Friday, May 21, 2010

The Cravat

I love a man in a cravat, I fully intend to bring back the style (along with top hats, spats, and the bonnet). Since not all of the historic pictures I found feature the most attractive of gentlemen, I am including some pictures of some very attractive male celebrities wearing cravats. PLEASE NOTE THAT MOVIES ARE NOT A RELIABLE SOURCE OF FASHION HISTORY INFORMATION. Trust me, I've spent the last year and a half researching this very thing. So please just take these pictures only as eye candy.



The cravat first appeared around 1660. Stylish men wore long, flowey wigs at the time, which obscured the lace collars previously in style. But men still had to accessorize their neck somehow, so the cravat came into style. Originating in Paris, as most of the best trends do, the cravat was first seen on a regiment of Croats, called cravates by the Parisians, who wore cloths wrapped around their necks as a charm against injuries. French men thought this was rather dashing, and so adopted the style themselves, calling the new cloth wrap a cravat.

Early cravats were made of a long strip of white fabric, and could be decorated with embroidery or lace at the ends. Already there were several options for the method of tying it, from a simple knot with the ends hanging down to a dashing bow to the steinkirk, named for the style in which French soldiers wore their cravats at the Battle of Steinkirk in 1692.

Photobucket
1667

Photobucket
1686

Photobucket
Johnny Depp wearing a 17th century cravat in The Libertine.


In the early 18th century, the cravat began to be replaced with the stock, a stiff folded cloth that encased the neck and buttoned or buckled in the back. This new style was noted by poet Laurence Whyte, who wrote “The stock with buckle made of plate/Has put the cravat out of date” in 1742. But a simple stock wasn’t decorative enough for the stylish 18th century male, so some flair was added with a frilly jabot and a solitaire-a black ribbon attached to a small bag encasing the ponytail of the wig or hair, which was brought around the neck and tied in a bow in front.

Photobucket
1749. The frilly thing is a jabot, and the black thing is a solitaire.

Photobucket
1785

Photobucket
Ralph Fiennes in an 18th century cravat and jabot in The Duchess.


During the French Revolution and Directoire periods at the end of the 18th century, stylish men were all about enormous exaggeration and the cravat was no exception. Growing to enormous heights, the cravat started to edge in on the face, one contemporary saying that “the white muslin cravat is a big thing, it is higher than ever, covering not only the chin but the mouth as well”.

Photobucket
1793


As cravats entered the 19th century, it became fashionable to wear two- a white one wrapped around the neck like a stock and a colored cravat wrapped on top and tied in a decorative manner.

Photobucket
1808

Photobucket
1819

Photobucket
1828

Photobucket
Colin Firth in a Regency style cravat in the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries.


Soon the white cravat was replaced with a high linen collar, much like the stocks of the 18th century. Innovation was not limited to technology in the 19th century, and cravats were being tied in every imaginable way.

Photobucket
1838

Photobucket
Rupert Friend in The Young Victoria, set in the late 1830s.

Photobucket
Paul Bettany in The Young Victoria, set in the late 1830s.


By the middle of the century, cravats could be tied in small, narrow bows- the very first bowties. Although by this point the cravat was made of black or colored fabric, a white cravat was always worn for formal occasions (this is why ‘white tie’ is dressier than ‘black tie’).

Photobucket
1856

Photobucket
1850s

Photobucket
1855-1865

Photobucket
1855-1865


By the end of the 19th century, the cravat had evolved into the tie we all know today. At first the tie coexisted peacefully with other styles, including the popular ascot style, but eventually the tie dominated fashion and became the standard for all men.

Photobucket
1873

Photobucket
1873

Photobucket
1873

Photobucket
1873

Photobucket
Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes, set in the end of the 19th century, wearing a cravat tied in the ascot style (ish).

Photobucket
1890

Photobucket
1895

Photobucket
1905

10 comments:

  1. Great post! I've always had a soft spot for men in cravats...it must be brought back! Along with waistcoats and top hats.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was great. It's amazing how men could tie so many different cravats.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wigs plus cravat? Well, I wonder how it's going to be a hit nowadays. Several men use wigs to be fashionable or to cover baldness. But, what's more interesting is the element of style that men could have in wearing a wig. As for my wife, she's pretty good in wearing front lace wigs or forever young wigs that is best for every occasion.

    Thanks for sharing the informative post, Katy! Keep them coming.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Personally, I find the 19th century hairstyles fashionable and classy, especially the mid-1930’s Ascot times. With few but great men’s hair replacement systems, they were able to create such nice hair curls and accents. It needs a lot of artistic hands to establish such look. Though men are simpler now, some ways of the old-fashioned styles are still visible on the streets. Just like here in your post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I completely agree with you. I really like this article. It contains a lot of useful information. I can set up my new idea from this post.
    Medium Length Hairstyles

    ReplyDelete
  6. The blog and data is excellent and informative as well. stunning cravat

    ReplyDelete
  7. The information you have shared is quite useful and new to me!! Thanks for the share!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The information in your blog is very informative. I really enjoyed. Keep up the good work. Thank you so much for sharing.
    integrated receivables management

    ReplyDelete
  9. loved it. thanks!

    ReplyDelete