If the necktie is disappearing and the bow tie rarely seen, what does that say about the ascot, a still more obscure form of neckwear? The ascot, or more accurately the day cravate as that's the form we are concerning ourselves with today, is a broad silk scarf with a pleated neckband and two wide flaps of equal width that normally come to a point at the ends. Worn under an open shirt collar, ascots were popular early in the twentieth century as an elegant form of casual dress and, when worn by a man who is both stylish and at ease with himself, it remains an effective way to dress up an odd jacket. That's "cuffthis," an Ask Andy About Clothes forum member modeling one of his in the photo. It's tied in a simple knot:
Since the media sterotype of the addled aristocrat usually shows him dressed in a blazer and an ascot, the modern ascot wearer must above all avoid pretentiousness. That means he should wear patterned silk that just peeks from under the shirt collar, preferably with a tweed or similar jacket instead of a blazer and never under any circumstance on public transportation. Unlike other neckties, the ascot is tied before a man puts on his shirt and calls for an opaque shirting fabric so that the silk is only visible above the open collar. Warning flags should fly as soon as a second shirt button is left open and if a third is left undone the wearer deserves any humiliation that may be aimed in his direction.
Say a prayer for the ascot.