In the United States an ascot is another name for a cravat but in Britain it refers to different sort of a formal neckwear. The Ascot has a narrow neckband and wide wings that are folded over and held firm with a pin. The Ascot became popular in the 1880s, when it began to be worn by the upper-middle classes on formal occasions, notably the Royal Ascot race meeting from which it takes its name.
The four-in-hand tie became fashionable in Britain in the 1850s. Early ties were simple rectangular strips of cloth cut on the square with square ends. The name four-in-hand originally described a carriage with four horses and one driver. Later it became the name of a Gentlemen's club in London. Some reports state that the carriage drivers tied their reins with a four-in-hand knot (see below) whilst others claim that the carriage drivers wore their scarves in the manner of a four-in-hand, but the most likely explanation is that members of the club began to wear the new style of neckwear making it fashionable. In the later half of the 19th century the four-in-hand knot and the four-in-hand tie were synonymous. As stiff collars gave way to soft turned down collars the four-in-hand gained popularity. With its increasing dominance, the term four-in-hand fell out of usage and it was simply called a 'long tie' or a 'tie'.
In 1926 Jesse Langsdorf from New York introduced ties cut on the diagonal which meant that the tie fell evenly from the knot without twisting.
There are four main knots used. The simplest, the four-in-hand knot, is probably used by the vast majority of tie wearers. The other three (in order of difficulty) are the Pratt knot (also known as the Shelby knot), the Half-Windsor knot and the Windsor knot. The Windsor knot is named after the Duke of Windsor, although he himself did not use it. The Duke favoured a thick knot and achieved this result by having ties specially made of thicker material. In the late 1990s two researchers (Thomas Fink and Yong Mao) of Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory used mathematical modelling to discover that it is possible to tie 85 different knots with a conventional tie. They found that in addition to the four well-known knots, 6 other knots produced aesthetically pleasing results.
Today, ties are part of the formal clothing of males in both Western and non-Western societies, particularly in business. They have also found their way into the outfits of fashionably trail blazing females. Generally it is a thick swath made from silk or cotton, and is tied around the collar.
In the 1980s, US President Ronald Reagan was known for his red power tie, as much a virility symbol in American corporate culture as a red convertible has been in the culture at large. Oscar Wilde said "a well-tied tie is the first serious step in life".
Many of the revolutionaries of the 20th century showed solidarity with the Workers by refusing ties. Stalin and Mao wore clothing that buttoned all the way to the neck, Nehru wore a nehru jacket and Kim Il Sung follows suit. But in 1998, when the Pope visited Cuba, and Fidel Castro abandoned his fatigues for a suit and tie.
Christopher Caggiano asked in Inc Magazine, December 1997, "Does anyone still wear a power tie?" as Casual Fridays had been extended through the week, especially among smaller, privately-owned businesses in the information-technology-services area. "Power tie" in the 1990s connoted a gift for a lawyer with scales and gavels in the print. But by 2004 power ties were experiencing a resurgence. A squib by reporter Paige Wiser in the Chicago Sun-Times August 5, 2004, "The pink power tie" made an observation that the power tie of the moment was pink. Fortune advised "Grab Your Power Tie: The 1980s Are Back."
History of The Cravat (http://www.cosy.sbg.ac.at/~zzspri/lifestories/cravatte/cravatte.html)
Tie Guide (how to tie, care, wear and buy a tie) (http://www.tieguide.com/)
Tie-a-Tie.net website (http://www.tie-a-tie.net/)
ScoutDB.org presents How To Tie A Tie (http://www.scoutdb.org/h2tat/)
The Necktie Repository (http://fly.hiwaay.net/~jimes/necktie/)
Necktie Knots and links (in various languages) (http://www.dantas.com/gravatas/)
Tie knots and random walks: (85 ways to tie a tie) (http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~ym101/tie/short/tie_nature4.html)
Cravat on stamps (http://www.posta.hr/marke_det_e.asp?serija=128&brmarke=128)
A Cravat around an Arena (http://www.academia-cravatica.hr/en/arena.html)
How to Tie a Tie by eHow.com (http://www.ehow.com/how_2970_tie-tie.html)
- How to Tie a Windsor Knot Tie (http://www.ehow.com/how_2970_tie-tie.html)