The Continental Tie
Every so often on the hunt for vintage, I come across an article of clothing I don’t quite recognize, like the 60s shave coat or 80s reversible vest profiled in past blog entries. The curious item usually has more historical interest than fashion cachet, as in the blue plaid tie with pearlized snap pictured above, which was listed in the shop this week. I’m not sure I’d ever recommend wearing one, or in what context (although GQ’s Style Guy has approved the use on at least one occasion), but it was unusual enough not to pass up. Before I could list it though, I had to know what to call it, besides ‘a variation on a bow tie consisting of an adjustable strip of fabric that snaps where it crosses at the neck, leaving two short ends.’ Answer: the ‘Continental tie’ or ‘crossover’ tie. My three internet sources–a blog on men’s black tie dress, a forum for fans of culture from “The Greatest Generation;” and GQ’s “Ask The Style Guy” guy, Glenn O’Brien–may not have given a ton of information but they did provide consensus. The crossover tie was introduced in the U.S. during the 1950s as a streamlined, “Continental” alternative for men’s formal neckwear and was popularized during the 1960s by rockabilly and country western musicians like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. It’s simple formality crossed over into women’s wear and became associated with uniforms as well. The Continental tie is still available today from Western outfitters (and uniform suppliers) although you’d be better off getting a stylish one from an antique or vintage shop (which is where the red satin number on this model recently styled for b store came from).