Written by Wesley Kang
You might be wondering what an ascot actually is: a bit of an odd fashion piece, we think of the ascot as a cross between a necktie and a scarf. Today, the formal ascot is generally considered a business casual to formal wear accessory piece, often worn with white collared shirts and complementing the shirt collar.
The ascot, a stylish and versatile accessory, has long been admired for its elegance and sophistication. Yet, knowing how to tie an ascot often doesn't come naturally.
Today, we will highlight how to tie an ascot in three different ways, explain the origins of the ascot, and provide some essential do's and don'ts when it comes to wearing and pairing this timeless fashion piece. To jump to the different ways how to tie an ascot, click here.
Table of Contents
- The Ascot: A Brief History
- Types of Ascots
- Tying an Ascot: Three Ways to Master the Look
- Do's and Don'ts of Wearing and Pairing Ascots
The Ascot Tie: A Brief History
The ascot, ascot tie, sometimes known as a cravat, traces its roots back to 19th-century England. Formal ascots, initially worn by the upper class as necktie alternatives, became a symbol of refined taste and elevated style. Its popularity spread across Europe and eventually reached other parts of the world.
Royal Ascot, named after the ascot cravat
The formal ascot became such an icon of expression, one of Britain's most well-known racecourses and events, the Royal Ascot, carries its name as a symbol of class, elegance, and prose. Reserved only for the Royal Family and high-standing officials, the Royal Ascot is an event with historic implications.
The Ascot in Modern Fashion
In modern fashion, the ascot tie continues to make a statement as a stylish and sophisticated accessory. While its popularity may have waned compared to previous eras, it still holds a place of distinction in certain settings.
The ascot is often seen at formal events such as weddings, black-tie affairs, and high-end cocktail parties and usually worn with a dress shirt. It adds a touch of elegance and refinement to a gentleman's ensemble, elevating the overall look. However, it's important to note that the ascot is not as commonly worn in everyday casual settings.
In recent years, the ascot has also made appearances in more fashion-forward circles. Fashion enthusiasts and trendsetters have embraced the ascot as a means of expressing their individuality and sartorial creativity. They experiment with different patterns, colors, and materials to create unique and eye-catching looks with a button up shirt.
While the ascot's prominence may vary depending on geographical location and personal style preferences, it continues to be a symbol of sophistication and classic fashion sensibility in certain circles.
Next, let's talk about the types of ascots available and how to tie an ascot tie.
Types of Ascots
When it comes to ascots, formality can vary from casual ascots to modest, formal ascots. Achievable with just one knot, ascots can enable individuals to showcase and balance their style and preferences. Here are some common types of ascots and their distinguishing features:
Silk Ascots: Silk ascots are a classic choice that exudes luxury and refinement. They have a smooth and lustrous texture, adding a touch of elegance to any outfit. Silk ascots come in various styles, including patterned ascots in paisley, polka dots, or intricate geometric designs.
Satin Ascots: Satin ascots offer a similar sheen to silk but with a slightly different texture. They provide a sleek and sophisticated appearance and are often favored for formal occasions. Satin ascots are available in solid colors or subtle patterns, making them versatile and easy to pair with different outfits.
Wool Ascots: Wool ascots are ideal for cooler seasons, as they provide warmth and comfort. They have a cozy and textured feel, adding a unique touch to the overall look. Wool ascots often feature patterns such as herringbone, tartan, or plaid, which bring a touch of classic charm and a hint of rustic elegance.
Cotton Ascots: Cotton ascots are lightweight and breathable, making them suitable for warmer weather or more casual settings. They offer a relaxed and comfortable feel, while still maintaining a refined appearance. Cotton ascots come in a variety of colors and patterns, including stripes, floral prints, or subtle textures.
Blend Ascots: Ascots made from blended fabrics, such as silk and wool or silk and cashmere blends, combine the best characteristics of each material. These ascots provide a unique texture and often offer a luxurious feel. They can be found in a range of patterns and colors, making them versatile for different occasions.
When choosing an ascot, consider the occasion, the outfit you plan to wear it with, and your personal style preferences. With a variety of styles, you won't be short of outfit ideas when pairing ascots. Whether you opt for a silky sheen, a cozy wool texture, or a lightweight cotton feel, there is an ascot available to enhance your ensemble and showcase your individuality.
Note that while the media and costume parties may portray wearing an ascot on the exterior of an outfit, an ascot is traditionally meant to be worn in a formal setting under the a traditional white dress shirt collar, touching your skin and acting as an accent of color, texture, or pattern to your overall look during a formal occasion.
Tying an Ascot: Three Ways to Master the Look
The Classic or Traditional Knot
The Classic Knot or Traditional Knot is the most common way to tie an ascot tie and should feel similar to tying a standard necktie. If you learn just one method for how to tie an ascot, lean on the Classic Knot.
To achieve the classic knot, follow these steps:
Drape the ascot tie around your neck, with one end longer than the other.
Cross the longer end over the shorter end.
Bring the longer around and under the shorter end and back over to create a loop or knot.
Take the longer end and thread it under the loop by your neck and through the loop you created in Step 3.
Adjust the knot and the length of the ascot to your desired style and wear tucked into your shirt or jacket.
If you've tied a standard necktie before, it will be easy to pick up how to tie an ascot, as this knot is very similar.
The Simple or "Lazy" Knot
If you just want to learn the quickest and simplest way how to tie an ascot, you can actually just loop the winged ends once, and tuck the loose knot away under your shirt collar, or jacket.
After draping the ascot around your neck, position it with both ends at the same length.
Cross one end over the other and loop over the neck hole to create a knot.
Tighten the knot and adjust as needed and tuck away in a shirt or jacket.
Note that the simple knot can get loose over time, so adjust throughout the day accordingly and tighten if needed.
The Ascot Bow Knot
For a charming and eye-catching style, the ascot bow is an excellent choice. Don't overthink this one, you're essentially tying your shoelaces, but on your neck. Follow these steps:
Drape the ascot around your neck, ensuring one end is longer.
Overlap the longer end with the shorter end, and create a loop by going under the neck "ring".
With the loop, take the longer end and create a loop to tie a bow.
Wear by tucking in the excess so most of what is showing is the bow.
Do's and Don'ts of Wearing and Pairing Ascots
To make the most of your ascot, keep these do's and don'ts in mind:
Do tuck your ascot tie into your shirt or jacket
An ascot is generally not meant to be worn with it hanging out. Unlike a necktie, the part of an ascot that shows is similar to a scarf—usually just an accented sliver of color/pattern by the neck, or a modest concentration of fabric that pops.
Do Coordinate Colors and Patterns
When wearing an ascot, choose colors and patterns that complement your outfit. Consider the occasion and the overall aesthetic you wish to achieve. Experiment with different combinations to find the perfect balance. For example, you can match your ascot with your pocket square—read our article on how to fold a pocket square for inspiration.
Do Pay Attention to Proportions
The size of your ascot should be proportionate to your body and the collar of your shirt or jacket. A larger ascot might overpower a petite frame, while a small ascot might get lost on a broader physique. Find the right balance to achieve a harmonious look.
Do Experiment with Different Fabrics
Ascots come in various fabrics, each offering a unique texture and drape. Embrace the opportunity to explore different materials like silk, satin, or wool, depending on the occasion and season. Play with textures to add depth and visual interest to your outfit.
Don't Overdo Accessories
Remember that the ascot is an accessory in itself. Avoid overwhelming your look with excessive accessories, as this can detract from the ascot's elegance and impact. Keep it simple and let the ascot shine.
Don't Wear an Ascot Casually
While the ascot is a sophisticated accessory, it is not suitable for every occasion. Reserve it for formal or semi-formal events, such as weddings, cocktail parties, or business functions. Avoid wearing an ascot casually.
Mastering the art of tying an ascot opens up a world of sartorial possibilities. The classic knot, ascot pin, and ascot bow offer versatility and elegance for various occasions. By following the do's and don'ts, you can elevate your fashion game and make a stylish statement that reflects your personality.
Frequently asked questions about how to tie an ascot tie
What is the difference between an ascot and a cravat?
Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, an ascot is technically a type of cravat. A cravat is a more universal term for fabric worn around the neck including ties, bowties, scarves, and ascots. An ascot is specifically a type of neckwear that has two wings with pointed ends similar to a tie.
What is the correct way to wear an ascot?
There are many ways to tie and wear an ascot. Generally, ascots are an accessory piece for semi-formal to formal events. Wear an ascot by tucking the leftover tail ends to your shirt or jacket. Visually, a properly worn ascot is a small strip or a bunch of fabric which adds color, contrast, or texture.
What tie knot for ascot?
You can't go wrong with the traditional knot when wearing an ascot. Start with your ascot draped over your neck and one end longer. Overlap the longer end over the shorter end and loop over the neck loop to create a knot. Take the longer end and go under the knot, then overlap the longer end with the knot and go under the neck loop and through the knot to create a final tight knot and two wings of the ascot.
How do you tie an ascot like Freddy?
Freddy from Scooby Doo wears an ascot using a Traditional Knot. Start with your ascot draped over your neck and one end longer. Overlap the longer end over the shorter end and loop over the neck loop to create a knot. Take the longer end and go under the knot, then overlap the longer end with the knot and go under the neck loop and through the knot to create a final tight knot and two wings of the ascot.