Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Regency Man and his Cravat

Cravatiana, Stock, Neckclothiana.

In 1830, the Regency period was winding down with the death of George IV, but fashion for men was still considered an art. In the manner and elegance of dress, gentlemen were accustomed to flawless personal appearance. 

One of the most important components of dress was the cravat, the forerunner to the modern tie. The cravat replaced the black ribbons, jabots and stocks and became a focal point to the modern suit.

The Royal George: This stock has a similar style to the Military with a stiff neck. It is composed of black Genoa velvet and satin. The satin slopes down the side of the velvet to the center, where it is tied with a Gordian knot. This tie was favored by the Royals and they wore it high to the cheek, nearly brushing their ear.

The Plain Bow: Business-like and utilitarian, this tie is entirely of black silk, pliant and straight-sided.

The Military: This fashion accessory is stiff around the neck, usually made of corded silk, edged with kid and lined with crimson. More importantly, it is has no tie.

The Ballroom: True to its name, the Ballroom is the most complicated of the ties and requires much practice. Good thing nobles had valets who could perform this complicated pattern. This cloth was virgin white, starched and folded. Again there is no tie as the end pieces are cross and attached to the braces or in the back by means of white tape. And the part I like best, is that usually a brilliant brooch or pin was used to secure the cloth where it crossed in front.

The Corsican: This tie is another simple cravat and is primarily worn during the summer months. Commonly the cloth will be a light shade of cerulean blue and a plain gold pin will be used to fasten the cloth in front. This tie is also named the Napoleon.

Hibernian Tie: This emerald green tie is worn much like the Ballroom, though it has only one horizontal dent with a small Gordian knot.

Eastern Tie: Another white, very neat tie, this one relies heavily upon starch to keep it stiff. All around it should be smooth and straight, with a square knot in front.

Hunting Tie: This tie is indicative of sportsmen and is usually embellished with pins bearing fox heads or some other emblem indicating the hunter’s preference. Colors for this tie could be white, bright buff or with white spots on a blue background. The cloth itself is known for its height and tightness with three creases on either side.

Yankee Tie: A more complicated tie, there is a perpendicular crease on each side of the chin with a slight collateral dent on each side. Again a small, flat Gordian knot is used for the final tie though the ends can be crossed over the chest. Usually the cloth color is a light brimstone.

Other ties include the Osbaldstone, the Mathematical, the Mail Coach, the Irish Tie, the Trone d’Amour, the Horse Collar Tie, the Maharatta and the Oriental.

Beau Brummel is widely attributed to the revival of men’s fashion in the 19th Century. However, cravats were a fashion of the army, navy and marines in a utilitarian function. It was the year 1822 when His Majesty, George IV, started wearing certain stocks that propelled the fashion into wider acceptance. That year, he appeared at the Drury Lane Theater, wearing a velvet and satin cravat.

For more, check out the Whole Art of Dress, 1830, by Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, from which most of this information was obtained.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               A list of neckcloth styles from 1818

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