Drake's Diary

Life at Drake's in Haberdasher, Mayfair and beyond

Untipped Handrolled Ties


Neckwear seems to have been around forever. Tied scarves are worn by the legionaries decorating Trajan’s column in Rome (113 AD), and each of the 7,500 soldiers in the Shih Huang Ti terracotta army ( 221 BC) so recently discovered in China  is wearing a carefully tied silk neck cloth. Over the ensuing years needless to say we’ve found any number of ways to make and tie pieces of cloth around our necks. There are books about this.

For most of us ties seem so simple, a strip of cloth hanging down our shirt fronts. But the aficionado of fine neckwear appreciates that correctly made ties are a complex, meticulously intricate affair. Top-of-the-line ties are made by hand. Let’s just for the moment concentrate on the concept known as tipping.  Until around 1930 the custom was that the underside of the two ends of the tie (called blades by tie makers) were simply left to show the underside of the fabric. But after 1930 more and more manufactures began to cover these ends with either contrasting pieces of silk, or with pieces of the fabric itself (often referred to in the trade as French tipping).

The untipped tie, in short, became almost a lost art. But today, along with more lightly constructed jackets in which linings are used sparingly, and soft, unlined shirt collars, the untipped tie is seeing a recurrence of interest, more for those men more inclined to the dishabille style of dress, who prefer their clothing softly constructed and easily draped.

It’s really all a matter of tastes, and so nice to have the choice.  


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