called a tie
) is a piece
of material worn around the neck. The modern
necktie's original name was the
tie. It is usually
a dress requirement for businessmen and
probably the most common father's gift in
the world. The modern necktie along with
the Ascot and the
are all descended from the cravat.
A cravat is the neckband
that was the forerunner of the modern tailored
necktie. From the end of the 16th century
the term "band" applied to any
long strip of cloth worn round the neck
that was not a "ruff." The ruff
itself had started its career in the earlier
16th century as a starched and pleated strip
of white linen that could be freshly changed
to keep the neck of a
from getting increasingly grimy. A "band"
could indicate a plain attached shirt collar
or a detached "falling band" that
draped over the doublet collar.
The modern form of the "cravat"
originated in the 1630s. Like most male
fashions between the 17th century and World
War I, it had a military origin. During
the reign of Louis XIII of France, Croatian
mercenaries enlisted in a regiment that
supported the King and Richelieu against
the Duc de Guise and the Queen Mother, Marie
de Medici. The traditional outfit of these
Croats aroused curiosity in Paris on account
of the unusual and picturesque scarves distinctively
tied about their necks. The scarves were
made of various cloths, ranging from coarse
material for common soldiers, to fine linen
and silk for officers. The word 'cravat'
comes from the French cravate,
and many sources state that this is a corruption
of "Croat," or "Hrvat,"
as it is said in Croatian. However there
is evidence that the word was in use in
France in the 14th century and in Italy
in 16th century. In one of his ballads,
the French writer Eustache Deschamps (c.
1340-1407), used the phrase 'faites restraindre
sa cravate' (pull his cravat tighter). Considering
the interdependency of many European regions
(particularly the French) with the Venetian
Empire, and the fact that this empire at
one time occupied the bulk of the Croatian
coast, that type of cross-culturalization
would not be unprecedented. Whatever the
origin of the word the new form of dress
became known as a cravate and the
French were quite ready to give up the starched
linen ruffs, that they had been wearing
and adopt the new fashion of loose cravates
made of linen or muslin with broad edges
On his return to England from exile in
1660, Charles II brought with him this new
word in fashion:
A cravatte is another kind of adornment
for the neck being nothing else but
a long towel put about the Collar, and
so tyed before with a Bow Knott; this
is the original of all such Wearings;
but now by the Art and Inventions of
the seamsters, there is so many new
ways of making them, that it would be
a task to name, much more to describe
Randle Holme, Academy of Armory
and Blazon, 1688.
A gentleman's cravat would be made of
fine lace. Grinling Gibbons the famous carver
and sculptor, made a highly realistic one,
carved out of a piece of white limewood.
During the wars of Louis XIV of 1689
- 1697, the flowing cravat was replaced,
except for court occasions, by the more
current and equally military Steinkirk,
named for the battle in Flanders of 1692.
The Steinkirk was a long narrow, plain or
lightly trimmed neckcloth worn with military
dress, wrapped just once about the neck
in a loose knot, with a lace of fringed
ends that were twisted together and tucked
out of the way into the button-hole (of
either a coat or a waistcoat) The steinkirk
proved to be popular with both men and women
until the 1720s.
The Macaronis reintroduced the flowing
cravat in the 1770s and the manner of tying
one became a matter of personal taste and
style, to the extent that after Waterloo,
the neckwear itself was increasingly referred
to as a "tie".