarf worn by Croatian soldiers – it became known as the cravate. But I read there is also evidence that the first Chinese emperor, wore a tie as long ago as 210 B.C.
2) Marv Beloff invented the wooden bow tie in 1993 but apparently it didn’t catch on. The only things you have to worry about when you wear them are “termites and fires.”
3) The stripes on British ties usually run from top left to bottom right while the stripes on American ties run from top right to bottom left. I didn’t realize that.
4) 300 years ago the English developed neckwear so thick that they could stop a sword thrust. Ah, so they once served a purpose!
5) At one point in history, merely touching a man’s tie knot was cause for a duel.
6) Americans spend more than $1 billion each year to buy a staggering 100 million ties. But with the casualization of our culture, I wonder about this figure.
7) A good quality silk tie will require approximately 110 silkworm cocoons.
8) The city of Shengzhou in China is one of the world’s biggest tie producers, with 200 million ties made there each year.
9) It is possible to buy a bulletproof tie that will stop a 9mm bullet.
10) A person who collects ties is called a Grabatologist.