An Ascot tie (named for the famous Ascot Races) originated as a version of the cravat, which has been around men’s fashion since the 1630s. By the 1880s, the ascot was standard garb for the European upper classes. The ascot was also commonly worn for business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
An ascot is a narrow neckband with wide pointed wings, traditionally made of pale grey patterned silk. The wings are folded over and held firm with a pin, although casual wearers (if there is such a thing) can opt to wear without the pin.
Although an ascot is synonymous (at least in the U.S.) with pretence, or at the very least, attitude, it is an essential part of the very classic British grooms wear. Traditionally made of silk in grey with stripes and is paired with a dark grey cutaway/morning suit (aka tux), so called because they’re worn for weddings held before 6 p.m.
But it can be worn (by the stylish and the brave) in more casual circumstances. The wearer will no doubt be unique as they are rarely seen today. Contrast a light button-down shirt (always a button-down, never a crew or polo) with a dark ascot .
Famous iconic ascot wearers:
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather (“I know it was you Fredo.”)
Edward Fox, actor
Jack Skellington (his “Nightmare Before Christmas” always included the donning of an ascot, although this fashion-forward Tim Burton-creation added a bowtie, too).
Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
Americans generally use “ascot” and “cravat” synonymously.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- An ascot tie/scarf
Choose the ascot of your choice and grab hold of either end and put it loosely around your neck.
Take hold of the right end and place it over the left end.
Pull the right end up and through the loop thus formed underneath.
Place what started out as the right end of the ascot precisely over what started out as the left end and is now underneath.
Stuff the ascot under the shirt leaving the top button undone. Adjust both ends of the ascot.
Voila. You have mastered a classic fashion.
Don't wear more than one button open on your shirt.
For the Dress Cravat:
Use the Ascot Knot for the dress cravat. Finish it with the ends under and over then in front of the chest held by a tie pin. Tie the Cocolupa (Ruche) knot, a formal type of cravat worn outside the shirt, like a four-in-hand knot for a modern tie
For the Day Cravat:
Place the Ascot inside the shirt for a more traditional for a 'day cravat' Place the Ascot outside the shirt for the less traditional for a 'day cravat' Wear the Jabot knot (worn outside the shirt) as an alternative day cravat. Don't confuse with the Jabot, which is a different piece of neckwear.
Tips and warnings
- Open only one shirt button.
- Wear a high-collared shirt.
- Choose a casual shirt or jacket/blazer.