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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cravats and Croates: History of Men's Ties




Although men may have worn neckwear since ancient times, probably for warmth, the first neckwear is generally traced to the period of the Thirty Years War in the 17th century. Croatian mercenaries, fighting alongside the French, wore small knotted neckerchiefs, like the one pictured to the right. The Croatian word for Crotes was Hrvati.
Parisiennes, enamored with this unfamiliar neckwear, combined the French word for the Croatian nationality, Croates, with Hrvati, and the neckwear became a cravat.
The cravats started a new craze in Europe, and soon both men and women were wearing cravats. Men’s frequently were made of lace, held in place with cravat strings tied in a bow.
During the 18th century, cravats briefly fell out of favor, replaced with a stock, a folded piece of muslin wrapped around a shirt collar. Men wore their hair long, below the shoulder, and tucked the ends into black silk bags worn at the nape of the neck. This was called the bag-wig hairstyle.
In the latter part of the century, cravats again became popular. Around the turn of the century, different methods of tying the cravat came into play, and a book was published, Neckclothitania, which illustrated fourteen ways to tie a cravat. This book was the first to use the word tie in association with neckwear.

17 comments:

catslady said...

They seem to be one of the few ways men can dress up their attire but no longer have any real purpose. Some work places seem to be trying to hold onto the tie because it seems more formal but I think it should be optional. Sort of like the high heel - definitely dressier but should be the wearer's choice. I guess I'm all for comfort lol. I always enjoy the history of it all though!

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi catslady: I agree. My husband hated wearing ties, and I sympathize because I can't even stand a turtleneck sweater. Thanks for stopping by.

Beth Trissel said...

What a fascinating post. I love your blog~

Kathleen B said...

I have lived in Croatia for 5 years and love seeing that bright red tie on the men whenever there is a festival! http://www.opatija.net/zanimljivosti.asp
By the way, the Croatian language is called Hrvatski (they leave a lot of vowels out). Trieste, Italy, only 39 kilometers from my town of Opatija (pronounced Oh, potty ya) is spelled 'Trst' in Hrvatski. I asked where the vowels were and the answer was "Why would you want a vowel in there? There is no room for one!"

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Fascinating!! I write medieval, so no cravats in my stories, but I love reading all the later historicals and how the ladies try to tie the man's cravat just right, when a true lady, who isn't married to the man, shouldn't be doing such a thing! :)

Jennifer Ann said...

I had never heard of the bag-wig hairstyle! Great blog.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Beth: Hi, nd thanks for stopping. i thought the word combination to get cravats was interesting, too. Thanks for the kind words.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Kathleen: You are so lucky to have lived in Croatia. I want to visit there in the worst way. Perhaps an Aagean cruis when I win the lottery LOL. Thanks for stopping by our blog.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi Terry: My novels are also in Middle Ages and earlier, but my current WIP is 18th century, so I'm having to do a LOT of research. That's when I found this interesting tidbit, nd thought others might want to know, too. Glad you stopped by.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hello Jennifer: You're not along. I didn't know about the bag-wig either, but it makes sense. Sorta like a ladies' hairnet I guess.
Glad you got time to stop by our blog.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Joyce,

When I wrote TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, I did a lot of research on the subject of Regency dress. Cravats were very much in style during that era. They did all sorts of elaborate effects with neck clothes. My husband dislikes wearing ties too and avoids it as much as possible.

Taryn Kincaid said...

Great info, good post!

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi Jackie: thanks for stopping by. I love researching fashion, don't you? Not so much fun are things like Did they have cobbled streets or paved? Where did they keep the abiynthe? In a locked closet? A decanter? LOL

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi Taryn, and glad you stopped by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. We try to offer new and different info, so please come back.

slee[ aids said...

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mens cravats said...

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Small percentage of men who really cared about fashion to a large number of fashion-conscious males.