One of the most popular questions we see in the men's fashion industry is: what is a cravat vs ascot?
The answer is complicated, and in many ways has not been truly defined. Also, the ties are referred to differently in various parts of the world. For the sake of this article, we'll work to touch on French, British, and American perspectives.
The definition changes from place to place. Typically an ascot tends to be viewed as an informal tie that is worn under a shirt or jacket.
The British usually refer to this as a "day cravat". Considering that a cravat is basically the word for "tie" in French, day cravat works as a tie that is more casual and could be worn during a day of work or rest.
More confusion comes in when we talk to the team of stylists who call an ascot a necktie that is worn with morning dress and typically pinned down.
This tie is worn over the shirt in plain view and is for formal attire only. This version of ascot tends to be less popular, even though what is thought of as a day cravat can actually be worn with a suit in a formal setting.
You could call the Cravat, as we know it the original tie that dates back to King Louis XIV who probably coined the term from Croatian mercenaries.
At this point in history, there was no ascot in the way we think of them today at Croom & Flood. "Cravat" was a general term for neckwear. The word cravat most likely comes from the French word for Croat: "cravate".
Designating the cravat as the most common kind of tie in the 1800s, the ascot tie as we know it today evolved from those ties seen on men of culture in that century.
As part of the morning dress at the Royal Ascot horse race, men would wear what was later to be known as the "ascot".
Always think twice when someone uses the term "cravat", as they could be talking about 19th-century ties or the modern "day cravat" as they are commonly known in the UK.
Ascot Vs Cravat
What makes the difference is where the tie sits around the neck. Is it over the shirt?
It's probably a more formal cravat worn with morning dress. Does it sit under the shirt? It is probably what we call an ascot that sits under the shirt.
At the end of the day, "cravat" is really a more general term and is often replaceable with the word tie in Europe.
Some say an ascot is a subset of a cravat. Others could say a bow tie and a "regular" men's tie, as we know it in the United States, could be called cravats as well.
Frustration comes when Americans refer to a necktie or neckerchief as an ascot tie.
It matters where the tie sits around the shirt, but it also is important to understand how a tie is folded around the neck.
Ascots are tied like a regular men's tie is folded, minus one additional step. If a tie is wrapped around the neck this is a scarf or neckerchief.
Yanks vs Limeys
Brits and Americans rarely agree on formal titles for clothing. Do you know the difference between a jumper and a sweater or pants and trousers?
It's the lovely details that make us deliciously different. So it goes for the ascot tie. The day cravat is typically the term used for what Croom & Flood sells as ascot ties. And that is ok.
Offering an American point of view, most Americans would call what is sold at Croom & Flood an ascot tie and a cravat is viewed as the older pinned down ties of days past. In this case, cravats are rare in the 21st century.
Whatever they're called, these ties look great and are loved around the world.