This Friday, October 18th, is World Cravat Day. It is a National Day in Croatia which is the country which gave us the beautiful forerunner of the modern necktie, and we here at The Perfect Gentleman salute this day!
The Cravat, or as it is known to our American cousins as the Ascot tie, is the ancestor of the modern necktie that we seen adorned around the necks of businessmen around the globe. The Cravat like a great deal of Men’s Fashion is influenced by the military and the cravat is no exception.
This element was spread across Europe during the 17th century by Croatian Mercenaries whom were feared soldiers of the day, such as the Cossacks and Tartars, there were even referred to then as Cravates. Indeed, in Croatia today the Traditional Military uniform of black, is resplendent with a bright red cravat tied round their necks.
Croatia established Cravat day 10 years ago in 2003, when the Academia Cravatica (An organization founded to promoted the cravat as part of Croatian heritage) launched the day by placing a massive red tie around the Roman arena in Pula and it has be celebrated ever since.
The cravat has developed over time, becoming the modern neck tie, the more formal Dress Cravat, which is worn to weddings and the like and the more casual Day Cravat also known as the Ascot. This day Cravat/Ascot is the one we are most familiar with today. It is essentially a piece of silk that is made up of a narrow neckband with large pointed wings. It is almost always silk and therefore very delightful next to the skin, as it is almost always tied around the bare neck and tucked into an open-necked shirt, to display the bulk of the cravat. It is ridiculously easy to tie too.
It was made popular for casual wear in the early 20th century by the very dapper Duke of Windsor, it became popular then and the became again in the 60s and 70s but once again faded out of favour.
There is a small and strong following of the cravat amongst modern celebrities. Men such as Jeremy Piven, Russell Brand and Ashton Kutcher have all sported the dapper cravat. The recent Doctor Who made bow ties cool, maybe the next one will be dashing in a Cravat?
As you may know I, 1PG, am a huge fan of the cravat. I truly believe it is one of the most underworn piece of clothing in the gentleman’s wardrobe. It provides style and sophistication without the formality of a full tie. It can dress up and that weekend look of a jacket with jeans or lends an element of casualness to suit that erases formality.
You can find cravats all over the place, frequently in Vintage and secondhand shops, rummage through your grandfather’s wardrobe. Most Gentleman’s outfitters will stock a limited range but online is where you find the specialists and the devotees, in fact there is a couple of great companies Fort and Stone (http://www.fortandstone.co.uk/) and The Cravat Club (http://www.cravat-club.com/)
One of my personal missions is to bring back the cravat as a regular item in the Gentleman’s wardrobe, so I have started to establish Cravat Friday (#cravatfriday on social media). I wear one almost every Friday.
So gentleman, don your cravat and step in style, especially this friday for World Cravat Day – I certainly shall!