What is an Ascot and How Did it Become a Popular Accessory?
An ascot is a type of necktie that originated in England in the late 19th century. It is typically made of silk and has a wide, square end that is folded over and secured with a pin or tie tack. The ascot is worn with formal attire, often paired with a morning coat or tailcoat.
The ascot became popular during the Victorian era as an alternative to the stiff, high collars that were fashionable at the time. It was seen as a more comfortable and stylish option for men who wanted to add a touch of elegance to their outfits. The ascot quickly gained popularity among the upper classes and became a symbol of refinement and sophistication.
History of the Ascot
The name “ascot” comes from the Ascot Racecourse in England, where the tie was first worn by members of the British elite attending horse races. It soon spread beyond the racecourse and became a fashionable accessory for all occasions.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional menswear accessories, including the ascot. Many fashion-forward men are embracing this classic accessory as a way to add personality and flair to their outfits. The ascot can be worn in both formal and casual settings, making it a versatile choice for any occasion.
When is the Appropriate Occasion to Wear an Ascot?
The appropriate occasion to wear an ascot largely depends on the dress code of the event or setting. Traditionally, ascots were reserved for formal events such as weddings, black-tie affairs, or horse races. They were often worn with morning coats or tailcoats as part of a sophisticated ensemble.
However, in modern times, the rules around dress codes have become more relaxed, and ascots can be worn in a variety of settings. They can add a touch of elegance to a business suit for a formal meeting or be paired with a blazer and trousers for a more casual yet stylish look.
- Weddings: Ascots are often worn by grooms or wedding guests who want to make a statement with their attire.
- Black-tie Events: Ascots can be an alternative to traditional bow ties for formal events.
- Royal Enclosure at Ascot Racecourse: Wearing an ascot is still considered appropriate and stylish at this prestigious event.
- Business Meetings: A well-tied ascot can add sophistication to a business suit.
- Cocktail Parties: Ascots can be worn with blazers or sports coats for a refined yet relaxed look.
- Social Gatherings: Ascots can make a fashion statement at parties or dinners when paired with the right outfit.
Step-by-Step Instructions on Tying an Ascot
1. Start with a folded ascot:
To tie an ascot, begin by folding it in half lengthwise so that the two ends meet.
2. Place around the neck:
Drape the folded ascot around your neck, with one end slightly longer than the other.
3. Cross the longer end over the shorter end:
Take the longer end and cross it over the shorter end, creating a loop.
4. Bring the longer end through the loop:
Take the longer end and bring it up through the loop created in step 3.
5. Adjust and style:
Gently pull on both ends of the ascot to tighten and adjust it to your desired fit and style. Make sure it sits comfortably on your collarbone area.
Best Fabrics and Patterns for an Ascot
The choice of fabric for an ascot can greatly impact its overall look and feel. Some popular fabrics for ascots include silk, satin, velvet, and wool. These materials provide a luxurious and elegant touch to any outfit.
In terms of patterns, paisley is a classic choice for an ascot. Its intricate design adds visual interest and sophistication to your ensemble. Other popular patterns include polka dots, stripes, houndstooth, and floral prints.
When selecting a fabric or pattern for your ascot, consider both your personal style and the occasion you’ll be wearing it for. A bold pattern can make a statement at formal events or parties, while a more subtle design may be suitable for everyday wear.
Choosing the Right Color of Ascot to Complement Your Outfit
The color of your ascot can greatly impact how well it complements your outfit. Here are some tips for choosing the right color:
1. Consider the occasion:
For formal events, such as weddings or black-tie affairs, opt for classic colors like black, white, or navy. These neutral shades will effortlessly complement a variety of suit colors.
2. Coordinate with your outfit:
Choose an ascot color that complements or matches one of the hues in your shirt, jacket, or tie. This will create a cohesive and polished look.
3. Experiment with contrasting colors:
If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider selecting an ascot in a contrasting color to add visual interest to your outfit. For example, pair a burgundy ascot with a light blue shirt for a stylish and eye-catching combination.
Can Women Also Wear Ascots or is it Primarily a Men’s Accessory?
While traditionally seen as a men’s accessory, women can absolutely wear ascots too! In fact, many women have embraced this stylish accessory as part of their wardrobe.
When styling an ascot for women, there are several ways to make it work seamlessly with feminine outfits. Pairing an ascot with a tailored blazer and trousers can create a chic and sophisticated look. Alternatively, wearing an ascot with a flowy dress adds an unexpected touch of elegance.
Ultimately, fashion has no boundaries when it comes to self-expression and personal style. So whether you identify as male or female, feel free to experiment with wearing an ascot and make it your own.
Alternative Ways to Style or Wear an Ascot Besides Around the Neck
An ascot doesn’t have to be limited to being worn solely around the neck. Here are some alternative ways to style or wear an ascot:
1. As a headband:
Fold the ascot into a thin strip and tie it around your head, just like a headband. This adds a touch of vintage charm to your hairstyle.
2. As a bracelet:
Wrap the ascot around your wrist multiple times and tie it in a knot or bow. This creates a unique and stylish accessory that can complement your outfit.
3. As a belt:
If the ascot is long enough, you can use it as a belt by threading it through the belt loops of your pants or skirt. This adds an unexpected pop of color and texture to your waistline.
Shirts and Jackets That Pair Well with an Ascot
An ascot can elevate any outfit when paired with the right shirts and jackets. Here are some options that pair well with an ascot:
1. Dress shirt:
A crisp white dress shirt is a classic choice to wear with an ascot. The clean lines of the shirt provide a sophisticated backdrop for showcasing the ascot’s pattern or color.
2. Turtleneck sweater:
For colder weather, consider wearing an ascot with a turtleneck sweater. The high collar of the sweater creates an interesting contrast against the draped fabric of the ascot.
3. Blazer or sport coat:
Pairing an ascot with a blazer or sport coat instantly adds refinement to your ensemble. Opt for complementary colors between the jacket and ascot for a cohesive look.
Mistakes to Avoid When Wearing an Ascot
To ensure you rock your ascot with confidence, here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Incorrect length:
Make sure the length of your ascot is appropriate for your neck size and the desired style. It should neither be too short nor too long, but rather sit comfortably on your collarbone area.
2. Overcomplicating the knot:
Keep the knot simple and elegant. Avoid creating a bulky or messy knot that distracts from the overall look.
3. Clashing colors or patterns:
Ensure that the colors and patterns of your ascot complement, rather than clash with, the rest of your outfit. Consider using complementary or analogous color schemes to create a harmonious look.
Cultural and Historical Contexts Associated with Wearing an Ascot
The ascot has a rich cultural and historical significance associated with its wearers throughout history.
1. British aristocracy:
The ascot tie originated in Britain and was traditionally worn by members of the upper class as part of their formal attire. It became particularly popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
a) Royal Ascot:
One notable event associated with ascots is the Royal Ascot horse racing event held annually in England since 1711. Attendees are required to adhere to a strict dress code that includes wearing an ascot tie.
b) Regency era fashion:
During the Regency era in Britain (1811-1820), men often wore cravats, which eventually evolved into ascots. This period is known for its distinctive fashion trends, including high collars and elaborate neckwear.
2. Modern fashion revival:
In recent years, there has been a resurgence in interest for vintage fashion, leading to a renewed popularity of ascots. Many fashion-forward individuals and designers have embraced the ascot as a stylish accessory that adds a touch of sophistication to contemporary outfits.
Understanding the cultural and historical contexts associated with wearing an ascot can deepen your appreciation for this timeless accessory and inspire you to incorporate it into your own personal style.
In conclusion, mastering the art of wearing an ascot can elevate your style and add a touch of sophistication to any outfit. By following these simple steps and experimenting with different looks, you can confidently incorporate this timeless accessory into your wardrobe for various occasions.