The CRAVAT is a neckband, the forerunner of the modern TAILORED NECKTIE and BOW TIE, originating from 17th century CROATIA.
From the end of the 16th Century, the term BAND applied to any long-strip neck cloth that was not a RUFF. RUFF = a starched, pleated white linen strip, originated earlier in the 16th Century as a NECK-CLOTH, as a BIB or as a NAPKIN. It is possible that CRAVATS were initially worn to hide shirts which were not immaculately clean. Like most men’s fashions, it was of MILITARY ORIGIN. The traditional CROAT military kit aroused Parisian curiosity about the UNUSUAL, PICTURESQUE scarves, distinctively knotted at the Croat’s necks. The cloths that were used ranged from the COARSE CLOTH of ENLISTED SOLDIERS to the FINE LINENS and SILKS of the OFFICERS.
The sartorial word CRAVAT is derived from the French ‘cravate’, a corrupt French pronunciation of CROATE. The French switched from old-fashioned STARCHED LINEN RUFFS to the new LOOSE LINEN and MUSLIN CRAVATES. The military-styles often had BROAD, LACED EDGES, while a gentleman’s cravat could be of FINE LACE. During the wars of Louis XIV of 1689 – 1697, except for court, the FLOWING CRAVAT was replaced with the more current and equally military STEINKIRK in 1692. It was popular with men and women until the 1720s.
The maccoronis ( the macaroni or formerly MACCARONI in mid 18th Century, England, was a fashionable fellow who dressed or even spoke in an outlandishly affected manner. He was the precursor to the DANDY ) reintroduced the flowing cravat in the 1770s, and the manner of a man’s KNOTTING became indicative of his TASTE and STYLE, to the extent that after the Battle of Waterloo (1815), the cravat itself was referred to as a TIE.
Croatia celebrates CRAVAT DAY on the 18th of October.