School Ties

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The fashion of school ties, like many other style accessories, simply followed their function. History has sparked endless debate about just where and how the first ties came into being, with most historians agreeing that they emerged in the palace of Louis XIV during France's Thirty Years' War. While these ties were meant to help soldiers identify one another by regimen, they also served a more practical purpose: keeping their wearers warm.

School ties sprung into being out of no such exigency. Rather, they followed on the heels of the intercollegiate sports boom in 19th-century England. Spectators wore ties to show their allegiance to various sports clubs, though these ties were originally worn around the cap and not the neck. Over time, they gradually migrated south toward the collar, which is how the sports tie got its illustrious start.

Today's School Ties

Nowadays, school ties are still just as much a part of team loyalty (some would say fanaticism) as they were more than 100 years ago in England. Best of all, you needn't have attended Harvard, Yale, or Princeton to claim any sort of right to these accessories, as school ties exist in the colors of just about every accredited (as well as unaccredited) institution. Even if no official Po Dunk University school ties can be found on the shelves of your exclusive men's clothing retailer, there's a good bet Po Dunk University sells them in its very own bookstore!

For those bent on tradition, school ties flashing venerable Ivy League colors are widely available, be they in Harvard crimson, Yale blue, or Brown, er, brown. Wolverines, Seminoles, Fighting Irish, and Tar Heels of the world needn't worry; they too are abundantly represented in the men's fashion realm, as are those whose colors aren't as widely known. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that university ties aren't known for showcasing school mascots--just team colors.


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