Cravats have their roots in history rather than modern fashion. The cravat is the forerunner to today’s mens ties. Originating in Croatia and adopted by the French, who switched from wearing stiff linen ruffs to the softer, looser neckwear favoured by the Croatian military.
Traditionally a narrow length of white linen decorated with lace, a fringe, or knotted tassels, the cravat was worn wrapped about the throat and loosely tied in front. Nowadays however cravats come in all sorts of colours, but when coloured cravats were first introduced they were said to depict certain things. For example blue was for calmness and black was – not unsurprisingly – for mourning. Red signified love or rage – one would want to be sure which emotion that wearer was expressing!
Popular through the ages the cravat has had many incarnations and has seen a recent revival for everyday wear by MasterChef judge, Matt Preston. However the most popular use of cravats in today’s society is to lend an elegant touch to the groom’s outfit.
For wedding cravats, muted colours are more popular – greys, ivory, silver, black or white. However they look fabulous in antique gold or burgundy. And can, of course, be matched to the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
While cravats are now available ready-tied with adjustable neck bands, the original cravat can either be worn informally or with a formal cravat pin. To tie, drape the cravat around your neck and cross the long end over the short. Take the longer end back underneath and pass back through the loop. Fold the longer end over the knot and pass over again or fold down and fasten with your cravat pin.