Why Do Men Wear Ties? Fashion or Tradition?

History and Evolution of the Necktie

Initially, the necktie was seen as a functional accessory worn by soldiers to keep their jackets together. However, it evolved into a decorative item during the 18th century, with colorful fabric and intricate designs.

The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production of ties, making it more accessible to the general public. By the early 20th century, the necktie became a symbol of status and class, with different colors and patterns signifying various professions and social standings.

Significance of Ties in Men’s Fashion Today

Today, men wear ties as an essential part of formal attire for business meetings, weddings, and other special occasions. It adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any outfit, and is seen as a way to express one’s individual style and personality.

Some professions still require ties as part of the uniform, such as lawyers, bankers, and politicians. However, ties are also worn casually, with a more relaxed and informal style becoming more popular in recent years.

Check out this Youtube video: “When and How Should Men Wear A Tie?” It’s a must-watch for anyone interested in grooming and men’s fashion.

The video offers practical tips on color matching, plus size options, and when to wear ties for different occasions.

History of the Necktie

The necktie is a fashion accessory that has been around for centuries. Its history can be traced back to the 17th Century during the 30 Years’ War (1618-1648).

During this time, French soldiers hired Croatian mercenaries who wore traditional knotted neckerchiefs around their necks as part of their uniform.

These neckerchiefs served a practical purpose of holding the top of their jackets together and were more comfortable than stiff collars. The French soldiers brought this style back with them to France, and it quickly caught on as a fashion statement.

Over the years, the necktie evolved from its original form, which was a narrow strip of cloth that was tied around the neck in various knots. It went through several iterations, including the stock, which was a piece of cloth folded and tied in a specific way, the cravat, which was a wide, lace or embroidered neckband, and the ascot, which was a wide, formal necktie with pointed ends.

Today, neckties come in a variety of colors, patterns, and materials, and they are a staple of formal and professional attire for men. But why do men wear ties?

Let’s explore the various reasons behind this fashion choice.

Symbolism of the Necktie

The necktie has become an integral part of men’s formal wear, but it also carries a deeper symbolic purpose. While their original function has changed over time, they remain symbolic in conveying a wearer’s personality and attention to detail.

Each knot used to tie a necktie can also represent different traits. For example, the Windsor knot is considered a power knot, conveying confidence and authority.

On the other hand, the simple Four-in-Hand knot is considered more casual and relaxed.

man wearing a necktie

Many cultures also use knots as a symbol of unity, which can be observed in wedding ceremonies where a physical tying of the knot represents the union between two people. In this same way, the necktie symbolizes a connection between the wearer and his attire, and even society at large.

Wearing a Tie Casually

While ties are typically associated with formal events, they can also be worn casually. So, why do men wear ties casually?

One reason could be to add a touch of sophistication to their outfits. Ties can elevate a simple shirt and pants combination, or even a t-shirt and jeans for a more put-together look.

It can also show attention to detail and effort put into one’s appearance.

When it comes to selecting a tie for casual wear, it’s important to choose fabrics with less elaborate patterns and formal associations. A solid, striped, plaid or polka dot tie will fit the bill perfectly, but anything with intricate patterns may be too busy for casual arrangements.

Men wearing ties casually

Did you know? The origin of the necktie can be traced back to the 17th century when French soldiers hired Croatian mercenaries who wore traditional knotted neckerchiefs as part of their uniform.

Ties in Contemporary Fashion

Today, ties have become an essential item of clothing for men in the business and formal world, worn to dress up a suit or shirt. Beyond their practical function of holding clothing together, ties also serve as a form of self-expression and individuality.

Different colors, patterns, and textures can convey different moods and personalities.

While traditional silk ties with stripes or polka dots are still common, modern trends in tie fashion include bolder patterns, brighter colors, and even unusual materials such as leather or denim. The skinny tie, made popular in the 1960s, has also made a comeback in recent years, while bow ties remain a classic and quirky choice.

It’s important to note that ties are not just reserved for formal occasions. Casual outfits can also benefit from the addition of a tie, as long as it’s a more relaxed style and made from a more casual fabric such as cotton or linen.

Ultimately, the choice of tie is up to the wearer, and can say a lot about their personal style and taste.

Masculinity and Ties

For centuries, ties have been seen as a symbol of masculinity in Western culture. It has become a staple in men’s formal wear and is often regarded as a symbol of power, status, and professionalism in the workplace.

However, the gender stereotypes associated with ties have evolved over time. In the past, it was deemed inappropriate for women to wear ties, but in present times, it has become more commonplace with gender-neutral fashion trends.

The Croatian mercenaries from the 1600s may have started the trend of wearing neckwear, but it wasn’t until the 1800s when ties became more prevalent in European culture. In the early 1900s, ties were even used to distinguish between different professions like doctors, lawyers, and politicians.

Nowadays, the connotations of wearing a tie has shifted to be more associated with formal wear and less with professional status. Ties come in various styles, patterns, and colors to complement different formal wear.

For example, solid or striped ties are more conservative and versatile, while bolder patterns like polka dots or paisleys add more flair to an outfit.

Although ties have been historically viewed as a symbol of masculinity, now it has become a fashion accessory that is often gender-neutral. People of all genders can wear them and use them to enhance their outfit of the day.

Alternatives to Neckties

Why do men wear ties? While neckties have been a staple in men’s formal fashion for centuries, there are alternatives for those who prefer a different look.

Bow ties are a classic alternative and come in a variety of styles and patterns. These can add a touch of whimsy to a formal outfit.

Cravats, or ascots, are another option and can add a touch of vintage charm. Scarves can also be worn in place of a tie and can add a pop of color or texture to an outfit.

Ultimately, the alternative chosen depends on personal preference and the occasion.

If you’re unsure of what alternative to choose, consider the formality of the event and the rest of your outfit. A bow tie may be more appropriate for a black tie affair, while a scarf may be more suited for a business casual look.

Additionally, consider the fabric and pattern of the alternative. For example, a solid colored bow tie may be more versatile than one with a bold pattern.

Overall, experimenting with different alternatives to the necktie can add variety and personality to a man’s fashion.


So, why do men wear ties? The answer varies.

For some, it’s a symbol of professionalism and status. For others, it’s a way to express their personal style or simply to dress up an outfit.

Regardless of the reason, the necktie has withstood the test of time and continues to be a staple in men’s fashion.


Jonathan B. Delfs

I love to write about men's lifestyle and fashion. Unique tips and inspiration for daily outfits and other occasions are what we like to give you at MensVenture.com. Do you have any notes or feedback, please write to me directly: [email protected]

Recent Posts