The History Of The Tie: The 20s

This post is the first in a history of the tie series, with hopefully many to come. Men’s fashion doesn’t change as violently as women’s; its value comes from subtleties. This series will examine how the subtleties of the tie have changed, from 1920 to present day.

Golfing legend Bobby Jones

During the 20s, athletes like legendary golfer Bobby Jones exerted powerful style influence

I pick the 1920s to start for some important reasons. Throughout the 19th century, cravats were tied in a variety of designs. However, as I wrote in an earlier post, their arrangements became more discrete and more characteristic of modern ties and bow ties as the 20th century approached. Come 1900, modern day bow ties and ties were dispersed among ascots and traditional cravats, and gaining on them.

The golfer Walter hagen

Another influential golfer, Walter Hagen

In the first half of the 1920s, however, ties were plagued with problems. Since they were cut along the length of the tie, they easily developed permanent wrinkles. Though the four-in-hand was, by far, the most popular knot, the tie material caused it to become untied, which led to the use of tie pins to secure them.

A macclesfield tie, now popular at weddings

However, those problems didn’t slow the spread of the tie. The most popular style was the Macclesfield, a silver-toned tie with small geometric patterns. (Named after the location it was produced in.)

A regimental striped tie

Another popular choice in the 1920s was the striped club/regimental tie. They began in England, when men would take a silk strip, designating membership in a club or experience in a fighting unit, from their boater and tie it around their neck. After World War I, American demand for such ties increased, leading Brooks Brothers to reverse the direction of the strip (originally left shoulder to right side) and introduce club ties to the masses.

Actor Douglas Fairbanks and his wife

Actor Douglas Fairbanks and his wife

The reason the 1920s is the start of my series is that in 1926, Jesse Langsdorf, a NY tie maker, developed a new way to cut ties. By cutting the tie on a 45 degree bias, the tie maintained its original shape and resisted wrinkles. The same decade, an England manufacturing company developed the slip-stitch, which allows ties to snap back to their original shape after being tied.

The Duke of Windsor visiting America with Henry Ford

The Duke of Windsor, visiting the Fords in the 20s

Another powerful sartorial influences arrived on America’s shore in the 20s: The Duke of Windsor, or, as he was still called at that point, David Windsor, Prince of Wales. Though his visit immediately attracted media attention, the Duke’s popularity, and wrongly assigned reputation for pioneering the Windsor knot, would continue to grow during the 30s. Which will be the decade discussed in the next part of this series.

For a broader view on men’s style in the 20s.

Bobby Jones photo credit: Black Watch

Walter Hagen photo credit: Wikipedia

Club tie photo credit: Ben Silver

Macclesfield photo credit: A Suitable Wardrobe

Fairbanks photo credit: Wikipedia

Duke of Windsor photo credit: The Detroit News

3 Responses to “The History Of The Tie: The 20s”

  1. Quinton says:

    No it is not okay! If you value the tie you are wearing you will not allow it to get in the way of anything except possibly the wind…

  2. Michael says:

    Sorry, I think you might have commented on the wrong post.

  3. Mr Bates says:

    I think he was just tieing up the convosation ;P

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