Kipper tie

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Example of a kipper tie, 1953. Note the wide breadth, short length and garish pattern.

A kipper tie is a type of necktie primarily fashionable in Britain in the mid-1960s to late 1970s. The primary characteristics of the kipper tie are its extreme breadth (normally 4.5–5 inches) and often garish colours and patterns.

Design origin[edit]

Jerry Siegel wearing kipper tie, 1970s.

Wide neckties were fashionable in the 1940s: first among Zoot suiters rebelling against wartime austerity, and later as part of the "Bold Look" worn by World War II veterans returning to civilian life.[1] Ties of this period often featured bright colors and bold prints, including birds, animals, and floral designs like Paisley. British comedian Max Miller was well known for wearing suits and wide ties made from the same fabric as Aloha shirts.[2]

Kipper ties made a comeback among the younger generation during the late 1960s and early 70s as the thin ties and slim fitting Mod suits began to be replaced by the precursors to disco fashion.[3] British fashion designer Michael Fish designed the kipper tie in 1966 working out of his establishment in Piccadilly.[4]


Sean Connery wearing wide tie and double breasted power suit fashionable from the early 1980s until the late 1990s.

Despite the backlash against disco during the early 1980s, kipper ties continued to be worn with the 1940s influenced, double breasted power suits. Although they rarely exceeded four inches in diameter, wide ties remained fashionable until the end of the decade, when ultra thin ties became fashionable, together with 1950s inspired bolo ties.

During the mid 1990s, kipper ties made a comeback due to a resurgence of interest in 1970s fashion.[5] However, these were made in darker colors than the originals, and generally lacked the kitsch graphics. From 2006 until 2013, however, the wide ties had become associated with older men, and were replaced by skinny ties and slim-fitting suits influenced by British indie pop groups and the 1960s Mod subculture.[6]

Name of the tie[edit]

It has alternately been proposed that the name "kipper tie" is a reference to the extreme breadth of the tie resembling a kipper,[7] or a sly reference to the designer, whose last name, Fish, was evocative of a kipper.[8] Perhaps the tag derives from the Spoonerisation of Piccadilly as "Kippadilly".


  1. ^ Walker, Richard: The Savile Row Story, Prion, 1988, ISBN 1-85375-000-X
  2. ^ East, John M. (1977), Max Miller the Cheeky Chappie, London, W H Allen, ISBN 0491-02260-3
  3. ^ Berg companion to fashion
  4. ^ Grunenberg, Christoph; and Harris, Jonathan. Summer of Love: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis and Counterculture in the 1960s. Liverpool University Press, 2006. P. 213-214,
  5. ^ Handbook of gender sex and media
  6. ^ Joseph gordon levitt wearing skinny tie
  7. ^ Schur, Norman W. English English: A Descriptive Guide. Verbatim Books, 1978. P. 136.
  8. ^ Breward, Christopher; Ehrman, Edwina; and Evans, Caroline. The London Look: Fashion from Street to Catwalk. Yale University Press, 2004. P. 131.