If you have trouble tying a Windsor knot, this is probably not the story for you. But because mathematicians are hardwired to figure out such things, to the nth degree, Swedish math whiz Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson decided we needed to know exactly how many variations are possible when deciding which knot to use when tying a tie.
The answer, his team of academics determined, is that there are 177,147 different ways to make your neck look business-like, including knots that feature the narrow end of a normal tie. So if you're bored with the buttoned-up corporate look, at least there are options.
Tied up in knots:
- This 2014 solution to an unforeseen problem bests the 1999 results of Cambridge mathematicians Yong Mao and Thomas Fink, who determined that there are 85 possible ways to tie a tie. But who’s counting?
- The necktie originated in the 17th century during a 30-year war in France. The uniform of Croatian mercenaries brought in to fight by King Louis XIII featured a piece of cloth tied around the neck. The king liked the look, and made “La Cravate” a mandatory accessory at all royal gatherings.
- In the late 20th century, a tieless Casual Friday was created in many workplaces. Its origins come from Hawaii’s custom of Aloha Friday, which spread to California and beyond in the 1990s.