October 18th is indeed national necktie day. O.K. Maybe not in the U.S., but they’ve officially celebrated the invention of the necktie (or cravat) in Croatia since 2008, as a means of fostering national pride among their citizens. Croatians believe their mercenary soldiers ushered in the style of wearing ornamental neckwear among Europeans in the 1600s. They did wear some stunning, bright red neckwear into battle as a ploy to psyche out their enemies.
This led the French Sun King, Louis XIV, to begin wearing a lacy cravat at the ripe old age of seven. Soon, his countrymen fell in love with the idea of neckties. The British, then, took to the fashion and ran with it. It was the English love for brandishing cloth ties about their necks that ultimately spread the trend around the globe, even to the New World. American necks of every persuasion, from gentleman to common man, were soon adorned with the neckwear. Many still are today.
Despite the Croatian claim, it’s possible that the idea of the necktie was invented long before they began wearing cravats. Some form of neck cloth has been around for a couple of millennia, at least. The tomb of Ch’in Shih Huang, China’s first emperor, contains 7,500 terracotta warriors, all sporting neckwear! Even Roman soldiers and statesmen are depicted on marble columns commemorating victories from around 113 A.D., wearing three different styles of neckwear.
Today, there are at least 85 wonderful necktie knots. Of those knots, about 13 are deemed highly aesthetic due to their balance and symmetry. Some twist and maneuver a simple strip of fabric into fantastically beautiful artistic creations. Just type “necktie knots” into a Pinterest search box to see some knots that truly boggle the mind.
Amazing as those intricate necktie knots are, they were all first learned as a simple knot like the four-in-hand or the schoolboy knot. Even common knots have been known to make grown men feel like fools when struggling to tie them; but with a little help, necktie knots can easily be mastered. Today, there are websites, videos, books, and even songs devoted to teaching the art of masterfully knotting a necktie. Some contain instructions so easy, that it truly becomes like child’s play.
For instance, consider “Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit and The Fox”, a cute, illustrated story with an instructional song that is meant to make it easy for parents to help teach their children tie a simple knot in a necktie. A romp through the forest in that little book will soon have even the youngest child proudly showing off a neatly knotted tie.
Love them or hate them, neckties are not going away. They are continually re-introduced into society as the perfect complement to professional business attire or formal wear. Private school children wear them to show school pride and even public schools have begun to feature “wear a tie to school day” at least once a year, as a way of instilling feelings of camaraderie among students. Neckties have even been co-opted by rockers and other avant-garde artists as an anti-establishment means of looking edgy or cool.
So, let’s all celebrate along with the Croatians, on October 18th, the ideas that neckties represent by tying one on…literally. And if you do, then wear it proudly because one thing can be said for sure about a necktie…it does make any male, at any age look very, very good.
Sybrina Durant is the author of “Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit And The Fox – Story with Instructional Song”, a cute story book meant to make it fun and easy for parents to teach their children to learn to tie a simple knot in a necktie. The book is available in English, Spanish and Tagalog but not in Croatian…yet! Purchase the ebook or print version at any online bookstore. Learn more, and hear the song in all three languages for free at Sybrina.com or check out her Pinterest board where you’ll find articles, reviews, and book awards mixed among hundreds of cute pics of kids wearing neckties.
Wear a tie to celebrate! And if you don’t know how, “Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit And the Fox” can easily teach you how.