The Origins of the Neck Tie

For most people, the tie or bowtie is simply a fashion item or daily work attire, but have you ever stopped to think about where it came from and when? Believe it or not, the humble tie has an interesting past!

Military routes

Ties seem to have been first worn by Chinese soldiers some thousands of years back. The Xian terracotta sculptures discovered in 1974 shows that the soldiers of the first Chinese Emperor, Qin Shih Huang, wore ties. The sculptures of the soldiers show a neck cloth around each soldier’s neck. The history after Emperor Qin Shih Huang does not show the use of neck tie in China

The necktie reappears in the rule of Emperor Trajan of the Roman Empire. Trajan ruled from 98 to 117AD. As a military genius, he led to a great expansion of the Roman Empire and his renowned military conquest of Dacia is immortalized in the Trajan marble column erected in 113 AD. Thousands of soldiers are shown wearing all sorts of neckwear. Similar to the Chinese case, no history around that era shows other Roman soldiers wearing neckties. Thus both situations suggest that ties must have been used as a sign of honor to befitting personalities.

Croatian soldiers supporting the French King Louis XIII during the Thirty Years War are the next to be seen with colorful knotted neckties after Trajan’s army. So it is during this era, so called the Middle Ages, when ties started spreading as a fashion. Louis XIV came to the throne when ties had already become fashionable in France. The trend had already passed from the Croatian military to the French military and finally to the ordinary French people. Ties were seen in the streets in different colors in various fabrics. Some people believe that the French “cravat” for the neckties must have been a corruption of “Croat.”

The evolution of the tie

It would take another few hundreds of years for the cravat to evolve into the thin strip of cloth we current regard as the tie. The cravat found its way to England in 1660 after Charles II reclaimed his throne. Aristocrats from exile came back with cravats which soon became the trend of the day, spreading even to English colonies. It became a stylish add on to a well dressed gentleman, with people wearing it in every conceivable color and style. There soon were cravats of ribbon, ruffled collars, tasseled strings, embroidered linen, cotton and lace.

In the 18th Century, wearing a tie became the height of fashion will all men donning ties regardless of status. The century marked the most rapid spread of the tie craze. Early the following century, Napoleon Bonaparte wore a white cravat during the battle of Waterloo in honor of the Duke of Wellington, who liked the color during the war. It was around that time that the word “tie” was coined from the fact the cravats were tied around the neck.

By 1818, ties were already widespread and the book “The Neckclothitania” was published to satirize the elaborate styles of tying and wearing the cravat. “The Art of Tying the Cravat” by, H. Le Blanc followed in 1828, demonstrating 32 different styles of wearing the cravat, in 16 lessons.

By the 1920s Jesse Langsdorf produced the design that runs till today. The only thing that has changed back and forth is the width, length or brilliance of the colors.

Nowadays, shopping online for ties and accessories is normal for most men. Who would have thought over 2000 years ago!

This article is bought to you by The Tie Boutique.



A Beginners Guide To Photo Retouching

Product photography is an art in which it’s extremely important to master if you’re looking to produce a quality image that promotes your product well. Let’s face it though – not everybody is a professional trained product photographer, but by following these steps you can get a great result!

product_photography_tipsUnfortunately, sometimes the product itself has blemishes which can cause imperfections in the image. To help minimise this, it’s wise to ensure the product is new and cleaned prior to photographing. Lighting is also very important but if these things are unachievable or undesirable,  photo retouching using software can be extremely effective.


If you’re a beginner with little knowledge of Photoshop or any other advanced photo editor GIMP is GNU Image Manipulation Program which is simple to use and free.

To make changes, open the image file with GIMP. You will want your product to have a white background which is a standard for display in many major online stores, go to ‘color’ then ‘levels’. Pick the white point ‘eye-dropper’ and click onto the darkest part of the product photo background that needs to be turned white. This should make the background white. You then need to get the right dimensions for your photograph. Press Shift+C or got to ‘Tools’, then ‘Transform Tools’ and finally ‘Crop’. Crop by dragging the photo frame to the desired size and then hit the ‘Enter’ key when through.

You can clear background errors using the pencil tool or the paintbrush, with the colour set to white. For the image, use the Heal tool (press H) or the Clone tool (press C). You will use either of the tools to transfer color and texture from areas having the same qualities as the areas you want to heal by covering the specks of dust.

The blemishes caused by making the background white can be corrected in two ways.

  1. Go to ‘Color’, ‘Hue Saturation’ the click the selector next to the color you wish to manipulate. Play with the ‘Saturation’ slider till you get it right. You may want to try the ‘Overlap’ slider if it may help. Hit ‘OK’ when done.
  2. If that doesn’t give you a deal, try the color balance. Go to ‘Colors’ then ‘Color Balance’ and play with the sliders till the image looks right.

You may then want to play with any other tool to get your final photo right. ‘Filter’, ‘Enhance’ then ‘Unsharp Mask’ may help sharpen the image if diffraction blurred it due to a small aperture setting.

There is a lot you can do with the GIMP! It beats Photoshop and most other commercial photo editing software by virtue of its simplicity, and much more, it is free. It also does a good job for you.


Once done, you want to save the changes so that you don’t lose all the effort, time and creativity. You are now ready to send you’re your product photo to your client or post it on your website for your visitors to see.






Proudly Supporting: Penguin Product Photographers  – Melbourne


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