By Katie Atkinson
Updated January 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

When Jon Voight won Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie for Ray Donovan at Sunday’s Golden Globes, the 75-year-old actor looked dapper as ever — all thanks to a white scarf draped over his tux.

When he spoke to reporters backstage, he explained that the scarf has been his personal awards-show signature for quite some time, thanks to an accidental accessory more than four decades ago.

“I wore it to the Academy Awards once early in my career. Might have been for Midnight Cowboy,” he said of the 1969 movie, which won him his first Golden Globe. “It was one of those times, very early times. And I got dressed as you do for these things, and you don’t really think too much about it. You get a suit, and I put the shirt on, and the collar was too tight, and I couldn’t close the collar. I didn’t know what to do.

“I had the driver picking me up at a certain time,” Voight continued. “So I went by this haberdashery and said, ‘Hold on just a sec. I need to jump out.’ And I said, ‘I need something. Give me that scarf there.’ So I put the scarf on, thinking I could get away with something, that people wouldn’t notice that I had no tie and I had an open shirt. The next day, when the ‘fashion police’ come out, they said, ‘Only Jon Voight could get away with an open shirt! It was absolutely dazzling!’ So that’s it. It’s the scarf. And then it became something associated with me. I’ve given my original away, and I got this one.”

Take a trip down memory lane with Voight’s white scarf here and here.