Thursday, May 19, 2011

The skinny on the skinny...Historical highs of the narrow tie...

The skinny tie has been a popular fixture in men's, and women's fashion for the past decade or so, but like most fashions, it's been seen before. What goes around comes around, and the skinnier cousin of the neck tie has been falling in and out of style since as far back as the 1920's!

Allman Neckwear Co. assorted knit narrow ties from the 1920's

We just picked up the fantastic collection of narrow knit ties above dating from the 1920's, and they inspired us to blog about the high points in skinny neck tie fashion over the decades...

1920's - The beginning

The 1960's or the 1980's probably spring to mind when you think about the vintage skinny look, so it may surprise you to know that the original models date way back to the 1920's.

A gentleman posing in a skinny knit tie in the 1920's complete with tapered pants! A 1920's knit tie pattern from France

These great examples in silk or rayon were found in their original box. They vary between 1.5 to 2.5 inches in width at the widest point, and are relatively short in length compared to modern ties, measuring 36 to 40 inches in length, as they used to wear their pants much higher back then ;)

1950's & 60's - The hayday

Ties began to widen in the 1930's and throughout the 1940's and stayed that way until the early 1950's when Esquire magazine introduced their 'Mr T' look, designed to make a man look taller and trimmer with a tapered narrow brimmed hat, 3-button notched lapel jacket and slimmer tie. Young men started to wear their ties thinner and longer as the decade progressed and waistbands lowered. The look was popularised by the Rat Pack, perhaps the most famous of the skinny tie poster boys to this day. This is also the look seen most recently in AMC's hit drama Mad Men, a definite influence on todays slim suit, tie and fedora wearing trend.
Frank and the gang looking sharp

Don Draper and colleagues revisit the look in the early 1960's drama series Mad Men

The classic early 1960's skinny ties like the ones we have above were popular until the mid 1960's in a rainbow of colors, patterns and fabrics, and were generally 2 to 2.5 inches in width at the widest point. Knit ties were again popular, almost direct copies of the 1920's design complete with square tip, though usually only in solid colors.

Across the pond the in the coffee bars of London's West End, jazz loving modernists were adopting the look of their American idols Miles Davis et al, and four young men in Liverpool took the look to an even greater audience. Thi wouldn't be the last time music and skinny ties joined forces....
1960's 'Made In England' black knit silk tie for Lord & Taylor just like the one George and the boys are rocking above.

1970's & 80's - The New Wave

The mid 1960's saw the skinny ties popularity peak, and widths widened once more from then to an extreme in the 70's. Wide ties with wide knots and even wider collars were the order of the day, until the Punk and New Wave bands of the late 70's looked to create a stripped down statement both in sound and style, and the narrow style return to prominence. The look achieved huge popularity again thanks in no small way to the popularity of the musician who championed it.

The Jam, Blondie & Elvis Costello were among the most prominent and sharpest looking of the New Wave set.

Ties were often super skinny at around 1 inch in width, and popular in vinyl & leather along with the more traditional silk & rayon variations, and of course the fabric of the day - Polyester!

2000's - The new New Wave

Influential french designer/photographer Hedi Silmane, director of Dior Homme from 2000 - 2007, is largely credited as the instigator behind the latest chapter in the skinny tie story. The current slim silhouette was initially championed by indie rock bands like The Libertines, The Strokes & Franz Ferdinand and became more widely adopted on a street level as the decade wore on. It has since been seen on countless other runway shows and can be found in clothing stores across the land, and so it's popularity holds strong ...for now!

Pete Doherty, Hedi Silmane and early 2000's Dior Homme

The skinny tie, like all fashion trends doesn't work for everyone, and is probably best suited to people with slimmer frames and narrower faces. Stop by Another Man's Treasure to check out our great selection of authentic vintage ties from the 1920's - 80's. Most importantly...look sharp!

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