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Lifestyle: Cravat’s life: best men’s cravats

by Joanne Ward
5 April, 2013
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Joanne juggles a demanding job as a mum of two with a challenging job as a writer of articles for Click Tempus. Appropriately taking time out to raise a family, she was formerly an Editorial Assistant with Time Out magazine. Joanne can turn her talents to writing about ladies watches, men's bags and woozy whiskey cocktails all while entertaining the kids with soothing lullabies.

Roger Moore wearing a cravat

 This week we got Joanne Ward all tied up in knots exploring men’s cravats

“La Cravate, c’est I homme.”

Honore de Balzac

Of all the neckwear options available to men today, the common tie is undoubtedly the most prevalent.  Striped, checked, polka-dotted, and brightly-coloured options, to name a few, have put an end to the dilemma of choosing a tie to match a shirt and suit combo.  However, the cravat – the tie’s first incarnation – has been steadily making a comeback, slowly encroaching on the tie’s prolonged reign and establishing a considerable and ever-expanding following of its own.

First developed by Croation mercenaries in the 17th century, Louis XIV adopted the neckwear when it came to France and christened it ‘la cravate’, French for Croat or Croation.  It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that the cravat rose to the upper echelons of high fashion, culminating in the loss of its final ‘e’ when it arrived in England and replaced the lacy high-necked collars of Charles I and II.  A steady flow of styles and knots emerged from then on, with some of the more grandiose versions forcing men to adopt an uplifted, jutting chin.  The fashion today is thankfully more relaxed, with several ways to wear it; an untied drape, knotted with loose ends or tucked neatly into a shirt or sweater.

Fort & Stone Dark Green Baroque Ancient Paisley

Fort & Stone_Baroque Ancient Paisley on Dark Green

The sumptuous Fort & Stone Dark Green Baroque Ancient Paisley seems to hail from a bygone era, although having been through a more modern production process.  The company, who have 35 years of men’s neckwear industry experience, have taken the traditional Persion/Indian ‘boteh’ droplet (paisley) design and given it a jewelled appearance; coloured with gold with red and blue accents, perfectly complimented by the dark green background. Crafted from fine silk, and backed with soft cotton for the comfort factor, this regal-looking self-tie cravat – 48” long and 6” at the widest point – is probably best reserved for more formal occasions.

Farrell’s Blue Jack Foulard

Farrell_Blue Jack Foulard

This is part of a menswear collection devised by dapper singer Robbie Williams, who harboured a vision to champion the quintessential British look while retaining a sense of traditional tailoring.  The foulard is a lightweight 100% silk twill, a characteristic that helps it to drape particularly well, and features a dainty decorative design, with the orange flecks advancing from its complimentary blue surroundings.  As the company’s motto  – ‘Wear it in, wear it out’ – suggests, pieces such as this are destined to last the course, and would sit equally well with a formal shirt or dressed-down, casual waistcoat-and-rolled-up-sleeves ensemble.

Simon and Simon’s Pink and Black polka dot

Simon & Simon_Pink & Black silk polka dot

For the more style conscious of the species, there is Simon and Simon’s Pink and Black polka dot luxury silk cravatThe Bolton-based menswear essentials outlet creates their pieces with a more streamlined silhouette in mind, meaning their shirts and even their accessories are designed to be fitted and rather understated.   Made from luxury 100% silk and with a smattering of petite black dots, this cravat seems to exude an air of summertime smartness suggested by the bubblegum-pink hue, and would look at home alongside fellow pale colours.

Soprano Gold Flying Pheasant

Soprano_Gold Flying Pheasant silk self tie

Shy and retiring types look away now; the Soprano Gold Flying Pheasant is likely to have you trembling in awe.   Not only does it have emblazoned across it the afore-mentioned pheasants, it is also a loud, exhibitionist shade of sunny yellow that positively shouts ‘confidence’.  This is certainly in keeping with the company’s wish to provide a huge colour palette for every imaginable customer and occasion.  There is no mistaking the countrified connotations of this item, with its beautiful motif resplendent and proud in ochre, red and green.  This is a beautiful artwork of avian anatomy, measuring a standard 48 x 6 inches, and no classy country trek would be complete without one.

Swagger & Swoon’s Old Wallace Tartan Wool

Swagger & Swoon_Old Wallce Red Tartan

The brilliantly-named Swagger & Swoon’s Old Wallace Tartan Wool cravat is in a whole league of its own; it is strong, bold and unmistakably Scottish.  The Kent-based retailer, whose wares have featured in The Daily Express and The Times magazine, have hit upon an undeniably enduring design favourite, fashioned from sturdy wool and backed with cotton for complete cosiness. Of course, being Scottish is not a pre-requisite for owning such an article (though it may help), and the traditional and predominately red pattern lends itself well to either formal or fun attire.

Kennett’s Challenger

Kennett_Challenger Red

Achieving cohesion with one’s clothing can be a tiresome challenge, but those who wholly support the significance of this Scottish constitution and wear it with pride can be sure that Kennett’s Challenger watch in red and black will satisfy the criteria for both colour and country compatibility.  Founded in Glasgow by Tom Kennett, its timepieces adorn the wrists of the world’s elite, such as Scottish actor Gerard Butler.   The international brand boasts a watch that combines style with function, and the stainless steel chamfered-square case, red dial and black leather strap tick all the boxes for completing this distinguished look.

Joanne Ward | Website

Joanne juggles a demanding job as a mum of two with a challenging job as a writer of articles for Click Tempus. Appropriately taking time out to raise a family, she was formerly an Editorial Assistant with Time Out magazine. Joanne can turn her talents to writing about ladies watches, men's bags and woozy whiskey cocktails all while entertaining the kids with soothing lullabies.

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