While rearranging my costume shop and doing some much needed cleaning and sorting, my lovely intern Janelle asked me a good question. We were sorting ties and she looked at me and asked “Why do we wear ties?” I knew some reasons and the evolution of the neckwear but was stumped, so I did what I always do told her I didn’t know but, I wrote it down to look up later. After much searching this seems to be the most common answer:
http://www.croatians.com/tie.htm
If you clicked on the link you would have found, in short, it originated from Croatian soldiers and their uniform worn in battle around the thirty years war, the French saw it, liked it, and popularize it. Go figure…. Some other popular answers include: early roman orators wearing a form of tie/neckwear to keep vocal cords warm, obvious labor work reasons (having it around your neck provided a handy hanky to wipe away debris and sweat, etc.), to wipe blood off one’s sword….basically practical uses…
Other interesting facts:
Beau Brimmel (think regency period) deems neckwear as a form of individualism
Cool book called neckclothitania (ways in which to tie a cravat)
Clinton’s tie made headlines cause it was from a certain white house intern
To touch another man’s cravat is dueling terms
And last the steinkirke came from sloppiness an unprepared soldiers caught with not enough time to dress

On a fun side note, Croatians are also known for knotting the worlds biggest tie. Go figure…

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Got anything to add? Fun facts? Cool ties? Sources?