In 1974, neckties were actually discovered in the mausoleum of China's first emperor Shih Huang Ti. His tomb contained replica's of officers and soldiers with different armor, uniforms and details, yet all were wearing a necktie. The ties were a mystery, as they were not common to the wardrobe during those times according to historians.
The mystery of the origination of ties continues with marble columns, carved in 113AD in what is now Romania, depicting men wearing various neckties.
Neckties then became a symbol of professionalism. From the 18th to the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution brought a need for ties to remain tied all day, and the bow tie, ascot and long tie evolved.
By the 40s, ties were wide and nick-named "belly warmers." They became a fashion statement and were available in fun patterns and colors
Ties were drastically narrower in 50s and became "skinny ties" to match the trend of skinny lapels, and were longer at 51". We'd be remiss in not mentioning the popularity of bow ties, made famous in movies with Humphrey Bogart and still worn today by Pee Wee Herman.
The 60s brought ties were that were again skinny and solid colors became popular, even longer at 54". By the late 60's, Ralph Lauren began designing ties as a fashion statement and brought back wider ties.
Not all neckties are fabric or knotted. The Bolo, a leather or string tie fastens with slide. The slide is usually decorative and most common in silver or turquoise, possibly from their origination in the west. The Bolo was named the official state tie of Arizona in 1971, and was made trendy among a younger crowd by Bruce Springsteen.
The 1977 movie "Annie Hall" featured Diane Keaton in the staring role ~ wearing a tie, vest and hat. Neckties immediately became fashionable for women, the movie actually starting a huge trend.
Soon everyone was designing ties. In the late 80s, Ralph Marlin designed conversational ties as well as his famous "fish ties" and other celebrities joined in. From talk show host Johnny Carson, actor Christopher Reeves, Regis Philbin and even rocker Jerry Garcia were designing their own unique line of ties.
The work place became more casual by the 1990's, with necktie requirements being virtually phased out in most offices. Today it is rare to see a man in a tie in most offices.
Read complete history on my Vintage Pretties blog