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Ascots in America: The Rise of the Cravat in the US

Ascots in the US - The Rise of Cravats in America

In the ever-evolving landscape of men's fashion, certain items have endured the test of time. Every man needs a decent suit, for example. A good coat never lets you down. Black never goes out of fashion.

In this pantheon, we think that the humble but elegant ascot tie deserves inclusion. The ascot, known elsewhere as the cravat, stands out as a symbol of sophistication and refinement. With its relaxed and luxurious look, an ascot evokes the louche look of the European aristocracy, while its silk finish and fine prints give it an air of the oriental. This does not mean, however, that it does not earn its place at the high table of style today. The ascot tie has found a passionate following in the United States, transcending its origins and lending men’s fashion a final flourish.

A Gentleman's Classic

Cravat Club Ascot Tie in America History

The ascot tie started gaining popularity in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At this point, American trends were very aligned with European ideas of elegance and sophistication, the ascot tie, with its association with aristocracy and refinement, found a receptive audience among the American elite. Think society dinners, country clubs, the Kentucky derby etc - this is the sort of audience we mean, where style and good taste are an essential flex. The garments’ popularity continued to grow throughout the 20th century, becoming a staple accessory for formal daytime events as well as in evening wear, adding a touch of distinction to a sports jacket or shirt collar. 

Today, the ascot tie remains a symbol of timeless elegance and is still appreciated by those with a taste for classic menswear. If you need a classic look with a relaxed feel, an ascot is your best friend.

Origins in Europe

Cravat Club Napoleon French Army Cravat History of Ascot Tie

Known as a “day cravat” on the other side of the Atlantic, the ascot tie boasts a rich history. The original cravat was a simple piece of cloth worn by Croatian sailors (the name “cravat” is derived from “Croat”). This gave them a rakish look that was much-imitated at the time, denoting their prowess on the open seas of the Adriatic. 

Napoleon’s army soon followed suit, using different colours of cravat to denote rank. This was perhaps their introduction into polite society; with all things French being the height of elegance in Europe, the ascot tie quickly gained popularity among the elite as a formal accessory, particularly with Napoleon’s opponents, the English. Its distinctive wide, flat shape and knotless design set it apart from other neckwear of the time, making it a symbol of sophistication, as well as proving extremely comfortable to wear. From here, the style spread over to the American continent.

Across the Atlantic

Ascots in America: The Rise of the Cravat in the US

As British fashions spread to the Eastern seaboard, sophisticated and gentlemanly looks became the order of the day. High society in New York and New England took note, incorporating the ascot tie into their wardrobes as a symbol of their good taste. The ascot tie's association with elegance and tradition resonated with American tastemakers, leading to its widespread adoption among the elite. Fitting in seamlessly with the day’s fashions, the ascot tie went mainstream.

Into the Present Day

Ascots in America - The Rise of the Cravat in the US

In recent years, we’re delighted to say that the ascot tie has experienced a resurgence in popularity. The number of men incorporating these versatile and beautiful garments seems to be growing. We’re delighted to say that we may have had a hand in it, in our own small way. 

Our cravats are made entirely of grade-A silk and are crafted here in England, where we’re based. Tapping into tradition but firmly focused on modernity, we believe every man deserves to look his best. Crafted from the finest materials and meticulously tailored, with a discerning eye for design, our ascots embody luxury and offer you something different for your outfit. 

The United States is Cravat Club's largest customer base outside of the UK, indicative of the ascot tie's enduring appeal in American menswear circles. We love to see how our ascots are worn across the pond, where culture and climate leads to an entirely different approach. Free of the weight of old-world tradition, American fashion has always had a sense of adventure and of cultural openness, which in turn has influenced style here in Europe.

Our diverse range of styles, colours, patterns, and designs, allow you to express your individuality with confidence and flair, lending themselves perfectly to the natural self-expression of America.

Curious to know what our customers from around the globe have to say about our ascot ties? Take a look at some of our reviews here

Timeless Refinement

Ascots in America: The Rise of the Cravat in the US

Some say the ascot tie is having a resurgence - we say it never went away. As fashion trends come and go, the ascot tie remains a steadfast symbol of sophistication, bridging the gap between tradition and modernity. For something to fire your imagination and to turn heads the next time you wear it out, a silk ascot tie might be the finishing touch you’re looking for. 

To explore Cravat Club’s range of 100% silk printed ascot ties, browse here and you might find the perfect thing.

1 comment

  • Shawn M. Wade

    This is a wonderful article. I agree with everything you have said. I love cravats and wear them everyday, at home, on weekends and occasionally when I go out in the day. I prefer to wear mine with sweaters and on occasion blazers and tweeds. I love them with a Smoking Jacket at night and for weekend wear they stand alone.

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