Ascot knots, once a popular accessory to daytime men's wear, are now usually relegated to the senior prom or wedding set. Although they are still traditional in basic grey, the ascot may be found in a variety of solid colours and patterns, as an accoutrement to once-in-a-lifetime formal events or as accessories to casual wear.
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Ascots may be tied by folding one end under the other, and knotting the tie together at the throat with a pin, or wearing it under an oxford shirt. Generally, because the tie is wider and lighter than a standard necktie, one end (or wing) of the ascot is pinned down over the other. However, some formal wear ascot ties are sewn so that the silk will lie together, side by side, and the ends will rest smoothly together against the shirt. It may also be tied in the simple slipknot fashion of a schoolboy's tie. This may be also known as a scrunchy or ruche tie. The above two methods of tying the ascot may be worn inside or outside of the shirt collar. Some purists, however, feel that the scrunchy should only be worn outside the collar. A third method of tying the ascot is tying the slipknot knot, but not slipping the tie end through the final "noose," but rather pinning the end down over the top with a tie pin. Gordian knots give the wearer an old-fashioned look. It is also referred to as the "naud gordien" or the plastron. The Gordian knot is created by making a simple square knot and pinning the ends down, one over the other. You may also fold the cloth once around the neck and then pin the ends down over one another in an artistic way. The Gordian knot is generally worn over the shirt, and under a vest. When the knot is tied over the throat rather then pinned down below the throat, it is also sometimes referred to as a jabot tie. The jabot knot may also refer to a modern formal derivation of the bow tie.
The name was given to the tie from the Royal Ascot race. Queen Anne, in the early 18th century, saw the potential for the property at "East Cote" for running horses. Ascot has been a tradition since 1711; the racecourse has been renovated every 50 years since then, and the last renovation was in 2004. Although the ascot is not required race wear anymore, it still may be seen among the revellers, as well as those attending other horse-related events, such as polo matches. Once an aspect of clothing worn in the morning, along with a cutaway coat, the ascot lost significance as everyday wear in the mid-1800s. However, businessmen still wore the ascot into the 1900s as a suit accessory; the still elegant ascot is now a vestige of days of yore on the necks of businessmen attempting casual attire, attendees to horse events, and those getting married. The ascot regained its popularity in America when it was worn by the counterculture as an alternative to standard traditional neckwear.
The precursor to the modern necktie is a strip of white linen, which was tied in a variety of fashions around the throat. It was derived from the uniform of an armed regiment of the French military, and so gained prominence as the fashionable byproduct of a mass-produced uniform. George Brummel is credited with revolutionising the business suit in the beginning of the 1800s, by making a streamlined suit of clothes topped of with a clean, white tie fastened around the throat. In Britain, an ascot tie still refers to a wide, grey formal morning-wear tie now relegated to morning fetes such as weddings or coronations. In America, the ascot refers to a variety of wide, old-fashioned neck scarves, generally made of a lighter material than the standard business tie. It can be worn in a variety of colours, in addition to grey. Colourful ties came into vogue starting with the transformation of the school hatband into school ties at posh prep schools in England in the mid-1800s. Ties have always walked a fine line between fashion and tradition in Britain, whereas in America, the tie is a symbol of formality first, whereas the addition of colour is a statement of fashion.
There is some confusion over a lesser-known knot known as a jabot knot. Unlike the more widely known jabot (zha-bow), which is a frilly ruff known for its appearance on pirate costumes, old-fashioned shirts, and women's wear, jabot knots are probably most widely known in England, mostly as a pre-tied cravat found in formalwear shops. This is a different tie than the jabot tie mentioned above, that is a variation of the plastron, or Gordion knot. You may see a version of this tie at the link below in References. It is also worn on the outside of the shirt, and the jabot knot resembles a tied slipknot that is not fully tightened; there is a piece of silk that rests in a pleated ornamental fashion above the knot as well as the standard piece of silk that hangs below the knot. You may achieve the effect of a jabot knot on your own if you have a light piece of silk (not heavily lined ) that can be tied firmly. Start tying the jabot knot as if you were tying a bow tie. After creating a simple over-under knot, make a loop with one end of the material as if you were tying a bow tie. Make sure that the loop leaves the outside material of the tie on the outside of the loop. Take the other end of the tie through the loop and complete the bow. Look at the tie in the mirror, and tighten and straighten the tie as if it were a large, ridiculous bow tie. When the tie is straightened, take the part of the bow where the loop is on the outside, and turn it 90 degrees so that the outside loop is at the top of the throat. Disassemble the loop at the bottom of the tie and pull the loop down such that only about 1 or 1.5 inches of the top loop remain at the throat. Adjust the knot so that it holds the tie together. You may tack the loop down with a pin at the throat.
The wearer of the ascot, due to its lighter material, and more ornamental tying structure than the regular business tie, may benefit from the use of an ascot pin. Ascot pins have an ornament that rests on the top of the tie in the area that you want to secure. The pin itself is 3 to 4 inches long with a "clutch" at one end, and is meant to be slipped through two layers of fabric and fastened through the shirt. The pin can then be fastened back up through the tie to create extra security. Alternatively, ascot pins have two ornamental ends that may be pinned horizontally across the tie to hold its wings together.
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