Hyper Smash

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The Difference Between European and American Rep Stripe Ties

Rep Striped Necktie
Striped ties, on either side of the Atlantic, what's the difference?  

About ten years ago we started a web site called The American Necktie Magazine, before blogs were popular.  On this site we had great articles very much like this blog, Find Ties - About Neckties.  Included was a section for questions and answers.  Here is one that may be of interest to you - Jeffrey Hunter.


THE QUESTION:

I am trying to confirm the history of striped ties pointing to the left shoulder being European style versus stripes pointing to the right shoulder being American styles. Do you have any info on this?

Sincerely,

Neil M. Lazar


QUICK ANSWER:

The shape and design of colors and patterns of the cravat changed and of course the military again dictated this. Before the turn of the 20th century, realizing that their soldiers were easy targets wearing bright red uniforms, the British were outfitted with drab green uniforms. Each regiment decided on their own, what tie to wear with a different stripe going across the tie in a pattern of colors and stripe width. With this need to be individual the "Rep Stripe" necktie was born. Across the Atlantic American soldiers followed suite, however the stripes go the other way. The distinction between the European Rep Stripe tie vs. American Rep Stripe tie is simple enough. The difference is the direction of the stripe from the left shoulder crossing the heart or from the right shoulder crossing the heart.

If a rifle were to be carried in sling strapped over the shoulder, the American soldier would carry his weapon over the right shoulder. The European military sling would carry over the left shoulder with the strap crossing the heart. In dress, the uniform would flow better without converging stripes. I am sure if you view West Point or other officer photographs you'll see this.


THE ANSWER:

Dr. Neil Lazer

Thanks for your email. We have started a site called the American Necktie Magazine. I will forward this message to Ylva Harr the editor. She is in Sundsval, Sweden.

It is true that the "Rep Stripe" tie is different in Europe. I believe that it is a military uniform influence. The "American Rep Stripe" will cross the chest diagonally with the stripes pointing from the right shoulder towards the waist. The "European Rep Stripe" crosses the chest with the stripes pointing from left shoulder towards the waist.

If a rifle were to be carried in sling strapped over the shoulder, the American soldier would carry his weapon over the right shoulder. The European military sling would carry over the left shoulder with the strap crossing the heart.  American rifles eject shell casings to the right and the European rifle ejects shell casings to the left. As for American military; considering people are mostly right handed the soldier would have and easier access and feel for the rifle carried over the right shoulder.

In dress, the uniform would flow better without converging stripes. I am sure if you view West Point or other officer photographs you'll see this. Before the turn of the twentieth century the British came to the conclusion that their soldiers were easy targets in bright red uniform. With the issue of camouflaged uniform that would not make a soldier so easy to spot in the field the only way to dress up with color and style was a uniquely designed striped tie, with each division or regiment adopting their own colors. These ties not only preserved the traditional colors, they provided the only creativity for the drab new uniforms.

The Royal Rifle Corps sported rifle green and scarlet ties, while the stripes of the Artists' Rifles were black, gray, and red; the Inns of Court wore green and blue stripes.

Of course this spread across the Atlantic as Americans still proud of taking the land from England would not be out done by the United Kingdom in anyway. The British navy still controlled the high seas and much of the world so an influence concerning fashion was prevalent especially for military uniform. 

This was explained to me years ago and I cannot confirm the truth of this explanation but logically it makes since. At the turn of the century ( last one - the twentieth ) neckties were very much part of military uniform.  European, and American fashion was influenced by the dress code of service men.

I hope this answers your question. Without time to check this as fact I can only piece together what I have read and what my father and other gentlemen have told me.

Go to the Almanac of Neckwear - 2000 years of necktie history   Here you will find a section ”Fit For An Officer And A Gentlemen" there. This explains the origin of the striped tie.

They left out the real origin of the tie - One Million B.C. a charming ape fashions necktie out of twigs while courting his mate.   A joke around here and a part of my Complete History of Neckties

Thanks again for your email

Jeffrey Hunter