The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®




By Kathy Wolfe

  • In the late 1990s, two researchers identified 85 different ways to tie a tie. They subsequently came out with a book called “85 Ways to Tie a Tie.” Of the 85 knots, 13 knots are “aesthetic” knots because they are symmetrical. Of those 13, four are commonly used, and the other nine are seldom used.
  • About 85% of the ties worn today are tied with a common knot called the four-in-hand, named after coach drivers who were trying to control the reins of a team of four horses. Another common knot used on ties is called the Windsor knot, named after the Duke of Windsor, probably because he used the knot a lot (but not because he invented it).


  • In 1998, the Netherlands’ 73-year-old Prince Claus, husband of Queen Beatrix, was hosting South Africa president Nelson Mandela. They attended a fashion show together in Amsterdam. Prince Claus applauded President Mandela’s casual style of dress. Suddenly he yanked off his navy blue tie and threw it to the ground at his wife’s feet, declaring it “a snake around his neck.” He immediately received a standing ovation for the deed. In reporting the incident that evening, a TV anchorman also yanked his tie off before the cameras. So did the sportscaster as he gave the soccer scores. Suddenly a revolution was underway, a phenomenon dubbed “claustrophilia.” Thousands of businessmen across the Netherlands followed the lead of their Prince Claus and discarded their ties. The Prince dubbed his deed “The Declaration of Amsterdam.” Although his act sparked an open-necked fashion craze among Dutchmen, the Prince soon resumed wearing his tie. He used a Windsor knot until his death at age 76.


  • In the 1600s, ladies who drank wine would protect their fancy dresses with a lace hanky wrapped around their neck like a bib and tucked into their neck. Sipping wine was called bibbing and the lacy neckerchief was called a tucker. Nowadays when you put on your best bib and tucker, you are referring to the olden days of bibbing tuckers.
  • There is a horse racetrack near Berkshire, England called Ascot. The high-fashion men who frequented the racetrack took to wearing a silk or satin scarf around their necks which became known as an ascot.
  • Victor Cedarstaff was a silversmith in Arizona in the 1940s. He went out on a round-up chasing wild horses and his hat kept blowing off. He took the hatband and silver buckle off of his hat and slung them around his neck, so if he lost the hat for good he would still have the band and the buckle. Well, once his cowboy buddies got a look at what he had done, they loved the look. As a result, the bola tie was born. It basically consists of a leather string that loosely circles the neck and passes through an ornamental buckle at the throat. Victor patented the fashion in 1959. It was named the bola (or bolo) because it resembles the lengths of rope, also called a bola, that Argentine cowboys use to snare game or lasso cattle. In 1971 the Arizona legislature named the bola the official state neckware.


  • In the 1980s two entrepreneurs sent out advertisements reading, “Mail us one to six ties you are sick of. You’ll receive pronto same number of handsomely cleaned different ties we got the same way. Then you pay postman $1.” They received 17,000 ties in the next six months.