About the cravat

Croatian poet Ivan Gundulić, first known portrait with a cravat, 1622

The origin of the cravat goes back to the 17th century and, as is the case with most of male fashion elements, it has military origins. During Louis XIII’s reign Croatian mercenaries served in France, while the unusual and distinguishably tied neckties of their uniforms aroused curiosity in the French. The name cravat comes from the French colloquial word cravate denoting a Croatian. King Charles II introduced the cravat to England in 1660 when he returned from exile in France. In England the cravat has been an important element of a gentleman’s wardrobe ever since and it is known also today. This brought about the spread of the cravat all over the world.

The cravat is also known as: ascot tie, ascot cravat, plastron. A word of the stem cravate has evolved to mark the common necktie in most languages (Italian cravatta, Spanish corbata, Portuguese gravata, French cravate, German krawatte, Greek γραβάτα, Serbian кравата, Croatian kravata).

In Estonia the cravat has been known and worn mostly by fashion gourmets so far, but it is gaining more and more popularity. It is a so-called substitute for the common necktie tied under the shirt. The cravat is a simple opportunity for men to make their appearance special and stylish and it is also much more comfortable to wear, as it leaves more room to breathe for the neck.

In Croatia 18th October is celebrated as cravat or necktie day.