Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Ascot Revival

Earlier this year I came across an older gentleman wearing what I believed to be a scarf under his button-down shirt. The scarf really complimented his button-down shirt and gave the outfit (which would have normally been average) some flare. The fabric of the scarf appeared to be silk and the colors were dark & rich...it really caught my eye. After speaking with the man, I was informed that the scarf was an “Ascot.” An ascot tie, or ascot, is a form of necktie, descended from the cravat which was widely worn in the early nineteenth century, made of linen and elaborately tied around the neck.

In the 1940’s, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and various other actors were commonly pictured wearing ascots both in formal and casual attire. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the ascot made a comeback. Hollywood stars such as Al Pacino, Michael Caine and Michael Butler were men spotted rockin' this accessory. In The Godfather II (1972), Al Pacino’s character, Michael Corleone, is pictured wearing an ascot in a few scenes throughout the movie, referencing the appeal of the ascot during the period. Recently, Jeremy Piven made an attempt to revive the look in 2006. During his Emmy acceptance for best supporting actor, the Entourage star wore a navy blue ascot under a white-button down shirt and navy sports coat. I think he wore it well.

My encounter with the ascot sparked a quest to add one to my fly arsenal of apparel. Finding one proved to be a bit more difficult than I expected. Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom’s, Brooks Brothers and The Men’s Warehouse were stores I thought would carry the accessory. Unfortunately for me, none of them offered a selection of ascots. During a visit to San Francisco I came across an upscale boutique specializing in men’s formal fashion called The Custom Shop Clothiers. As soon as I stepped into the spot, my eyes were immediately greeted by a mannequin dressed in a white button-down shirt, black sports coat and a dark purple & black ascot. Needless to say, I bought it!

An ascot is a great accessory that can easily dress up any outfit. Draw attention to yourself and your gear this fall/winter season with an ascot, it’s a good substitute for the average scarf. It adds the little extra flare to take your outfit from ordinary to bangin'. Interested in adding one to your collection....your best bet is going online! Ascots range in price from about $58-$125, depending on the quality of silk, pattern and type. Are you a creative person? Do you have what it takes to make your own? If you think you got the skills, save yourself some money during the economic crunch and peep out this cool link that shows you how to make a retro-ascot necktie!

Do you already own an ascot but are unable to figure out how to tie one? Well bring it out of the closet, dust it off and take a look at these simple instructions on how to tie one.

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