Narrow Tie and its History from Frank Sinatra to the Modern Times
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Like almost every other aspect of fashion and style, narrow ties have had their ups and downs.
Throughout the years, narrow ties have been in style, out of style, back in, back out…you get the idea. But now, narrow ties are definitely back in.
Narrow men’s ties are part of a new trend in fashion that emphasizes a sleek, thin style. Along with narrow men’s ties, narrow-tailored suits (narrow lapels, narrow cut jackets, narrow pant legs) are becoming all the rage among the hip and fashionable. But unlike many eras in the past, the trend toward narrow neckwear and narrow suits seems likely to stick around this time.
In one form or another, narrow men’s neckties have been around for decades, perhaps making their biggest splash in the Roaring ‘20s. The “narrow ties” of that era were actually about two inches in width, which isn’t exactly narrow but were narrower than the more common ties of the day, which were three inches and wider.
For many years after that, narrow ties fell out of favor, as suits in the ‘30s and ‘40s featured wide labels and wide shoulders and those suits needed a tie to match. Ties during that era could reach whopping three-and-a-quarter inches in width. With ties that wide becoming the norm, it looked like narrow neckwear would have a hard time making a comeback.
But comeback they did and as with most fashions it took an icon of “cool” to make narrow neckties fashionable again. In the ‘50s, that icon was Frank Sinatra, who, along with the rest of the Rat Pack, brought back slim suits with narrow lapels, pants with narrow legs and, of course, narrow ties. Fans of Frankie and Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. soon became fans of narrow ties as well to emulate their hero.
The popularity of the skinny tie continued into the 1960s when another group of entertainment trendsetters, The Beatles, kept the fashion alive and created the “mod” look that spawned an entire counterculture and soon found its way to American shores. But as The Beatles’ style evolved, from sophisticated mod to far-out experimental, their fans followed suit and narrow ties once again waited for their day in the spotlight.
That time came in the 1980s in the form of the New Wave musical movement. Once again, it was British bands and musical stars that led the way, both in new musical sounds and fashions. Not only did they bring narrow neckwear back, but they did so in a variety of styles and materials: leather narrow ties, silk narrow neckwear, narrow ties with wild prints like leopard and tiger patterns, etc.
The latest incarnation of narrow ties harkens back to the Rat Pack days, as the fashion conscious take on a more subdued look than their counterparts in the ‘80s. Muted suits with narrow lapels and trim cuts are back and with them narrow ties that compliment the sophisticated look.
Because the look of narrow men’s ties these days is more subdued, there’s a good chance the look will be around for some time, as the new style can go from the office to the nightclub without missing a beat.
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