11 Ties for the Daring: Ascots, Bolos, String Ties and different Different Ties for Males

published on July 2, 2020

Welcome back to the Gentleman's Gazette

In today's video, we'll discuss styles of
neckwear that go beyond the typical long ties

and bows, where they come from, and when or
if you should wear them today

As you’re probably aware, the neckwear is
a prime focus for us here at the Gentleman's


We’ve devoted a number of videos to how
to tie bow ties and various kinds of necktie

knots, and we sell a wide array of ties in
the Fort Belvedere Shop

We’ve also covered some even more traditional
styles, like the ascot and cravat, both of

which, we’ll touch on again later in today’s

But of course, there are a great many other
neckwear styles out there assigned for regular

neckties and bow ties — which begs the question:
are there situations where any of these other

styles can or should be worn?

Before we can answer that question though,
we’ll need to run through a brief overview

of the various different kinds of alternative
tie styles

We’ll start with the cravat, which is really
an umbrella term for any cloth that tied around

the neck for decorative purposes

As such, it is in a sense the forefather of
the necktie, the bow tie, scarves, and most

other types of neckwear

The name cravat is derived from Croatian (or
“Croat”) mercenaries who fought during

the Thirty Years’ War of 1618-1648

These mercenaries came into contact with the
French, who were impressed by their colorful


Over time, the French term “Croate”, in
reference to the neckwear, became “cravat”

Of course, the fashion of wearing something
around one’s neck decoratively dates back

much further than the 17th century, but these
Croatian mercenaries were the ones who really

popularized it

In British English, the term cravat or krəˈvæt/
also day cravat usually refers to a more informal

type of day ascot that's worn under the collar
of the shirt such as I''m wearing here today

This is in contrast to the Dress Ascot, also
called a Dress Cravat, Formal Ascot, or Plastron

These terms refer to a more structured neckband
with wide pointed ends, usually made of silk

The Royal Ascot race meeting at the Ascot
Racecourse in the British town of Ascot, gave

the neckwear its name, although such dress
cravats were no longer worn with morning dress

at the Royal races by the Edwardian era

The dress ascot is now worn almost exclusively
with formal day wear or morning dress, which

we’ve also covered extensively, including
in our comprehensive morning dress guide which

you can find here

And if you’d like to learn more about day
cravats and formal ascots, as well as how

to tie them, you can find our videos here

With those forms out of the way, let’s dig
into the more niche and obscure neckwear options

found throughout history

We’ll start here with the stock, a close
cousin of the ascot and cravat, which comes

in two varieties

The shaped stock, which is a single, long,
presewn piece of fabric with no folds, with

a slit in its center back to facilitate tying
and the older “folded stock,” which is

folded lengthwise and pressed but not stitched

These folded stocks were originally white
neckbands of starched linen or muslin, first

worn around 1730

They would later incorporate colors and patterns
and become more similar to modern day cravats

Meanwhile, shaped stocks, which are also called
dress stocks or hunting stocks, are more similar

to formal ascots, are plain white, and are
worn with stock pins

Stock pins, by the way, are horizontal pins,
resembling large safety pins of about three

inches or so, and are usually gold

They secure the ends of a dress stock together
in a similar fashion to how a stick pin is

used with a formal ascot

Stocks are most often worn today as part of
British hunting attire, with shaped versions

being worn as part of formal fox hunting attire,
and folded versions worn with the less formal

dress code known as “ratcatcher”

Hunters and horsemen often endorse the utility
of the stock, saying that when necessary,

it can be used to improvise bandages, slings,
and other such devices

One more cravat style to cover here: the Steinkirk
cravat, also called a Steenkerque

This is a white stock with long ends which
are twisted together and pulled through the

wearer's lapel buttonhole, somewhat casually

This style takes its name from the Battle
of Steenkerque, between France and a joint

force of English, Scottish, Dutch, and German
forces on August 3, 1692

Legend has it that the French were surprised
at their encampment early in the morning by

the opposing forces, and thus were only partly
dressed at that time

The French would go on to win the battle,
though, and the casual style of cravat wearing

would remain popular in the region for another
handful of decades

By the way, if you tie a black ribbon over
the top of a stock, you get a style called

a “solitaire”

And this transitions us nicely into our next
neckwear category: ribbon and string ties

First up here is the simple string tie, also
called a bootlace tie or a sheriff’s tie

predominantly in the UK

This is just as it sounds: a string that's
looped in a bow rather than being traditionally


It was particularly associated with the Teddy
Boy movement in Britain in the 1950s which

was itself an outgrowth of Neo-Edwardian and
Rockabilly fashions, and it’s often misidentified

as a bolo tie

What is a bolo tie then?

A bolo tie also called a bola tie or shoelace
tie is a style of neckwear created from a

length of cord that's almost always leather
rather than a strip of silk or other fabric

and closed with a jewelry-like side clasp

It usually features decorative metal tips,
called aglets which is where the “shoelace

tie” moniker comes from

Most sources point to the creator of the bolo
tie being a silversmith from Wickenburg, Arizona

named Vic Cedarstaff

While out riding one day in the 1940s, Cedarstaff’s
hat blew off

He retrieved it, but since he did not want
to lose the hat band and buckle again, he

took them off the hat put them around his

Cedarstaff later added silver aglets to the
ends of the band, named it after the bolas

or bolos used by Argentine gauchos, and patented
the design in 1959

The bolo tie was adopted as the official state
tie of Arizona in 1971, and later by New Mexico

and Texas, as well

It got a boost in the fashion world in the
1980s with rockabilly and new wave musicians

and also in Hollywood, but today, it’s most
commonly associated with its western wear


And returning to ribbons for a moment, let’s
cover the Plantation tie, which is also called

the planter’s tie or southern colonel tie

This is a loop of dark ribbon that's tied
into a bow, using the same mechanics as a

conventional bow tie

And it’s commonly associated with figures
like Mark Twain and Colonel Harlan Sanders,

the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken

Next up, we’re venturing into the realm
of black tie alternatives, with the continental


This is a bow tie alternative consisting of
a strip of fabric usually black that overlaps

under the throat, where it is is fastened
by a tie tack or snap button

Because the tie crosses over itself, it’s
also referred to as a crossover

However, the term “continental tie” can
also be applied to a V-shaped neckband fastened

behind the neck rather than in front

This style also has an alternate name, the
"bulldogger tie

Both of these “continental ties” styles
were popular in America in the late 1950s

and early ‘60s, as part of a broader fashion
movement called the Continental Look, wherein

the traditional full cuts of English suits
gave way to slimmer and more youthful Italian


The Continental style overall, was tighter
and closer to the torso, with slimmer pants,

a more nipped-in waist, and a sleeker shoulder

It was characterized by such details as narrow,
trimmed lapels, sometimes semi-peaked in the

Tautz style, and false, detachable cuffs

Both styles of continental tie were popular
with musicians of this time with the crossover

seen on figures like Elvis Presley, and the
V-shaped style becoming a signature fashion

statement of bouzouki player Gianni Stamatiou,
also known as Sporo

We’d be remiss not to mention novelty ties
of the 20th century in today’s roundup,

as well, including such things as Christmas
ties, keyboard ties, leather ties, and the

infamous fish tie created by Ralph Marlin
in the 1980s

Additionally, we should also mention some
21st-century alternative tie styles, such

as bow ties made from materials like wood,
metal, cork, leather, or feathers

And yes, there are also more historical styles
that we didn’t cover here today, for instance,

things like the rosette tie among others

But with all that said, let’s get back to
our main question for today: when can you

wear these alternative necktie styles?

To some extent, it depends on the style in

For example, we wouldn’t really recommend
any of the more historical styles, such as

the stock with the exception of hunting attire,
the Steinkirk, or the solitaire

Similarly, the string tie and plantation tie
are probably going to look more dated and

costumey than stylish today which can also
be applied to the novelty tie category more


Either style of continental tie is probably
something we'd advise against as well, simply

because we’re big proponents of classic
black tie, as exemplified by the 1930s in


For more information on both classic black
tie as well as alternatives like the continental

tie, you can consult our comprehensive Black
Tie Guide on the website, here

Regarding bow ties made of non-fabric materials,
they can certainly work in a more modern,

fashion-forward setting

But if you’re going for a look grounded
in the principles of the Golden Age of Menswear,

as we advocate here at the Gentleman's Gazette,
you’re probably going to find that they're

not going to be versatile or harmonious with
the other elements of your wardrobe

And what of the bolo tie, then?

Well, we wouldn’t recommend it for all situations

However, if you do happen to be in the southwestern
United States, particularly one of the states

that's officially sanctioned this style, then
we think you could experiment with wearing


It would probably work best though if the
rest of your outfit is similarly western-inspired,

but not over-the-top or costumey but rather
more subtle and traditional

As you can see, then, the world of men’s
neckwear is far more vast than the two main

pillars of conventional neckties and bow ties

Even so, the various “alternative styles”
we've covered today have remained alternative

for a reason: which is to say, they’re not
nearly as versatile as their more conventional


For 99% of sartorial situations then, a well-chosen
necktie or bow tie or perhaps an ascot or

cravat is going to serve you well

Feel free to experiment with the other alternative
styles if you so choose, but be aware that

a more standard style is going to be best
for tying your looks together

In the spirit of today's video, I am wearing
a day cravat with my outfit just to add a

bit of flare

As you might have guessed, it's from Fort
Belvedere, and it's in madder silk with red,

orange, navy, and light blue paisley

The rest of my outfit is working in a similar
red and blue color theme including my wine

colored cardigan sweater and my shirt which
is a subtle pink and blue checked pattern

over a white background

I'm wearing slim and simple black cufflinks
which aren't meant to be seen so that my sleeves

can fit better under the sweater sleeves

My trousers are plain navy blue and my penny
loafers are on a dark oxblood color which

brings out some of the red tones in the outfit

And my socks, also from Fort Belvedere, tied
the outfit together, they're shadow stripe

models in midnight blue and burgundy

You can find the socks and the ascot I'm wearing
in today's video in the Fort Belvedere shop

in addition to a wide array of other menswear
accessories including neckties, bow ties,

ascots, and much more

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