Men of the 1920s found a new means of self-expression through fashion. Just by examining the color and pattern of a man's tie, the viewer could discern the wearer's military history, fashion savvy and social ranking. From the invention of the modern necktie to the trends that live only in history books, the 1920s was a turbulent decade for the necktie.
The Bias Cut Revolution
The modern necktie was created in 1924 by a New York-based tailor named Jesse Langsford. Frustrated with neckties that would stretch out and lose their shape, Langsford developed a necktie comprising three separate panels, each cut on the bias. Cutting the fabric on the bias allowed for the fabric to stretch with greater ease and resume its shape at the end of the day. It also allowed the tie to lay flat against the chest, instead of twisting around as ties before had done. While it may widen or narrow as fashion dictates, the "Langsford Tie" is still the tie worn by modern men today.
Daytime ties of the 1920s were typically worn much wider than ties are worn today. The most common knot was the four-in-hand, and the most popular style was the Macclesfield, which featured a small geometric pattern against a background of silver silk. Silk was the most common fabric for neckties of the 1920s, though wool and cotton ties were produced as well. A younger gentleman might be more daring in his necktie choice and opt for a bow-tie during the day, especially if he were about to hit the links for a game of golf. The 1920s also saw the introduction of "regimental" or "club" ties. The striped pattern of a tie's fabric would denote a gentleman's social club affiliation or the branch in which he served in the military.
No gentleman of any chic in the 1920s would be seen in the evening without a bow tie. Ties would be black or white, depending on the preference of the wearer and the details of the occasion (black-tie or white-tie ). The clip-on bow tie was not invented until December 1928, so bow ties were tied by hand for the majority of the decade.
Where to Find
Very few vintage clothing companies offer 1920s men's neckties; fabrics like silk and cotton are unlikely to withstand nearly 100 years of wear and tear. When replicating the look of the 1920s, choose a silk necktie with a small, discreet pattern of geometric shapes or stripes. Avoid loud, garish patterns and obvious colors. Silver, navy and burgundy were popular colors, as were purple and brown.