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What is the difference between a Cravat, Fatboy Tie and an Ascot?

Posted by Carol Emerton on

What is the difference between a Cravat, Fatboy Tie and an Ascot?

Ties can make all the difference to your outfit. 

A Necktie is traditional and often used for any occasion requiring a Tie. 

Some form of tie is important for those more 'formal' occasions as it adds a little bit of flair to your outfit.  Ties can be solid colour and traditional or, depending on the occasion, a novelty tie can work wonders and would certainly be a talking point.  For weddings ties are usually worn by the males in the bridal party and will harmonise with the brides entourage, or be a contrasting colour.  The right style of tie for your function completes your outfit off nicely.

A Bow Tie is more formal and is worn to a Black-Tie Event.  The Tie doesn’t need to be Black, but most often it will be.  Bow Ties can also be used for many other occasions, like weddings and after five events.

Then there are the other types of more formal Tie.  Many people are unsure of the difference between a Cravat, Fat Boy Tie and Ascot.  We will explain it for you, as we understand it.

There is a lot of confusion around the correct names for ties, but we use the English terms for them.  Cravat is a broad term for all ties, adding to the confusion.

The Cravat (also known as a Fatboy Tie)

A Cravat is a very formal tie.  It can also be called a Fatboy Tie, though no one seems to know where this term comes from.  It is a very wide tie, so our guess is that is why it was given the ‘Fatboy’ name. 

A Cravat is most often worn with a Vest/Waistcoat, for your wedding and often in the same fabric as your Vest.  A plain coloured Cravat with a patterned Vest can change the look of an outfit completely.  It is a great idea to consider this if you are wearing a Cravat for your wedding. 

The Cravat is worn tucked into your Vest and can have a decorative pin in it, to add a little bling.  Cravats are a shorter form of the traditional Necktie.  It is also wider than a Classic Necktie, which is 8cm in width at the widest part.  A Cravat is usually pre-tied with a hook and is adjustable, which makes it very easy to wear.  The top of the tie is often sewn in a way that it is quite decorative.  The ‘knot’ can be folded or scrunched (see photos). 

Cravat for Wedding VestCravat for wedding waistcoatTies for Wedding vestsCravat with pin for wedding waistcoat

History of the Cravat

The word “Cravat” actually comes from “Croat”. The first cravats were worn by the Croatian Mercenaries from the court of King Louis XIII of France.  They fought in the Thirty Years’ War in the 1600’s wearing these very colourful neckerchiefs. 

mercinary wearing a cravat

The Ascot

This type of tie is less formal and tied in a simple knot.  It is worn to show some respect as an open collar can be quite casual. An Ascot has a thinner strip that goes around your neck.  The front is a similar width to the Cravat, though there are various versions available. 

An Ascot worn this way is tucked into your shirt and not usually worn with a Vest.  It can look a lot like a scarf, more than a tie, as you will see from the picture of Cary Grant below.

An Ascot is the type of tie worn by Matt Preston the famous food critic and journalist.  Matt wears some very flamboyant colours and styles in both his ties and suits.  I am sure you will agree that he always looks amazing.  We think Matt gives Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen a run for his money in personal fashion. 

Movie stars such as the very handsome Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Adam West and Cary Grant wore an Ascot.  They felt it was a good way to make them look good, whilst expressing their style and sophistication.

Cary Grant wearing an ascot

The Ascot tie can also be knotted twice and held by a decorative pin the same way a Cravat often is.  When worn this way it is flatter around the neck and worn with a Vest.  The ends can either be pointed, like a traditional tie or square.  A Grey striped tie worn with a Black Suit is most traditional.

Groom wearing a morning suit with ascot

Americans call a Necktie or Neckerchief an Ascot.  This makes things a little trickier when you are buying a tie.  You need to know the right term for the country you are buying from if you are going into a traditional shop.

History of the Ascot

The Ascot tie gets its name from the Royal Ascot Races in the UK which began in 1807.  Later in the 19th century the men in the upper-middle-class of Europe began to wear this more loosely tied version of a Necktie.  The Ascot was considered a formal daytime tie, worn with a morning suit.  It was expected that attendees of the Royal Ascot Races would arrive in morning dress, which included these ties.  This style of tie has stood the test of time and is still worn for weddings, over 200 years later.

The Fatboy Tie

It sounds like it belongs to someone who rides a Harley Davidson, but that isn’t the case.  A Fatboy tie is just another name for what we call a Cravat.  Are you confused yet?  I am not surprised if you are as, it confused us too, which is why we investigated this subject and bought you this blog.  Hopefully we have clarified any queries you may have had.

So, now it's time to shop for the right tie for your function; where to now?  Ties are extremely important. This is especially the case for weddings or formal events.  These are the times where you will likely have a partner; for a wedding I would hope so, though I have heard of people marrying themselves.  These are the times you want to harmonise with your partner.  A colour clash, that looks totally out of place is not what you want to see. 

This is where FM Formal Wear can step.  We can guide you through the process of finding the perfect tie.  We have access to hundreds of fabrics (more like thousands really) so we can help you get just the right colour for your event, in the right tie style.  If you don't see the colour you are looking for on our website, send us a message so that we can help you.  We will take the stress out of finding the tie to finish off your outfit.  


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