A few months ago, we already showed you how to tie an ascot and in today’s installment, we discuss how to wear an ascot so you look distinguished and elegant.
What’s the difference between Ascot & Cravat?
Most people use the terms ascot and cravat interchangeably and overall the terminology can be very confusing.
Basically, the cravat is any cloth that you tie around your neck for decorative purposes. As such, it’s the forefather of the tie, the bow tie, scarves, and even ascots. Think of it as an umbrella term for everything that you wear around your neck.
The name cravat is derived from Croatian mercenaries who fought during the 30 years war and most of them were in France and so the French term for Croatian is “Croate” and it was changed into “Cravat” over time. The fashion of wearing something around your neck dates much further back than the 17th century, however, the Croatian mercenaries were the ones who actually wore it and popularized it.
An Ascot can be distinguished in two ways. There is a formal ascot and a more casual day ascot.
It got its name from Royal Ascot and the Ascot heath which is a very famous horse race in England and people wear formal morning dress, a morning coat and traditionally, a winged collar and the cravat that they wore was actually a formal piece in silk usually silver with some parts of black that was tight with a double knot and then fastened with a stick pin.
Today, these formal ascots are hardly worn anymore and they almost make you look a bit dated which is why we don’t discuss them here, maybe in another video in the future.
A much more popular version of the ascot, it became popular in the 1930s as a casual, nonchalant version to a tie. Basically, it was worn when the regular necktie and bow tie were too formal, and people wanted something more relaxed. As such, it was popular to be worn with a dressing gown at home, a jacket at home, a vest or a sweater, people also wear it with blazers, some people also wear it just with a shirt in the summer when it was warm and basically, these are the ways you can wear an ascot as well. First, there are Cary Grant, Clark Gable and many others who would wear the ascot on a regular basis simply because it was a great way to express your style and make them look good in a nonchalant way that ooze sprezzatura.
HOW TO WEAR AN ASCOT?
Today, things are often more casual, and an ascot is a great way to not look sloppy but elegant and people actually notice you wearing an ascot, they may even ask you questions about it, and so it’s a great conversation starter. An ascot is also a great alternative if you don’t like tight collars around your neck because you have to wear it open, and it simply makes your sweater outfit or your best outfit much more dressy and at the same time relaxed.
Because you wear an ascot right next to your skin in an area where you have your beard growing, it’s important that you get an ascot that is printed and not jacquard or woven because otherwise, you easily pull threads, and your ascot is ruined just after a few times of wearing it.
Another aspect to pay attention to when you buy an ascot is that it has to be soft. It’s right next to your skin, you really want to be comfortable, not stiff and scratchy, and so a soft silk is the way to go. At Fort Belvedere, we give our Ascot silks special soft finish with gum from the original silk thread and so it’s just a marvelous touch with a slightly chalky feel. The one I’m wearing here right now is made of ancient madder silk from England. It has this wonderful, soft and I’m sure you will love it too.
In terms of patterns, you can go bold and colorful because it’s a more casual accessory and of course, you always want to try to match it with outfits. So if you have a large pattern, you want to wear solid shirts maybe or a small patterned shirt, solid jacket. If you wear a solid colored ascot like right next to me, you want to maybe have a patterned jacket or shirt just to create a harmonious outfit. Ascots also have pleats in the back and many people don’t know what they’re for, the reason behind them is when people tie them originally in a traditional knot, it came loose very easily but they realized, once they would make the knot thicker, the knot would come undone so easily and that’s what it’s made for originally and you can still find it today.
It doesn’t matter if you wear the pleats up or down, the only thing that’s of importance is that the pleats overlap the knot so the knot stays tighter and you will look great all day.