Ties are worn regularly as smart office wear across Britain, they are also worn by school children to determine an identity, and certain Sporting and Gentlemen's clubs have their own club ties to define membership, rank, status or anything else that one could care to attribute to the strip of fabric that sits around ones neck.
There are 85 different ways that a necktie can indeed be tied. However there are four main styles that are used in modern times in Britain:
The Four-in-Hand knot, The Pratt knot (or Shelby knot), the Half Windsor knot and the Windsor knot (often called the double Windsor knot).
The Ascot and the Bow tie are also often seen on the modern British gentleman but in much more formal settings.
The Four-in-Hand knot has been fashionable in Britain since the 1850's and is the simplest way to tie a tie.
Most boys learn to tie their own school tie in this way.
The name four-in-hand was used to describe a carriage with four horses and a driver, and many thought that the tie was named after the way the driver held the reigns of such a vehicle. It was however also the name of a fashionable gentlemen's club in London, and our thoughts are that it may have something to do with the way the men there chose to wear their ties to the club.
Gentlemen's clubs and other chic traditional establishments in British society often require men to wear a tie, and it is not uncommon for certain Members Clubs and restaurants of a certain calibre to require men to wear a necktie before entering.
The history on the necktie is as rich as it is extravagant, but over the decades of the 20th century it has changed dramatically in width from the widest and loudest styles from the mid '40s to the beginning of the 50's when the ties often reached 5" wide.
From about 1951 the fashion for slimmer lapels and smaller hat brims and a sleekness of cut became popular, the width of a man's tie came down to an average of about 3".
The 1980's saw the slimming right down to the skinny tie and came in at about 1.5".
As fashions and musical tastes fluctuate in Britain so it seems does the width and design of the necktie to accommodate such social trends.
Go-British selection include fine ties from Richard James, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood.