Knotting a seven fold tie around your neck means wearing a hand-crafted product that is also a piece of history. The first ties of this type date to the Croatian nobles who during the Thirty Years War brought extremely elegant scarves to Europe, cut to fall straight along the chest and slim the figure. These archetypal ties were the ancestors of today’s seven fold ties: they were created with a single cloth of fabric folded to appear more rigid and not move while the wearer was riding.
The modern seven fold tie, however, is a Neapolitan invention that has always conveyed Italian style throughout the world. Indeed, they were the favored souvenir that English offspring returning from the Grand Tour gave as gifts to their relatives and friends along with tales of their travels to the far-away “Boot”. In this way, from Naples to London and then throughout the world, the seven fold tie rapidly came to the forefront of male fashion at the end of the 17th century to never completely abandon this position.
The seven fold tie owes much of its success to Beau Brummell. If you look up the word dandyism in a dictionary, his name appears in the first lines. Today we’d probably call him an influencer. In the first years of the 19th century, Lord Brummell made popular the use of tight tube pants and tailcoats and was the promoter of slicked wigs in high society. He was also the one who defined the tie as the garment able to mark the passage from the Cicisbei of the eighteenth century to the cosmopolitan dandies of the nineteenth, lovers of personal style above all else.
From the Second World war to North by Northwest
The aura of nobility of this particular type of tie dates back to the Second World War. Ties were then widespread: no male above the age of 16 would ever have dreamed of leaving the house without a tie, but the wartime economy made it difficult to find the materials and many quality garments had inaccessible prices. Tailors did their best, assembling with the material available ties that were much thinner and shorter than current ones, produced in two pieces like most ties: the interlining was inserted within and served to give shape to the garment, while fine fabric was only used on the visible part. Today, seventy years later, traditional ties are still made like this. This makes even clearer how precious a tie made out of a single cut of fine fabric folded on itself, such as the seven fold tie, can be.
One could think that the entire body of the seven fold tie is made of rigid fabric, including the neck and the knot. In reality, only the 30 centimeters that go from the tip of the blade upwards, and the 12 centimeters that start from the tail, thus only the extremities, are affected by the folding.
Then, if you want the luxury of a seven fold tie but not a garment that is too heavy, it’s possible to ask for a lighter interlining or even opt for an “unlined” tie, that is with the two ends of the tie without lining and interlining.
The seven fold is a type of “noble” tie and it is favored by enthusiasts: Cary Grant, a compulsive collector, flew to Naples to have ties made to measure for the most important occasions, and he chose seven fold ties, carefully selecting the materials and patterns. Yes, also patterns, even though we remember Grant above all with monochromatic ties in shades of grey blue and earth tones, which were also those that looked better both in black and white and technicolor in Hitchcock films. The king of suspense never would have allowed to wear a patterned tie for the image on the North by Northwest poster, the one that depicts him fleeing from the propeller of a biplane with the tie waving behind him. What better visual trick than a grey tie to show the danger of a close encounter between a man and an airplane that is landing?
A style accessory
There’s no need to be Cary Grant to choose the right seven fold tie: it’s enough to carefully evaluate the length on the basis of your stature and the right pattern to coordinate with the jacket you are wearing. There are effects, let’s call them” optical”, to consider in the choice: a narrow tie makes you look taller, as long as you’re slim. If you think about James Stewart, it’s impossible to imagine him without one of those thin, solid color ties he almost always wore, on and off the set.
But if you’re not long-limbed, it’s better to increase the width of the tie to avoid highlighting your build.
The seven fold tie is traditionally made of silk, but now it’s also possible to find it in wool and knitwear and, choosing it in darker shades (blue or black), these alternative materials can also be used in more formal situations, perhaps combined with a grey suit or a white shirt.
The seven fold tie is the top of elegance, therefore it’s best to choose it with a subtle and discrete pattern or in a solid color. For summer 2020 men’s fashion favors earth tones, from beige to brown, with which you can combine a seven fold tie with shades from light to navy blue. We can also choose tone on tone and coordinate a seven fold tie in an original fabric or featuring a subtle pattern with a light-colored outfit. No matter our choice of color or pattern, with a seven fold tie we’ll feel like a true dandy.