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Cravat (Ascot) Advice

tylerm328

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Hello StyleForum.net,

This is my first thread on here, so excuse any lacking in my knowledge of the site. Anyways, my high school Homecoming dance is coming up relatively soon. Last year I wore a bow tie, button-down shirt, pants, loafers, etc. This time around I've decided I want to look a little classier, so I bought a $22 red-wine-colored ascot tie (cravat) from Etzy.com. The color matches my date's dress. Now, I'm wondering - after reading different things online about the formality of the ascot, example outfits, etc - the basics and essentials of the tie; what to wear with it (jacket, pocket square, pants, collar, etc); and general things about how to make this outfit work. Some things I must note: I want to wear a brown loafer, any pant that would work with the outfit, any jacket that would work, a white shirt?, a gold pocket square (to match my date's necklace), and of course said ascot.

TL;DR = Please give me as much information on the ascot (cravat) as you can; tips for this outfit to work; any stores (I live in the Metro-Atlanta area) that sell nice men's clothes; general tips for high-end men's fashion.

Thank you,
Tyler.
 

12345Michael54321

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Last year I wore a bow tie, button-down shirt, pants, loafers, etc.
I notice no mention of a jacket. One obvious way to improve that look would be to add a jacket to it. (The "shirt and tie with no jacket" look gets relatively little love here in Classic Menswear. It's even been referred to as "waiter chic.")

This time around I've decided I want to look a little classier, so I bought a $22 red-wine-colored ascot tie (cravat) from Etzy.com.
Sorry, Tyler; it just seems to me that for every man who can carry off an ascot, there are a few dozen who can't. On most of us, it crosses the line from "clothing" to "costume." And as you're a high school student, I'd say that further increases the odds against you making it work.

Others may well disagree. There are various blogs where the ascot is held in high regard. But that's my opinion, and I don't expect to be changing it anytime soon.

I do, however, applaud you for having gone with a bow tie last year. Some men claim that even a bow tie comes dangerously close to costume, but I'd maintain that a bow tie can often be worn quite successfully. (And I do wear bow ties not infrequently.)

And an additional +1 for wearing the bow tie with a button-down shirt, assuming you mean a shirt with a button down collar. That's my preferred collar when wearing a bow tie.

a gold pocket square (to match my date's necklace)
While there's nothing inherently wrong about wearing a gold pocket square, neither is there any need to match a pocket square to the color of your date's necklace. It's not a rule, or a widely followed practice, or anything like that. Usually, if a man wants his pocket square to match something, what he wants it to match is some minor color he's wearing - often, a minor color in his tie.

Then again, when I was in high school, if I thought it'd enhance the likelihood of intimate physical contact with my date after the dance, I'd have willingly worn a pocket square that matched the color of her necklace, or her new tattoo, or the eyes on her favorite stuffed animal. Because for all that I was young, I did have my priorities straight. :) [/quote]
 

tylerm328

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First of all thank you for your response. I definitely appreciate the wisdom of a Senior Member.
Among your response, the comment about the ascot being clothing v costume really made me reconsider the look. I do not want to be that kid that tried to be a Scott Disick, Chuch Bass, or worse yet Hugh Heffner wannabe. I feel, and feel free to comment on this, that if I kept the look classy - say with brown loafers and matching belt, khakis, white shirt, black jacket with gold pocket square, and the ascot - it would speak chic but also taste, dissolving the costumey look. Keep in mind that this my senior homecoming with a group of close friends and I am trying to "go out with a bang" persay. Without sounding like a pompous teenager, I have started many "looks" at my school - looks generally reserved to older men - with great reception. Therefore I think that this outfit I have in mind would draw attention (as my other stylistic endeavors have), without coming off as too flashy, misplaced, or costumey.

In relation to your comment about the "waiter chic": looking back at my outfit with your comment in mind actually made me laughingly embarrassed at how I looked last year. That being said, it's in the past and will definitely be taken into account later.

Finally, your comment on the gold pocket square: I think that will add a nice touch to the pictures my date and I will take together. Being that the outfit I have in mind has no minute colors to accent with the square, I think it matching her necklace will add some sense of unity to our wardrobes while also adding some excitement to mine. Also, it can't hurt my chances of snagging said date, whom I've been courting for some time now ;).

Thanks again; I am eagerly awaiting your next piece of advice Mr. Michael.
 

JLibourel

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Being something of an ascot buff myself, I wouldn't give a yea or nay to your wearing the ascot to the homecoming dance until I learn a little more about what most of the guys wear to the dance. If it's a "tuxedo' type of affair, then don't wear the ascot. I am assuming you mean by "ascot" what the British call a "day cravat"--the kind you tuck in your shirt. A formal ascot is somewhat different, and an "ascot tie" is yet again different and I think mostly worn these days by old West re-enactors, steampunk types and such.

Anyway, if there is no very rigid dress code for the homecoming dance, go ahead and wear it, I say. Dare to be different. I was the only guy wearing an ascot at the 50th reunion of my prep school class a few years ago, and I plan to wear one to a get together of graduates of my school in a few days if the weather isn't too hot.

I say:

"Ascots and pocket squares
that's what every cool guy wears."
 

tylerm328

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Thanks for your response JLibourel. I'll be frank because I am currently on my iPhone: the dress code is not quite formal (relative to that of prom); most guys wear suit/bow ties, and the normal jacket, khakis, loafers, etc. In fact, to wear a bow tie - at my school at least - is a "shock" in itself; most guys here do not have the confidence or ambition to venture beyond basic church attire. Therein, a day cravat (I apologize for my misuse of ascot earlier) would be an even more shocking, yet all the while tasteful and classy, choice for me. I feel, JLibourel, that we have similar styles and attitudes about making a statement with clothes, and would like to thank you again for your counsel, as it has rekindled my desire to don this cravat, and be the most dashing guy at my homecoming.
 

JLibourel

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^No need to apologize about not calling an ascot a "day cravat." You are an American, and so am I. We call this garment an "ascot." The confusion comes in because we call two slightly different garments "ascots,": the formal ascot (mostly used with wedding rentals--I wore one to my second wedding and looked like a total douche!) and the more casual type. The British call the former an "ascot" and the latter a "day cravat," which makes things clearer.

Have fun rocking the ascot. If, as I assume, that's you and your girlfriend in your icon, I am sure you will be among the best-looking couples there regardless of what you wear.
 
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Duly Noted

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ascot.jpg

Generally speaking, can one appear at the office wearing this, in lieu of a tie, and not raise eyebrows?
 

12345Michael54321

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View attachment 857086
Generally speaking, can one appear at the office wearing this, in lieu of a tie, and not raise eyebrows?
No. In the overwhelming majority of business offices, wearing a cravat will stand out. And not in a desirable way.

It's more likely to work out when worn in a social context. Although even there, it can be tricky to pull off successfully.
 

circumspice

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Cravats are dead in the US. Wearing them is wearing a period piece like spats
 

12345Michael54321

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Cravats are dead in the US. Wearing them is wearing a period piece like spats
The last man I can remember seeing who looked perfectly natural wearing a cravat was Thurston Howell III. Which pretty much says it all.

If one wants to wear an item solely for the purpose of attracting attention, why not just wear a kilt and be done with it?
 

Duly Noted

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Dy
Cravats are dead in the US. Wearing them is wearing a period piece like spats
Duly noted & Thanks. I feel that way about bow ties, even more so, which some colleagues often wear to work. Regardless, I'll limit my cravat wear to non-working hours.
 
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Duly Noted

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If one wants to wear an item solely for the purpose of attracting attention, why not just wear a kilt and be done with it?
I respectfully disagree that its only rationale is to peacock. I see it as a twist on wearing a tie, but sadly nobody else seems to anymore. But that is what it used to be in its heyday. Recently I've seen it matched with jean shirts, tweed vests, or casual jackets, and looking rather good imho.
 

12345Michael54321

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It takes more than a piece in some fashion blog to hold these presses.

I'm sure various blogs have mentioned in the past few years that the monocle is making a comeback. That the swagger stick is making a comeback. That spats are making a comeback. That the top hat is making a comeback. Etc.

It's not true until it's true. And it's seldom true. Even when you'd really like it to be true.
 

maxalex

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For better or worse ascots, like bow ties, just seem to work better on older gents. There is something about grey hair that lends seriousness to playful neckwear and takes it out of the costume realm.

Having said that, as a "senior member" of Styleforum in every sense, I would hesitate to sport an ascot anywhere on dry land, the exception being Sunday brunch and even then only at the yacht club.
 

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