The 10 Best Tie Racks
10. Smartek Motorized
9. Rubbermaid Valet
8. J.S. Hanger Natural
7. Longstem Organizers Valet
6. Rev-A-Shelf TRC-14CR
5. Woodlore Accessory Mate
3. Marcus Mayfield Organizer
2. Aristocrat Homewares
1. ClosetMaid 8051
Why The Tie Rack Is Anything But Superfluous
Some say the clothes make the man, and there may be a kernel of truth in the adage. Indeed, when a gentleman is dressed well, he feels more confident and capable, ready to take on the demands of business, family, and all the other responsibilities of life. Assembling a winning ensemble takes a degree of effort and experience. The process starts with buying clothing that fits the times and fits your body, and it ends with choosing the right garments for the occasion.
The more easily a man can review the garments at his disposal as he chooses an outfit, the better style decisions he will make, and the more efficiently he will be ready to face the day. Folded slacks and neatly pressed and hung shirts are a start, but the fellow with a refined sense of sartorial matters should also consider owning a tie rack.
Tie racks that clearly display each necktie are invaluable for helping a man choose the right accessory for a given outfit, and indeed it is the tie that is usually the most prominent feature of his attire. A tie rack saves you the trouble of pulling multiple ties off of a shelf or out of a drawer to be laid out across a bed or dresser, instead allowing you to simply hold up your shirts and jackets for consideration with multiple ties at one time. Tie racks can help you choose the outfits you will wear over a number of days as you pack for travel or as you simply plan ahead for the week.
Beyond the convenient access they provide to your preferred ties, these racks also play a role that is simply a matter of common sense: they save you space. Neckties are inherently inconvenient to store, as they wrinkle easily, rendering themselves unfit for use without pressing. In fact, a tie must be stored either carefully rolled or hung to preserve its shape and appearance; there are no other viable options. A rolled tie must be tucked into a basket or drawer to be kept in its rolled shape, and rolled ties can only be stacked one or two layers high before they will begin to sag and unroll over one another.
While many tie racks represent the ideal way to efficiently use limited free space, others are not only compact and cleverly designed, but they can also take advantage of areas that would otherwise go unused. A tie rack that attaches to the back of a closet door, for example, is a great way to store your ties in a place they are easy to see, easy to access, and completely out of the way when the closet door is closed. Racks that are designed to attach to or hang beneath a closet's rod are also good ways to minimize space consumed while maximizing ease of access to your ties. (Perhaps the only drawback with units designed to hang from a closet rod is their lack of aesthetic appeal, but no one tends to look in your closet anyway.)
For tie racks that will be hung in an office, installed in a readily visible walk-in dressing room in the home, or used in a clothier's shop, consider one of the many fine options wrought in handsome wood and with polished hardware. Such units tend to be less compact than their rod- or door-mounted counterparts, yet are handsome enough to be placed in full view.
Tie Storage On the Go
The gentleman traveling for business or a formal event, or who simply wants to be well-dressed while on vacation, will often wish to bring several neckties along during his trip, yet he can't logically bring a tie rack on the road. Many men simply hang their neckties over their shirts and slacks and then tuck all the garments into a garment bag and hope the ties won't slide off and become rumpled. A better idea is to travel with your ties stored in a dedicated tie travel case. These come in two basic forms, the first being simply a flat, slender case that can usually accommodate two to four ties, depending on the unit's size. These cases feature velcro or elastic straps that hold the neckties in shape, and they can slip into a standard garment bag for worry-free travel.
The second tie case option is a short, hard-sided cylinder that can protect one or two rolled neckties. The roll-style case is a good choice for the traveler not using a traditional garment bag, as it can be dropped into a carry-on suitcase or backpack. (One hack that the budget traveler can use is to roll a tie, then slip it into a ziplock-style plastic bag. Draw out as much air as you can with your lungs before closing the bag, and you will create a vacuum-sealed tie storage system that should reliably prevent most wrinkles.)
There is one type of tie rack a gentleman can bring on the go, though, and these are the slender racks that approximate the look and function of a coat hanger. Some of these racks lie flat within a garment bag or suitcase, helping to keep your ties neat and organized while allowing you to quickly hang them up in your guest accommodations. If you need to travel with multiple ties, then consider this type of rack.
A Brief History of the Necktie
Ties have gone in and out of favor over the past few generations, with certain decades (such as the 1960s and 1980s) seeing men wear ties whenever an occasion called for any level of refined dress. At other times, a more casual approach to business attire is favored, such as we see in the present era, especially among the up-and-coming young executives and developers running booming tech firms and startup companies.
Regardless of recent and current fashion trends, the fact remains that in the larger scheme of history, the man's necktie is a relatively recent accessory, at least in its currently recognizable form.
European men first began wearing cloth knotted around their necks in the second half of the 17th century. This new neck accessory, known as the cravat, was inspired by the neckerchiefs worn by many of the soldiers fighting in the Thirty Years' War. Throughout the 1700s and well into the 19th century, variations on the cravat came in and out of fashion. Many were made from rich materials such as silk, and they were often large, ruffled affairs, entirely ornamental in function. Other men, usually of the working class or military, adopted scarves or bandanas that afforded warmth, held a shirt's collar closed, and that added some style to an outfit, as well.
By the middle of the 19th century, long, slender neckties similar to those worn today were coming into vogue in Europe and America. These accessories were easy to tie, rather lightweight and durable, and available in an increasing variety of patterns. Neckties would change in some ways over the course of the next 100 years, with thicker or slimmer designs at times more popular, but the basic style of long tie knotted at the neck and worn hanging loose was firmly established by the turn of the 20th century.