Thursday, January 24, 2008

While I was away on vacation a reader named John left a comment for me which stated:

Hello Viviene,

While your blog's theme is not really up my ally, it is clearly well done. I came across it while doing a Google search for information on cravats.I have some cravat questions, if you have time for them. What style shirts and jackets are acceptable for wearing a cravat? I would like to start wearing them for casual/semi-formal security related work overseas. Any recommendations on solid colors vs. patterns, and ways of tying them? If it matters, I tend to wear brown/gold sunglasses, and wearing a vest is not an option. Thanks Viviene.

Well John I appreciate the compliment. Since I don't wear cravats I decided to ask the gentlemen of Specialist Auctions who have worn or wear cravats to answer your questions. This is what they had to say:

I was given a couple many moons ago by a dear old lady by the name of Joyce C. who lived near Brighton. The pair I was given had patterns that were akin to tri colour silk ties, two lines of colour on one colour, and I was told by J.C. that I should only wear these with white shirts. They were not meant to be tied but pinned with a cravat pin. The pair I had were beautiful, 1920`s, for some reason I seem to remember them being styled by Mappin & Webb. I hope this helps.

Unfortunately I only had the two cravats which were owned by my grandfather and they have both sold on here. I remember he used to wear them (in the 1950's) with Harris tweed type jackets but can't remember anything about the shirts he chose.

1. Drape around your neck and take short end in your left hand (if you’re right handed).

2. Cross long end over short end.

3. Bring long end underneath short end.

4. … and wrap over again.

5. Bring the long end up through the loop you’ve created.

6. ... and if you want a self tie cravat, just bring the long end down, tighten the knot and secure with a cravat pin or pearl headed corsage pin if you have one or adjust the cravat for the 'look' you are trying to achieve.

Day cravats are suitable for wearing beneath a shirt, and make a fashionable alternative to wearing a tie. They are very easy to tie, just a simple end over end knot is needed, and then simply shape the cravat to suit.

Now, this really is down to the wearer and their personality. Cravats can be worn with plain, striped or check shirts, my own preference is for a fairly subtle pattern with a bolder stripe or check and and a bolder cravat with a plainer shirt - simple ehh!.

In general terms a day or informal cravat is worn inside the shirt and outside for formal wear. Formal cravats are nearly always either plain or extremely subtle patterns.
At the end of the day it is how comfortable the wearer is and confident in their choice.
There really are no rules other than to be confident and happy with your choice!
By the way, if you find it difficult to tie a tie well - for example, a Windsor knot, you may well get very frustrated with a cravat which is of course, shorter and wider than a tie and more difficult to get just right. If this is you, then there are an increasing number of ready tied cravats available which you might like to consider!


I hope this helps you out John. If you have further questions don't hesitate to get in touch. Thanks very much to the gentlemen of Specialist Auctions for their assistance on the art of the cravat!

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Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, United States
We are the owners of Mod Mary's Vintage on Etsy.