Kings of Vintage: Bring the cravat back! Is there any other item more dapper than a cravat? When was the last time you saw these bibs of silk or satin out on a weekend stroll? This week George Walker is on a mission to bring back the cravat as the ultimate choice of neckwear for the manly debonair gent. Will you be persuaded? Ahh yes, the cravat: A garment so utterly pointless and yet so pointedly stylish that it’s always set to turn heads. From Jane Austen gents to Superman on his weekend adventures (pictured)- the cravat is an essential item. Enough with the boring work tie and formal dickie bows: The cravat is an all but extinct fashion favourite that needs to be saved. The cravat has a long history stretching back to Croatian military clothing to the silk scarf adaptations of mod trendsetters. The widely accepted starting point of the cravat story is that in The German Thirty Year War (1618-1648) Croatian soldiers wore scarves around their necks when fighting alongside the French. The French admired their neckwear (I like to think many cannons were fired in the wrong direction due to sartorial discussions on the battlefield) and started to adapt the neck scarves into lace and silk versions. In fact, the word cravat comes from a corrupt French pronunciation of “Croat”. The cravat soon spread across Europe, becoming a more luxurious garment for the gentry as it grew in popularity. In Britain especially, the cravat was rendered in bright patterns and sumptuous materials during the 19th century. Even after the rise of popularity in the cravat that we saw in the mod years (silk scarves and cravats were a true mod staple for the more dandy style mod), this ruffled bit of historic dapperness is now an endangered species. Having said that, some traditional companies are starting to pick up on the modern man’s love of vintage styles. We asked Tom Sawyer Waistcoats about why they thought the cravat is due a comeback. They said: “Day Cravats offer an alternative to a tie for the dapper gent to look smart and stylish, and are usually worn under the collar of an open-necked shirt. “The day cravat is no longer the preserve of the more mature man, younger men are increasingly pushing the boundaries with their clothing and looking to the past for their inspiration. When thinking about cravats also think about tweeds, waistcoats (worn with pocketwatches) and a more layered look .” Some people are trying to save the cravat, not just as a fashion item, but as a cultural icon for Croatian people. In 2003, the world’s biggest cravat was tied around the Pula Arena in Croatia (pictured). The cravat was 808 metres long, and at its widest section was 25 metres. The art instillation was the brainchild of Academia Cravatica, an organisation seeking to promote a sense of cultural heritage in Croatian people. October 18 is now, apparently, World Cravat Day. But let’s not wait all the way until October- let’s bring the cravat back now! Paired with a plain shirt and tweed jacket or a slim-fitting mod suit, the cravat is a lot more wearable than you might initially think. It needn’t just be brought out for a wedding every 4 years or so. Vintage King of the Week This week’s Vintage King Peter Gosbee has a truly unique vintage look, full of eccentricity and odes to fashions past. That cream cotton cravat channels Mr Darcy style and his tweed jacket and cap evokes the fashions of royals out for a country weekend. Not everyone can pull off a look this distinctive- but take some style inspiration from Peter and make the cravat your trademark vintage piece. Style Tip No.1: How to tie a cravat As you may know, there are many different ways of tieing the cravat according to what shirt and cravat you’ve chosen. At Tom Sawyer Waistcoats, they’ve got a great guide on how to tie different cravat styles. What’s more, their selection of day cravats are brilliant- from paisley prints to black and white check numbers. Style Tip No.2: The paisley print Paisley cravats are my favourites. Popular with both Sixties mods and aristocratic dandies, the paisley print cravat is a style essential. This stunning blue paisley cravat may be polyester, but it oozes decadent style. This cravat could be worn with a smart suit, or on the weekends why not pair it with a slim-fitting mod shirt and wayfarer shades? Style Tip No.3: Cravats for private clubs Wearing a cravat can often feel like you’re part of a private club, a secret sect of dapper stylish gents. This gold and black check cravat is certainly set to impress with that smart and distinctive pattern. I may not own a yacht, but I can dream of wearing this cravat on a yacht in some exotic bay, channeling James Bond style. 4 Responses Larry March 9th, 2010 Hear hear but not morning suit cravats, can’t stand them… Reply Dusty Rose March 10th, 2010 Agreed! I have two I’m dying to sport, but I still need to figure out how to tie them! 😛 Reply Helen March 10th, 2010 My boyfriend wears one with a vintage leather jacket and it works quite well. He tucks in all the ends and it’s not wildly patterned – a dark burgundy. When you look at old photos of bikers, they all had to wear scarves of some description, so why not a cravat! Reply Pete March 12th, 2010 Hi Dusty Rose I was looking at the Bring the Cravat back article, where we are mentioned, and noticed your comment. We have a “How to tie a …….” page on our website, which I hope will be of help. http://www.tomsawyerwaistcoats.co.uk/subprod/how-to-tie-a-cravat-0001283.aspx Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.