Bored of your bow tie or lack of neck candy? A cravat might be your new style saviour.
You might immediately think of Mr Darcy or Louis XIV, but the mens neck scarf cravat has had something of a reinvention. Whether they’re paired with a polo shirt or dressed up to the nines, cravats bring with them a new sense of styling.
We’ve put together our top three style rules ready for when you next need to know ‘how do you wear a cravat?’
Cravat or Ascot?
In simple terms, a cravat can actually refer to anything you can tie around your neck, such as a scarf or necktie. The meaning of the word ‘cravat’ has changed throughout recent years, originally starting as a French term for ‘Croatian’ in the 1600s.
An ascot is a cravat that is specifically silk, and knotted twice before being secured by a pin. Beginning in a racing background, this type of cravat scarf is mostly worn with a blazer or a V-neck jumper.
Feeling lost? Don’t worry – both of these terms are pretty interchangeable. David Gandy wears a cravat with effortless style, keeping it simple with a neutral shirt and trousers. Choose to let your cravat stand out from the rest or let it seamlessly blend in.
How Do You Tie A Cravat?
If you’re looking to try tying cravats rather than wearing a pocket square, the process can seem a little complicated at first. Start with wearing a cravat around your neck with one side longer than the other, wrapping the longer end around the shorter end.
Next, wrap the fabric around again, threading the long end through the neckband you’ve created. Pull this longer end of fabric over the loop and tuck the cravat ends into your shirt, jumper or waistcoat. And you’re good to go!
Casual Cravat Flair
Think of this look as a day cravat, if you will. Spicing up an everyday look while not taking things to a formal boundary. Wearing a cravat doesn’t have to evoke the image of Mr Darcy, but can instead enhance a dressed down look with a new edge. Neckties can also be worn as scarves over shirts and still be seen as cravats – try this with a plain coloured top to dip your toe into the necktie waters.
For a relaxed way to wear a cravat neck piece, pair a lightweight, cool coloured shirt or t shirt, with a neutral pair of chinos, keeping the shirt loose to show off more of the cravat. Pick a patterned fabric to make your cravat tie the point of focus – don’t be afraid to play with pattern and print to achieve a chic, eclectic look.
Suited To Perfection
The classic way of styling cravats will always be with a suit – but that doesn’t mean there’s only one way to do it. Keep things playful and surprising by incorporating bright colours to make your necktie pop. Ditch the waistcoat to keep your outfit from feeling strictly formal and make more space for your cravat to shine.
If playing with colour feels a little too much, try matching your cravat to pocket squares to lend flashes of colour and pattern to your look. Choose a neutral colour palette of whites and greys for your suit and shirt, keeping other accessories to a minimum.
Royal Ascot Chic
For a full cravat wedding tie look, ensure you wear a waistcoat to add the ultimate element of occasion sophistication. Opt to keep your waistcoat and cravat the same colour, or play with different shades to add an extra level of dimension.
A cravat ascot tie will work best with a suit and waistcoat, keeping it pinned and slimmer to flatter the cravat shirt collar. If a waistcoat isn’t so much your style, wear a formal ascot that sits on top of the shirt, rather than being tucked into it. These are specifically for a formal occasion only – so not one for casual wear.
Cravats: Style Summary
Cravats are a surprisingly flexible addition to your outfit, able to be dressed up or down to complete a look. After you’ve mastered how to tie a cravat, experiment with ways they can be worn, so no look ever seems the same twice.
Don’t be afraid to extend your necktie wearing past the reach of a suit and try pairing it with a casual shirt and chinos, sports jacket or jumper. If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that a necktie is not a piece to shy away. Let your pattern and print imagination run wild to add the cherry on the cake to any stripped-back outfit.
Feature image: Formal Tailor