Skinny ties

The skinny tie is back in fashion. The width of a man's tie has always changed over the years. Just after the War it was the spiv look: wide and flamboyant, but the Teddy Boy of the fifties first started a fashion for skinny ties. Skinny ties have been favoured by Teds, Mods, Punks, Mods again and they even became mainstream in the 80s. Now the skinny tie is back and the height of fashion.

The first trend for skinny ties was in the early fifties. The skinny tie or 'Slim Jim' as it was known, was an essential part of a Teddy Boy's wardrobe. It complemented the drainpipe trousers. Bright colours were popular: acid greens, electric blues and shocking pinks.

Mods take to the skinny tie

The Mods then took to the slim tie in the early sixties. It was sophisticated and stylish. The slim tie was the ideal finishing touch to the classic Mod suit with its slim trousers and lapels.

Mad Men style

Just watch any episode of the cult TV series, Mad Men to see the slim tie in action. All the top executives wore one with their sharp, slim fitting suits. Patterns were usually understated and discrete. A diamond on the tie was a favourite symbol. Deep reds were a popular colour choice. Often the tie was finished with a square end rather than a point. It was all about understated style.

Slim ties go out of fashion

When flower power was in the air, the look was loose and flowing. Slim ties never quite worked with pschydelic patterns. The hippy trend was for the opposite proportions, namely the kipper tie. In the seventies with flares being de rigueur, the kipper was worn by most men and the slim tie was deeply unfashionable. It was not by accident that incompetent hotelier, Basil Fawlty, sported a slim tie.

Punk, Mod and the skinny tie is back

When Punk burst onto the scene in 1976, everything from the hippy movement was rejected and the skinny tie began its rehabilitation. The 1979 Mod revival finally brought it back into fashion. In the first few years of the 80s flares were forgotten and the kipper tie was finally ditched. The skinny tie became ultra hip and once again part of mainstream fashion.

In the early 80s, there was a particular way to wear a school tie. In 1979 the knot was tied very near the wide end. The 3 inch long tie was tucked into a pullover, to give the impression it was a kipper tie. From 1980, it was either worn back to front, showing the slim end of the tie, with the wide part tucked behind the shirt or folded in half length ways to reduce the width and pressed with an iron so it stayed put. The slim tie became the tie with attitude.

As slim ties became more popular, some ideas from the sixties such as leather and suede skinny ties were revived. Sadly the new fashion did not last the decade and the slim tie looked out of place in the late eighties and the nineties, although true Mods never abandoned it. Now, at last, the skinny tie is back.

The skinny tie is back

Today you can combine the skinny tie with an ultra narrow collared shirt, another favourite from the early 80s. It looks great with a cardigan as well as with a slim fitting suit.

If you want an original skinny tie, shop for a vintage on eBay.

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★