If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.



Tying a Tie

In 1999, two Cambridge mathematicians, Thomas Fink and Yong Mao, calculated the maximum number of ways to tie a tie was 85. But Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson, a Swedish mathematician, realized there must be more ways after seeing The Matrix Reloaded (2003) in which there’s a tie knot that wasn’t in Fink and Mao’s list. The so-called Merovingian knot looks like your tie is wearing its own little tie.

Fink and Mao’s list was based on several arbitrary assumptions - e.g. that the tie could only be tucked in once; that it couldn’t be wound more than eight times; and that the knot must be covered by a flat bit of fabric. By changing these rules, and the mathematical language used, Vejdemo-Johansson and his team at Stockholm University came up with a total of 177,147 ways to tie a normal tie.

Which Tie?

Of the 85 possible knots on Fink and Mao’s 1999 list, only 13 were deemed to be ‘aesthetic’. These include the Windsor, the Half-Windsor and the Four-in-Hand or ‘Schoolboy Knot’, which is the normal method of tying a tie. These three are the only permissible styles allowed by the US Army or Navy for uniforms that require a necktie.

Other ‘aesthetic’ knots in Fink and Mao’s list were the Small Knot, Kelvin, Victoria, St Andrew, Plattsburgh, Cavendish, Grantchester, Hanover, Balthus and Pratt. With the Pratt, you start with the tie inside out. The Nicky Knot is a self-releasing version of the Pratt. 

One problem for tie-wearing schoolchildren is peanutting: somebody grabs the end of your tie and yanks it so that the knot gets pulled very tight and you can’t get it undone. The defence is to insert a 2p coin in the knot when you tie it – then it can’t be peanutted. 


If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens itself around your own.


If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties. How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck.

Louis XIV had his own ‘cravatier’ who would lay our several cravats each day for the King to select which one he would wear.

Dog Collars

The ‘dog collar’ was a 19th century Scottish Presbyterian innovation, adopted by Anglicans in the 1840s and widespread by the 1880s. The white flaps worn hanging down from the dog collar of a priest in full vestments are called ‘preaching bands’. 


Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) Croatian mercenaries from the Croatian Military Frontier in French service, wearing their traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs, aroused the interest of the Parisians. Due to the slight difference between the Croatian word for Croats, Hrvati, and the French word, Croates, the garment gained the name ‘cravat’ (‘cravate’ in French). The boy-king Louis XIV began wearing a lace cravat about 1646, when he was seven, and set the fashion for French nobility. This new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe; both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks. The Terracotta army beat them to it, many of them wearing a necktie c221BC. 

Langsdorf Tie

In 1926, New York tie maker Jesse Langsdorf came up with a method of cutting the fabric on the bias and sewing it in three segments.

This technique improved elasticity and facilitated the fabric's return to its original shape.

Since that time, most men have worn the 'Langsdorf' tie. 

Father's Day Ties

Father’s Day is an official holiday in US but only because New York Associated Menswear Retailers set up a Father’s Day Council to promote it so could sell neckties. 

During Aachen Carnival in Germany, women snip off men's ties with scissors.

The only normal job Houdini ever had was in a necktie factory.

Victorian gentlemen used the badgers penis bones to make tie-pins.

‘Academic Cravatica’ promotes the cravat as part of the Croatian and world cultural heritage.