It is often questioned why such a seemingly useless item
of apparel as the necktie was ever invented . It’s thought by
some anthropologists that it might have been the first
item of clothing ever worn, taking the form of a strip of
fur around the necks of our ancestors . However, the ear-
liest evidence of the wearing of neckties was by the Chi-
nese . China’s first emperor, Shih Huang Ti, was afraid of
death and commanded that replicas of his army person-
nel be laid to rest with him for protection . He died in 210 BC,
and when his tomb was rediscovered in 1974, the intricately detailed
terracotta replicas preserved therein each wore neck cloths or ties .
Neckties were also present in Roman times . In AD
113, after one of his victories, the emperor Trajan erected
a marble column bearing reliefs that feature thousands of
soldiers, many of whom are wearing neckties . It’s thought by
some that these soldiers wore neckties to guard against cold
weather or to absorb sweat .
While neckties have been around in one form or another
for millennia, it was because of the Croatians in the seven-
teenth century that wearing them became a statement of
fashion . After helping in a victory against the Hapsburg
Empire, thousands of soldiers were presented to King Louis
XIV in Paris, among them a regiment of Croatian marines,
some of whom wore colorful cravats . These embellishments
appealed to the French, who had never seen such an article
of clothing and who were soon wearing similar cravats .
Until the French Revolution in 1789, the French maintained
an elite regiment known as the Cravate Royale, and the word
“cravat” itself is from the French word cravate, meaning
It wasn’t long before the wearing of neckties spread . In
1660, Charles II returned to England from exile and re-
claimed the throne that he lost during the English Civil War .
He was followed by aristocrats who brought the cravat to
England, whereupon it developed into the necktie, became
popular and spread throughout Europe, then the U .S . and
then the rest of the world .