Ever wanted to wear an Ascot tie or at least understand what one really is? A wonderfully casual or formal alternative to a silk necktie, the Ascot tie is elusive and wears many hats. In this guide, we clear up any confusion and you will learn how to wear one, its history, and the best Ascot ties to buy online:
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Top 5 Best Ascot Tie Brands
Although it may seem surprising, it’s very difficult to find good quality Ascot ties that offer decent value for money. In fact, most that you will find are quite cheap and not worth the investment.
However, the following brands offer the best Ascot ties that you will likely find online:
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Turnbull & Asser easily offer some of the finest Ascot ties that you will find. Founded in 1885, it is an authentic Jermyn Street brand from London that continues to produce its garments in England. Furthermore, it was awarded a current Royal Warrant in 1980 by Prince Charles.
Admittedly, Turnbull & Asser are indeed pricey. However, their Ascots are all hand-stitched in Kent while the silk is woven in Suffolk using age-old techniques. Therefore, they warrant their premium price point and offer truly authentic quality and value.
"Exquisite Ascot ties made from the finest Suffolk silk and hand-stitched in Kent, Turnbull & Asser are a bastion of English tradition."
A premium alternative is America’s celebrated heritage brand, Brooks Brothers. Made from Italian silk, their Ascots are stitched in the USA. Funnily enough, they were also the only major online retailer that we could find that sold both formal and casual style Ascot ties!
Prices seem to oscillate around the $100. However, there are a few clearance sales on every now and then, which tend to allow for prices to drop beneath this and into the $80 threshold.
Eton Shirts is a heritage Swedish brand, which has been producing luxury men’s garments since 1928. Although perhaps not as well known as some British names, it is particularly influential nonetheless.
While Eton Shirts doesn’t strictly produce Ascot ties with the pointed ends and sewn pleats, it has a rich selection of silk scarves. These are thin enough to be easily folded just like an Ascot tie and nobody would be any wiser. Furthermore, Eton retails a beautiful range of colours and patterns that add lots of visual interest.
The Great British Tie Club is actually the name behind Wrexham Club Ties Ltd, a factory based in its eponymous North Wales town. They produce all their ties themselves using a variety of fabrics sourced from UK, France, Germany, and Italy.
As they’re quite a small independent factory, their ties are extraordinarily competitively priced too. Most of their production is for military and school uniforms. However, they also manufacture their own wonderful range of products, which they then retail through Amazon.
Founded in 1983, Remo Sartori is another indepdent factory of only 15 artisans who produce just 1,000 ties per day. Many of their clients are designer brands from the UK and the USA. However, they have been retailing their own label since 1990.
As they’re another small brand, their products are very competitively priced. Additionally, they pride themselves in their transparency and ethics. Everything is made in Italy and only from Italian fabrics!
What Is An Ascot?
There is an abundance of conflicting information with regards to the definition of an Ascot tie, but the answer is actually much simpler than we might think.
Technically, an ascot is one thing and one thing only: a wide, pointed necktie, wherein each end is of equal width. It’s typically tied in a simple knot, the ends are crossed over each other over the shirt, and sometimes secured to the chest with a pin, often made from pearl.
At one point, it was probably the most formal type of necktie. However, it’s usually worn casually today.
The name is derived from England’s Ascot races, which has been held annually in April since 1771. It’s closer to earlier forms of neckwear than it is a necktie, but it’s still held on in the same way that opera pumps are still worn on occasion even though they look as if they stepped out of the 18th century right into the 21st.
Colloquially, other informal neckwear such as scarves and cravats can be referred to as Ascot ties. Technically speaking, neither of these are Ascots, but they may be worn in a similar way.
Indeed, an Ascot tie refers mostly to the way the tie is made with two identical ends that are joined by a pleated strip.
Traditional Ascot ties are very rare and extremely formal. In fact, one of the few instances that are still worn are during Equastrian hunting sports in the United Kingdom or with formal day wear. Otherwise, most Ascot ties today are much wider, quite colourful, and have a distinctive sportswear heritage.
Needless to say, this does add to the confusion! Nevertheless, both are correctly regarded as Ascots.
What Are The Origins Of the Ascot?Its name comes from Ascot Heath, the English racetrack where the tie was first worn. The Ascot Races are annual events that takes place in England, and morning dress is the official dress code of the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, as one will be in the presence of the queen. As we mentioned above, an ascot is the original neckwear that corresponds with this dress code.
Over time, however, the Ascot has evolved to become better associated as a very casual garment that’s worn like a scarf and tucked under the shirt. Indeed, it’s easy to imagine them being worn by Golden-Age Hollywood stars like Errol Flynn or Cary Grant.
In fact, the above image compares the two styles as worn by Timothy Dalton in Licence To Kill and Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief.
Today, it’s actually quite rare to see an Ascot being worn with its traditional attire. Even Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry opt for silk neckties with their morning dress. Since this is perfectly appropriate, it’s led to the formal Ascot’s decline.
How To Tie An Ascot & Wear It With Style
There are actually a plethora of ways that you can tie an Ascot tie, which many different effects. Traditionally, an Ascot tie will be knotted using the following step:
- Cross over each end at equal lengths.
- Loop the top end through from the bottom.
- Create a second loop with threaded end.
- Slip top end through loop.
- Fix into place with a pin.
Despite being the most traditional knot, the above formal method is probably the rarest today. Additionally, it’s often paired with a wing collar. Meanwhile, another knot would be to tie the Ascot like a regular necktie:
This is often regarded as a Cravat knot and is most often seen with a turndown spread collar at weddings or with morning dress. Yet, if you’re feeling a little daring, it can go quite well with particularly eccentric vintage suit styles!
However, most Ascot ties are now tied like a tie but under the shirt. Just before looping the top end into the knot, you then leave it loose to rest on top instead.
Some argue that it’s easier to tie the Ascot before putting on a shirt but you can also do it afterwards.
Finally, bear in mind that the actual designs of formal and casual Ascots are slightly different. Casual Ascots will often have thicker, pleated bands. Meanwhile, to allow more elaborate knots and given that they will be visible with wing collars, formal Ascot ties are thinner and more flexible.
It is rare, even if you’re British, that you’ll ever wear a true ascot. Should you ever have the opportunity, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of it! It’s not often we get the chance to wear such an old-world item, so rock as ascot next time you find yourself at a formal daytime wedding.
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