In the spirit of “just clothes,” Ivy Style is pleased to present this ode to one of menswear’s most precariously pretentious items. It was written exclusively for us by James Kraus, previous contributor and founder of Auto Universum.
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Five years ago I decided to take a long-considered plunge into the world of ascots (technically day cravats, but I will use the more common term.) I bought a navy one with small white dots to wear with my light blue 3-button-collar OCBDs. After receiving multiple compliments from the ladies, I purchased three more; two cotton and one silk. I always liked the look but never attempted it in my earlier days, but I can wear it in confidence now that I am of a certain age.
Ascots have been a staple of artists, musicians and Hollywood costume designers for decades, particularly for adding a bit of rakishness to swinging bachelors, artistic types, millionaires and the occasional ne’er-do-well.
Here’s a look back at ascot sightings from 1955 through 1967. First up, Cary Grant wearing an ascot paired with a lightweight grey flannel sport coat as John Robie in To Catch a Thief, 1955:
Gary Cooper as Frank Flannagan in Love in the Afternoon, 1957.
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in Godfather II pairing an ascot with a tan and cream plain weave glen check suit in a scene portraying Havana, Cuba in 1958:
Esquire from 1964:
Many men’s first sighting of an ascot: Jim Backus as millionaire Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island, 1964. Backus nearly always appeared with an ascot tucked inside an OCBD:
Al Martino on the cover of his 1965 Top-50 album We Could:
Jazzman Gary McFarland documentary film poster featuring a photograph of the artist taken in 1965:
Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, from the TV series:
A great one from the ’70s: Edward Fox as a hired assassin in Day of the Jackal, set in 1963. He is seen in a variety of ascots throughout the film.
And finally myself with various companions. — JAMES KRAUS