Like the pocket square, the cravat is one of those elusive accessorises that one believes no one wears anymore. That is until you come to St Andrews.
As with the trench coat, the cravat began life as a military accessory. Croatian mercenaries would wear them in the French army as part of the uniform; the textile used distinguishing the rank. Since then they have been seen throughout history. Louis XIV of France always sported a nice one, Regency style involved a plush white bow and many period dramas would not be complete without the dashing hero accentuating his chiselled jaw with a pristine, starched strip of linen or silk. Would Mr Darcy be Mr Darcy without his white cravat? I think not.
In St Andrews the cravat is very much alive. Providing the wearer with the distinct style of the dandy it maintains the air of the elite, or just style conscious. Imagine a modern day Casanova, the lace ruffles swapped for a patterned silk number tucked into an ironed Ralph Lauren shirt. Yet is it a style that exudes class or wreaks pretention? Having asked a few opinions from the women in St Andrews the general consensus threw up a few interesting ideas. I myself am not opposed to a cravat, providing the wearer is tall, handsome and debonair, but the majority would strongly disagree.
Mostly it is believed that cravats should only be worn at weddings, and then only in a white or cream variety. Other opinions involved the desire for it to remain in the 19th century and for it to stop plaguing the streets of our beloved University town. However looking around on the town, on the streets, they seem to be everywhere. I recently saw an interesting combination of a blue and red patterned cravat teamed with a green and yellow pocket handkerchief. Now boys, this is important- if you are going to risk the style statement that is the cravat, make sure that nothing overpowers the print, and that the rest of the outfit matches the look. The mix of prints just ruined the whole look and took away the statement that the cravat makes.
Perhaps just leave it for night? It’s a clear style statement that sends an image of sophistication and self-confidence, but maybe the choice to dare to wear the cravat should be left up to wearer.
Image- Millicent Wilkinson