2010年11月10日 星期三

Stuff You Should Know: Neckties

If you’re a man, and you probably are if you’re reading this, the odds that you will one day have to un-ironically wrap a tie around your neck are really high. Like, sky high. It might be for a job interview or for your own wedding, and you’d do well to put one on at the funeral of anyone over the age of 60. Plus, you should always wear a tie when you’re on trial for something, like murder or drunk driving. It just shows you care. Here are a few other totally true things every man should know about neckties.

1. Wearing a Necktie is Like Being Strangled by a Croat

Ha ha, not really. But yes, really. The first neckties were called cravats, and they were named so because the French, for some probably hilarious reason, couldn’t pronounce the word ‘Croat’ right. In the 1630s Croatian soldiers showed up on the battlefield wearing these fabulous pieces of cloth around their necks. Their French counterparts got in such a dither over the Croatian neck wear that they couldn’t help but copy them for themselves. After wussying them up first, of course.
Ooh la la!

2. The Industrial Revolution Birthed the Modern Necktie
Industrial Revolution

Among other things, like child labor, air pollution and women in the workplace, the Industrial Revolution gave men the ties they know and love today. Factory owners faced a really serious problem when it came to dress code on their floors: for one thing, cravats were fancy, and fancy didn’t get work done. For another, cravats came undone easily, probably because they were made of ladies underthings, which are meant to come off by nature. So, the Industrial Revolution offered factory workers the solution of the modern necktie: plainer, easier to knot securely and get out of the way, but formal enough to remind workers they weren’t working in a chicken coop.
Check out these dandies on their way to the factory! Ha cha cha!

Plus, the machinery that workers were trying to keep their neckwear out of was also the same machinery capable of producing ties for the masses. Before, only the rich and fancy could adorn their necks with hand sewn silk finery. It was the Industrial Revolution that made ties part of every man’s standard wardrobe.

3. The Greatest Generation Wore Wider Ties than the Me Generation
greatest generation

After a few years of fighting the Nazis, American soldiers came home determined to drop their dreary army browns and live it up, American style. And for awhile there, that meant adopting what became known as the ‘Bold Look.’ Garish, five inch wide ties with ridiculous prints soon graced the chests of men returning to the classroom and the workplace. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, the crazy tie look only lasted two years before American men donned their grey Flannel suits and got super white bread for the 50s.
The next time those wacky ties rolled around, it was the 1970s, but this time they only made it to about 4 1/2 inches wide.

4. There are Only Four Knots to Worry About
Don Knotts
And Don isn’t one of them. They are:
  • The Four-in-Hand – the easiest and most popular knot. It only takes four steps andworks with most collars.
  • The Pratt knot – Also known as the Shelby knot, which is probably the preferable name if you’re not trying to come off as Carlton Banks. This one takes six steps, but gives you a tighter knot at the neck, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • The Half Windsor – Now we’re getting fancy. The half-Windsor takes a whopping NINE steps. You better be going to dinner with the queen if you’re messing with this knot.
  • The Windsor – Twice as fancy as the half-Windsor, but requires the same number of steps. This bad boy is for the guy who needs a nice, thick, bulging knot around his neck. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
5. The Color of Your Tie Means Something
Chris Brown Bowtie

For example, a baby blue bow-tie means ‘jackass.’ Look it up. Here’s what else your tie color says about you:

  • Black – usually used for formal events, as in ‘black tie.’ Durr.
  • Red – symbolizes power, leadership, passion.
  • Blue – stands for peace and calmness, unless you’re Chris Brown.
  • Yellow – can be radiance and vitality, can stand for cowardice. Then again, if you’re using your tie to convey how scared you are, you’ve got bigger problems than your tie color.
  • Green – money. Also, growth or rebirth or something. Mostly money.
  • Brown – “I am super boring. Don’t even bother looking at me.”
6. A Power Tie has Diagonal Stripes
power tie

What makes stripes powerful is a mystery. By this logic, zebras should be the most powerful animals on the savanna, but they’re not. Lions and black mamba snakes are. Zebras don’t even make the list. ‘Power tie,’ my foot.

7. Bolo Ties Will Make You Look Ridiculous
Bruce Springsteen Tunnel of Love

Even if it is 1987 and you are Bruce Springsteen. Even if you live in New Mexico and your governor actually signed a law making bolo ties the official neckware of your great state. Even if you’re a Native American and you’ve got this fancy silver turquoise clasp holding your bolo tie together, you still look silly. Why? Because bolo ties are a totally 20th century invention. There’s nothing Native Americany about them.
Also, Ducky:
8. Neckties CAN KILL YOU

Or really ruin your day, either one. First, the obvious old ‘necktie got caught in a dangerous chopping machine’ standby. That one happens, like, daily. Then we found out that tight neckties can contribute to glaucoma, not necessary deadly, but still a bummer. And doctors who wear neckties are more likely to pass along deadly or otherwise inconvenient germs to patients. These days doctors are actually encouraged to dress more casually to avoid spreading germs via ties and long sleeves. So if you find your physician giving you a consultation in a wifebeater and surfer jams, that’s why.

9. Neckties are Banned in Iran

Which is why you always see Ahmadinejad in a suit and jacket without a tie. Ties are western, and not in the cool ‘cowboys and Indians’ sense of the word, and are therefore banned in Iran. This banning of neckties also happens to be one of the many, many things Iran has in common with Ikea’s corporate headquarters.

10. Fashion Experts Predict Bow Ties are Going to be Big Again; Everyone Else Disagrees
Orville Redenbacher

People will always think one of two things when they see someone sporting a bow tie in an informal setting: ‘NERD ALERT’ or ‘Looks like someone woke up with a bad case of tryingtooharditis.’ Some guys can get away with it:
Pharell Williams
But most can’t:
Justin Bieber bowtie

Spoiler alert: you’re most likely in the second group. Don’t risk it.
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