Wearing ascots is not for the faint at heart- I've endured my share of sneers and quiet ridicule from the occasional Philistine or uncouth slob from time to time. I interpret such behavior as jealousy or insecurity on their behalf. However the majority of the time when I wear an ascot I receive compliments from all kinds of people who find it a refreshing look in an otherwise bland landscape of menswear.
My Ever-Growing Collection of Cravats & Some History
Cravats became popular during the early twentieth century as casual wear and even as sports wear by golfers. The Duke of Windsor was often seen wearing ascots, and he was the height of style in Europe and America at the time. During the mid to late 1960's ascots/cravats were also popular with teenage and young adult males as an expression of mid-century modern fashion, often with psychedelic patterns. This craze led the creators of the cartoon series Scooby Doo to draw Fred Jones wearing an orange ascot.
above: the first group of colors, from red to navy blue...
above: the second group, from blue to black.
The Ascot...It's Not Just For 90 Year old Englishmen Anymore!
above: David Beckham wearing an ascot (here with wife Victoria Beckham)
above: The great Al Pacino as "Michael Corleone" in The Godfather
above: Michael Johns, former American Idol finalist wore an ascot on one episode.
The Ascot Emerges in the US Once Again...
Brooks Brothers, the great bastion of American style and traditional clothing is featuring ascots once again on its website, catalog and in stores. After several years of writing to Buyers in department stores and specialty clothing shops like Brooks Brothers, they are starting to emerge here and there. Should one of the Buyers from Brooks Brothers happen to read this, I send you my utmost thanks! Of course, I've been wearing ascots for years, trying to single handily bring them back in fashion here in the US. A good ascot looks casually elegant, can be worn to dress up jeans, with a suit, or can be worn formally. They are a nice alternative to a tie, you can look nice without the top shirt button closed as you would to wear a necktie. They also conceal chest hair- if you are wearing a dress shirt open and don't want to look too informal.
above: these photos are from the Brooks Brothers website featuring ascots.
"How Do I Wear One", You Ask?
Handy Instructions on How to Tie an Ascot or Cravat:
above left: Orange, above right: Brown
above left: Gold, above right: Burgundy
So which ascot should I buy next? Please leave a comment and indicate your choice by color. Thanks!