A Guide to Cravats: History, Types, Folding Techniques, Knots, and Styles

Discover the history and versatility of cravats, a stylish and elegant accessory for both formal and casual occasions. Learn about types, folding techniques, knots, and more.

Cravats, a long piece of cloth used as a neckband, have been a staple of men’s fashion since the 1600s, originating from military origins during the Thirty Years War[1]. The word “cravat” comes from the French word “cravate,” which is a corruption of the word “Croatian”[2]. Today, cravats are considered a stylish and elegant accessory, suitable for both formal and casual occasions.

Types of Cravat Bandage

Cravat bandages, also known as triangular bandages, are versatile and can be used for various purposes, such as slings, dressing bandages for the leg or arm, and more[3][4]. They are usually made of cotton or muslin cloth and can be folded into different shapes to suit the specific need[5].

Types of Cravat Folding

Cravats can be folded in several ways to create different styles and looks. To convert a triangular bandage into a cravat, take the right-angle point of the bandage and put it to the middle of the long edge. Then, fold the shorter parallel side over to the long side, repeating this process two more times to create a band of cloth about 3 ½” wide and a bit over 56″ across[4].

Types of Cravat Knots

There are various ways to tie a cravat, with some popular styles during the Regency era being The Mail Coach, The Napoleon, and The Barrel Knot[6][7]. Each knot has its unique look and can be used to create a distinctive style for the wearer. The Mail Coach, for example, is made by tying a single knot and then bringing one of the ends over to completely hide the knot[7].

How to Wear a Cravat

Cravats can be worn with different outfits, from business suits to casual attire. When wearing a cravat with a business suit, swap a tie for a cravat to add a unique style that sets you apart[8]. For formal occasions, choose a silk cravat, while polyester is a sturdier option for casual wear[8]. Try coordinating the color of your cravat with another part of your outfit, such as your vest or pocket square[8].

Cravat Patterns and Prints

Don’t limit yourself to monochrome cravats – prints can add a touch of flair to your outfit. Consider mosaics, stripes, polka dots, florals, and artistic prints when selecting a cravat[9].

Cravats in History

Cravats have a rich history, dating back to the 1600s when they were first worn by Croatian soldiers in the service of the French army during the reign of Louis XIV[2]. The cravat became popular in England and France, with men and their valets creating many different ways to tie the cravat and adorning them with jewelry and other embellishments[1]. The popularity of cravats continued through the 19th century, eventually evolving into the modern necktie[10].

In conclusion, cravats are a versatile and stylish accessory that can be worn in various ways to create a unique and elegant look. By understanding the different types of cravat bandages, folding techniques, and knots, you can incorporate this timeless accessory into your wardrobe and make a statement with your style.

[1] https://www.tweedmaker.com/blogs/blog/history-of-the-cravat
[2] https://www.britannica.com/topic/cravat
[3] https://medkitauthority.com/what-is-a-triangular-bandage/
[4] https://willowhavenoutdoor.com/cravat-bandaging-series-post-i/
[5] https://www.mhg.sg/triangular-bandage-guide/
[6] https://www.kristenkoster.com/a-regency-primer-on-3-ways-to-tie-a-cravat/
[7] https://janeaustensworld.com/2009/03/21/the-art-of-tying-the-cravat/
[8] https://www.wikihow.com/Wear-a-Cravat
[9] https://www.amexessentials.com/how-to-wear-a-cravat-ascot-tie/
[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cravat_(early)


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