27 March, 2009 | 34 comments | Category: Fashion, thinking...
Thank you for having me, and for readying yourselves to reading my, at times, ridiculous and nonsensical rambles. It will sound, or rather, read a bit crude; but I’ll say what I feel and mean what I say. A bit about me, I am a 20something ethioafrican. I hate the norm; not particularly ‘normal people’, but confirming to normality. That’s not to say I’m revolutionary or out of ordinary, not in the sense of a 21st century Fidel Castro anyway, but I do admire people who stand up for their beliefs, and yes sometimes tell people to go to hell if they see it fit. In true senduQ fashion, I like ideas that burst out of the box. I have an interest in politics, religion, society, science and more… how can you have enough of anything? and I don’t mean material possessions. I detest extravaganza and preposterous pretension. ~ Nani
I may be alone in this vote, or many of you have thought about it but have simply ignored it, or accepted it to be what’s normal, what everyone is supposed to do, what is most conventional. But I see no use for it! I mean it’s just hanging there and it has absolutely no use whatsoever! It makes your neck look ‘distinguished’ and gives you “class”, they say. I say it looks like you were trying to chock yourself unsuccessfully and forgot to finish the job in your hurry to get to work! Seriously, have you seen older men wearing them? They should be forbidden from wearing them because it makes the un-finished chocking thoroughly unsettling… unsettling for lack of a better word! I mean honestly, what is the use??? It’s not part of the shirt, or coat. You don’t need it to wipe your face or can’t use it as napkin; it’s simply a piece of cloth that is longer than it is wide, much longer than it is wide actually, I’d guess it’s a few centimeters wide to a meter and a quarter long … and is unbelievably expensive, sometimes more expensive than my whole wardrobe put together (that may be an exaggeration but close enough). The point is: why do you need it?
Old men in Ties
I asked myself this question and for the life of me could not come up with any reasonable answer. It’s not its existence that I find unsettling it’s the importance we attach to it. Yes I’m talking about the Tie, the little piece of cloth that men (sometimes women) occasionally, (or usually) throw around their neck to appear … ‘distinguished’. I was recently sitting in class watching a documentary and this really old guy (a senior politician of about 70/75 years old) was giving an interview. The whole time he was speaking I could not concentrate on what he was saying because of how his neck looked with the visibly uncomfortable shirt and a tie done so tight that the skin of his neck was folding into creases on top of his collar.
If men don’t have it on in a certain setting - it’s considered unprofessional. If they wear it, they automatically pass the professionalism test, and even then, it has to be the right kind. It can’t be any random thin rope; no it has to be a ‘real’ tie. And then there is the kind, shade and color which has to go with the coat, shoes and shirt, and it has to be from a respectable brand, unless of course you’re a smarty who gets a respectable-looking piece of unnecessary rope to tie around your neck and you pay close to nothing, while keeping the status, which I doubt many men would do. Let’s face it many guys are not so smart on the shopping department.
The History of Tie-ing
So in my quest to find answers I turned to history, why did men start tying unnecessary piece of clothing around their neck? According to wikipedia the history of ties is almost as old as recorded human history. (So the history could be older, simply not recorded :/) Apparently men in ancient Egypt wore a piece of clothing around their neck, a “rectangular piece of cloth tied and hung down till the shoulders” and it was a very important form of affirming social status. The modern necktie finds its roots in China, and men are depicted wearing different forms of neck clothes in Roman times.
And then, according to a questionnaire/ fact finding done by yahoo Croatia it is the country that gave birth to the necktie sometime in early to mid 17th Centuries (1630 – 1640). They claim that merchants from Croatia involved in the Thirty Years’ War visited King Louis le XIV (Yes the Louis that used to wear tights and three inch hills, but then again, all “distinguished” men did then, oh and did I mention long wigs … to go with the tight and hills ?) And their attire apparently inspired the trendy Parisians, giving the story for when they named the piece of clothing a cravat from the mix of “Hrvati” the Croatian’s name for natives of the country, and “Croats” the French word. That explains the name of the tie’s origin, the French and adopted Amharic name as well, but still doesn’t explain the why there is such a thing.
Over time, different forms and styles of the tie have evolved, and apparently the bandana and scarf evoluted of the tie. In the early 19th Century people were so obsessed with tying the tie the right way that they established the Neckclothitania, a book for reference on instructions and illustrations for 14 different cravats; a BOOK! By the second half of the 19th Century Industrial Revolution made it necessary that workers use the neck dress. I think I can safely say this is the ONLY time it was put to any use, – i.e. to keep off dirt from your face, and ultimately the lungs. … And it gets worse, after World War I, the tie was shorter than it is now and started to be … decorated! With flowers and leaves and roses, and stripes for the not so daring souls. After the Second World War they started to be commercialized, used as advertisements, became “wider and wilder” with even ladies’ prints on them. And then of course men came to their “senses” and became conservative with plain old blacks and grays and strips that were ‘in’ again.
Voting it Off!
History has not proven the importance of ties and unless anyone is able to convince me otherwise I see no use for them; especially not today. If you say advertisement, if you were to go around in a tie with an ad today you would most likely lose whatever status you acquired by tying it around your neck in the first place. So what say you, done with the tie?
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34 comments to “Let’s vote off the Cravat!”
Sofanit, March 28th, 2009 at 3:23 pm:
Let’s vote it off! Wonderfully written, throughly interesting, completely outta the box…and convincing lol, let’s vote it off I say!
Nani, April 1st, 2009 at 5:45 pm:
Thank you Sofi, the more I think about it the more I am convinced it’s unnecessary, … I need more votes tho, any one … fore or against …? Maybe we can start a social movement ..AGAINST THE TIE lol and show up for our first day at work tie-less … and probably get fired LOL
I’m glad you enjoyed it
Great entertaining piece Nani! Thank u
so…the cravat is today’s senduQ victim….my question is: aren’t there tons of other fashion items that are in their totally useless and insignificant forms but are there simply out of convention, aesthetics or arbitrary meanings? like nailpolish…men’s heels…etc.
Nani, April 2nd, 2009 at 5:08 am:
yes but the other things are fashion – they come and go, where as the cravat seems to have been around for a very long time and it’s here to stay, plus my main ummm dilemma is WHY we attach this much weight to it, why is it so important, why does it signify being professional or not??
plus i think men have it easy, if women need to dress up they need to go thru a whole wardrope change where as men, they throw on a tie the bingo that’s it, then the next day they change the color of the tie and shirt and yea they look all fresh and new where as women have to choose a whole new ward rope from top to bottom … but that is another issue unto itself i guess
Totit, April 2nd, 2009 at 6:15 pm:
I Like ties…
what do you like about them totit?
ok let’s be totally honest here — a tie can come in handy. a girl can grab onto it and pull that charming man close to her….nice toy for foreplay? lolol and really be completely honest as you imagine a guy dressed up in a crisp classy dark suit looking all fresh and put together and he’s wearing that silk elegant looking tie — it’s like the cherry on top of the ice cream…totally unnecessary (i rarely ever eat the cherry!) but it adds that last dash of savvy… i guess this is all my social conditioning talking but i think it adds that last bit of je ne se quois…
tsedey, April 2nd, 2009 at 9:11 pm:
i like silk ties that say something- either interesting color and desgin or custom made ties that match with the suit is a turn on to me.(for instance the tie on this pic-the lime color is ideal with the shirt)
if there was a man in this blog i bet you they’d say they wouldn’t like to be tied up with a tie. atleast most men i know don’t like to be tied up unless they have to.
as long as the men feel comfortable in them, i vote for cravats- not the lousy ones but the lucious ones
Nani, April 3rd, 2009 at 6:59 am:
well … if u have to point that out … i guess … altho I think I’d like him to be completely relaxed and at ease and i can refer u to a number of things that u can pull ur guy with that doesn’t necessarily need to be tied ’round the neck lol
i think what really bothers me is the tie men wear today, the 16th and 17th century once kinda look better – there was this fleur to them u know and they were the same color as the shirt – white, mosta the time anyway,
but still if your argument is only for the dating scenario, it can be worn by men for night outs or dinner … u know just like when women wear dinner dresses, except i don’t get why they are so important in the office!
and guys if as tsedey says u guys don’t particularly enjoy having to endure it , make a case for urselves, lol and what d’you mean by “luscious” tsedey?
tsedey, April 3rd, 2009 at 5:38 pm:
u know what? come to think of it, i think fashion has utility – even the tie. i think ugly betty said it:
isn’t fashion another art-form? a space to express your personality — your identity to be communicated with the world: to express your style and what you find aesthetically pleasing? to release what is inside of you and it can be very therapeutic to engage in self-expression.
fashion tells stories about what your culture, social status, what convictions you stand up for (take slogan t-shirts for example – these were in fashion around a year ago), what group you belong to (uniforms)
there is something veryy relaxing about flipping through a fashion magazine that transports you to a different world where everything is beautiful eye candy…
then I guess the question becomes: what is the point of art. I will say with conviction: that art is absolutely necessary!
Nani, April 3rd, 2009 at 7:36 pm:
thanks for the links tsedey, I see what u mean by “luscious” they do look nice i’ll admit, and i see there’s different price ranges too so I guess there are nice ties online for the ‘smarties’ I’ll be sure to refer to them, when the occasion arises
and tpeace, i think we’re missing the point, this is not about fashion, yes fashion is art – a very important form of art – a reflection of society, time … but the tie specifically today’s tie has got nothing to merit it to be labeled as ‘fashion’ they’re all the same iko, except for color, now how is that self expression???
and you’re right there’s something so engaging about flipping thru fasion magazines, but not tie magazines i’m sure
and i absolutely agree art is necessary without it there’s no record of man as he/she existed, way of life … but how can you argue that piece of rope is art? :-/
LOL @ tie magazines touche. I wouldn’t be caught flipping through those unless i’m at a veryy boring waiting session at the doctors or something! …ahem or the models are flaunting no other fashion item but the one in question…
so here’re some fashionista, expressive ties:
wouldn’t you agree for a lot of men’s suits the ‘expressive/fashion’ comes in from the accessories? — shoes, belt, socks, buckles, and…ties?
tsedey, April 3rd, 2009 at 9:42 pm:
To add to tpeace’ collection on self expression on ties here are some more: the NY subway map is my fav. i saw it on my collegues and fell in love with it.
I like the ancient world map too:
ladies, these are nice gift ideas too as nani said “when the ocassion arises”
Nani, April 3rd, 2009 at 11:32 pm:
LOL socks, SOCKS?? i’m picturing a guy go ’round pulling up his pants to show off his trendy socks, lol I wonder, … should it be red, or green and what kind of pattern would go with his suit hmmm that’s something to reflect on LOL and i believe, ladies the answer lies in the blog …
“If you say advertisement, if you were to go around in a tie with an ad today you would most likely lose whatever status you acquired by tying it around your neck in the first place.”
so are you saying wearing a tie is not about status?? Imagine all the world leaders at the G20 summit wearing one of your flowery ties tpeace, or yours tsedey with the maps of how to get to … London? LOL
When i think of ties, these lines from an amharic poem that I read a while ago come to my mind …
… Wusha milas mesel kerebatun asro
yiwetal mishitun pipawun denqiro…
the poem criticizes the “zemenawiw” who adores, lives, eats, and drinks a western life style … whose body inside Ethiopia but whose soul outside ethiopia dreaming america’s pie and europa’s green pastures… just like the rest of us here when we were there … but now dying with nostalgic feelings of “home” … lol in a way that is an outrageous “preposterous pretension” for me … sorry for departing from the main topic …
nice comment mr me if that’s the same mr. me that is…
Nani, April 7th, 2009 at 7:38 am:
Very good one me! now that’s a line of thought I had not considered, but quite worth consideration. I think that affirms to the status attributed to the tie, and thinking it signifies a relatively higher social standing we adopt it without questioning. Wouldn’t y’all agree?
Love the poem, it reminds me of ye azmari bet gitimoch
Nani…very interesting history..lol..never thought much abt it until i read this. But honestly…i like ties when they are knotted casually and when worn at the right place and time…i actually even find them kind of sexy…like brad pitt on oceans 12…:o) or is it because he’s wearing them?
They are now so ingrained in our culture that i can’t imagine a groom without a tie . Yes they are not necessary like many other accessories in fashion…but they r kinda cool:)
Nani, April 8th, 2009 at 3:34 pm:
Casually? So Semhal you like the ‘ruffled’ look, eh? well as to us being too accustomed to the tie, Aster said it better in one of her old songs … it goes something like this
suf geberdin lebseh, nalign alilihim
yezemenun kaport, deribeh alilim
yageren yewenzen, ije tebabuni
yemiyamregn kuta new, yebet fetiluni
yamarew inzirte, yefetelelihin,
tebabun kesemen, yefeterelihin
na lideribilih shimunmun kutawin
na lideribilih shimunmun kutahin …
Nani: “I think that affirms to the status attributed to the tie, and thinking it signifies a relatively higher social standing we adopt it without questioning. Wouldn’t y’all agree?”
I agree …
I actually hate ties but depending on the occasion I don’t mind wearing them. too… the whole idea of looking so formal yuks me out …think about it … if u dont wear that stupid looking piece of cloth … the rest of your expensively purchased shoes and pants, shirts and suits are so worthless … isn’t that so ridiculous? lol
But you know when I like ties … ? When I see the blondes wearing it in one of those R rated movies … Now pls don’t pull the other entry that Semhal posted … coz this not a classic example of why Ethiopian men like White girls ….
Until next time …
ok here — heels are what women do for men and ties are what men do for women?
Nani, April 8th, 2009 at 7:44 pm:
LOL VERRRY unlikely, especially not for me but what do I know I don’t even wear heels I hope you’re not saying ties are as painful as hills :/ I hear women say “my feet are killing me” I’ve never heard of a single man say “my neck is killing me lol
women look very seductive, or sexy or whatever you name it, to me when they wear a loose tie … for some reason. So don’t theorize. lol
Nani, April 9th, 2009 at 8:10 pm:
women?? lol i’m trying to have guys give up on ties, you’re saying women should wear them too?? and what’s this thing with loose ties? :-/
check out avril lavine i like the way she rocks a tie on her video ‘complicated’
tpeace…i love women ties too….but…it takes away some femininity so unless ur a rock’n roll star or wearing a school uniform…i think extra care is necessary:P
Aldo sells small white and black ties for women…u should check it out:)
Nani, April 10th, 2009 at 5:28 am:
ummm Thank you Semhal (I think) for the tip of where to get a women-tie, this is definitely not what i intended the “vote it off” campaign to go, but since we started, let’s get on with it shall we
so it also adds sexiness?? mm why do i not buy that … but come to think of it a lot of women on bachelors parties usually in uniforms, like to wear ties, don’t know what to make of that … so is it the formality, or that they are trying to be like a man that’s sexy?
i think i would agree with women liking more masculine with ties, but the women’s version of the neck dress would be the scarf right? now scarves have absolutely no use either in my opinion at least … which is specially noticeably unnecessary on female flight attendants, it looked like they’re trying to cover up a hickey or somethin lol
lol lol you girls are killing me. oh, tie! What a little bastd! Let’s vote it off!!
Nani, April 10th, 2009 at 6:53 pm:
YAYYY! FINALY a vote! you took your time though! Ok people stay focused lol vote! (off – preferably )
One sort of legend I heard about why ties were invented is that they were meant to cover the buttons of the shirt.
very interesting sam! so people thought buttons were ugly?…hmmm…
Nani, July 11th, 2009 at 9:13 am:
:/ why were the buttons considered so repulsive that they needed to be disguised??
That’s way more clever than I was eecxpting. Thanks!