header('Cache-Control: max-age=259200'); The Art of the Cravat - Kristen Koster
Aug 112008

The Art of the Cravat: Popular cravat styles during the Regency.

Popular cravat styles during the Regency. Published by Stockdale, 41 Pall Mall, 1818.

One of the fun things about writing historicals is you have to learn all this really cool trivia. You need to be able to set the stage and do it in a believable manner. This includes how to properly dress your characters. And every sharp-dressed man should wear a cravat.

Contemporary heroes have life easy. They pretty much only have to know how to tie a half-Windsor knot and their heroines always step in to rescue the day if they’ve forgotten or get fumble-fingered. And then there’s that natty clip-on bow tie for formal wear.

Not so the smartly turned-out Regency rake! His valet was under much more pressure to make his master presentable and indeed, even to shine above the rest and be perceived as unique. Instead of a couple of basic ways to tie that already nicely formed strip of silk that’s decorated in a rank suitable fashion, the Regency buck (or at least his man) was expected to be familiar with a far more numerous array of styles in which to tie his length of starched white linen.

The styles satirized in the 1818 The Neckclothitania include: The Oriental, a Mathematical, The Osbaldeston, Napoleon, American, The Mail Coach, Trone d’Armour, The Irish, Ball Room, Horse Collar, Hunting, Maharata, a Gordion Knot and a Barrel Knot.

With so much effort to cover a man’s throat, it was no wonder silly chits would faint at the sight of a bared throat and a few sprigs of chest hair. We take so much for granted with our modern sensibilities.

Another source of entertainment are these digital Regency Paper Dolls for your Hero and Heroine.

You can find more information on the Necklothitania with descriptions of how to tie these styles at this site and links to more information about Regency fashion and life on my Regency Resources page.

  5 Responses to “The Art of the Cravat”

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  1. I don’t have anything to say about cravats, but I do have a question about your blog title….

    Is Im*pulse*ive Hearts a PUN???? If so, I can’t believe how long it took me to get it. Doh!

  2. Yeah, the Regency… spit shine those Hessians with a special champagne polish my good man! There are some things to be said for creating your own world. HEH.

  3. I always found it fascinating how the wrapped the men up in all those clothes and had the women’s chest practically hanging out…i have theories. I’ll be quiet

  4. I think I like the IRISH best. But my bones would go soft at the sight of any man wearing a cravet…

    Don’t even get me started on the trousers.

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