I haven't written about the ascot, more formally known as the day cravat, since this past summer, and the other day brought a box containing two dotted silk twills that I had ordered from my friend Anit at Cravate Royale (the third one in the photo came from Ben Silver). That package brought the subject to the top of my mind once again so here we are.
First and foremost, be not deterred by residual memories of ascot-wearing idiots in old television series. Worn with a jacket instead of a necktie, or with a sweater, ascots add a little color and fill in the space left by an open shirt collar. And, unless a man wears his with three open shirt buttons, the effect is nothing more than a subtle improvement of the day's look. He was wearing a neckerchief rather than an ascot but think Cary Grant on the motor boat in To Catch a Thief.
Between most men and such elegance lie three barriers. First, he must own one. Fortunately, Cravate Royale's ascots are available at Wilkes Bashford and Stanley Korshak on the United States.
Second, men who are uncertain how to knot their ascot will find a short video at the web site of clothier Ben Silver (the only quibble I have with the instructions is that I find the ascot considerably easier to arrange if I don it before I put on my shirt).
And finally, a man has to wear one publicly to prove to himself that others will not stare, nor will small children hide behind their mother's skirts at the sight. Wearing an ascot for the first time is much like trying out a fedora. After an initial successful experience, pride in the improved look will surmount any residual discomfort.
Remember the ascot.