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An ascot tie, or ascot, is a narrow neckband with wide pointed wings, traditionally made of pale grey patterned silk. This wide, formal tie is usually patterned, folded over, and fastened with a stickpin or tie tack. It is usually reserved for wear with morning dress for formal daytime weddings and worn with a cutaway morning coat and striped grey trousers. This type of dress cravat is made of a thicker, woven type of silk similar to a modern tie and is traditionally either grey or black.
The ascot is descended from the earlier type of cravat widespread in the early 19th century, most notably during the age of Beau Brummell, made of heavily starched linen and elaborately tied around the neck. Later in the 1880s, amongst the upper-middle-class in Europe men began to wear a more loosely tied version for formal daytime events with daytime full dress in frock coats or with morning coats. It remains a feature of morning dress for weddings today. The Royal Ascot race meeting at the Ascot Racecourse gave the ascot its name, although such dress cravats were no longer worn with morning dress at the Royal Ascot races by the Edwardian era. The ascot was still commonly worn for business with morning dress in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries.
In British English the more casual form is referred to as a day cravat to distinguish it from the highly formal dress cravat. It is made from a thinner woven silk that is more comfortable when worn against the skin, often with ornate and colourful printed patterns.
For the Dress Cravat:
For the Day Cravat
The day cravat was worn in the early decades of the 20th century as casual wear, often as sports wear such as when playing golf. The Duke of Windsor often wore one in this manner. It was regarded as an elegant form of casual dress. Ascots of the casual day cravat variety were popular fashion in the United Kingdom for teenaged and young adult males from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, coinciding with the mod and psychedelic movements. Actor Jeremy Piven is known to wear an ascot tie, an unusual choice in his time.
Students at the United States Army Officer Candidate School wear ascots as part of their uniform, black for basic officer candidates and white for senior officer candidates. Pararescue trainees upon completion of extended training day are given a blue ascot.
In the Dutch Army, it is a part of the uniform, for barrack use, the ascot is often in the weapon colors, and with a logo, and when in combat uniform, a DPM or desert version is used.
However, when Class 5-03 graduate in July 2003, they became the last class to wear the distinctive helmets. From now on OCS students will wear a black ascot as a basic officer candidate, a blue ascot as an intermediate officer candidate and a white ascot as a senior officer candidate. The time-honored sight of OCS formations marching to class or the mess hall, accompanied by drums and the guidon, will be nearly indistinguishable from other troop formations on post. The only distinction will be the black or white ascots they wear bearing the entwined letters 'OCS.'
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