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Ascot Ties Redefined: How to Fit an Ascot into a Modern Wardrobe

The art of modernizing men’s fashion through the timeless charm and versatility of ascot ties

Ascot Tie
Photography © Hoang Josh for MMSCENE

The world of men’s fashion never stays still. What is perceived as old-fashioned and formal one year, can make a comeback as the most elegant of accessories the next – and the ascot tie is a prime example. Once firmly associated with aristocratic elegance and formal gatherings, the ascot tie has made a spectacular comeback, transcending its traditional boundaries to become a staple of the contemporary man’s wardrobe. Read on to find out more about the resurgence of ascot ties and discover the best way to integrate them into your modern wardrobe.

The ascot renaissance

The ascot tie was a staple in the wardrobes of refined 19th-century gentlemen. Worn primarily at formal occasions, this item of neckwear was known for exuding an air of sophistication and refinement. It owes its name to the Royal Ascot horse race, where it became a highly popular accessory among the fashionable elite. At the time, it was seen as a somewhat avant-garde alternative to the cravat.

While originally worn by men from the upper classes, by the start of the 20th century, the ascot tie had become a necessary component of every man’s wardrobe – whatever their social background and status. Through the 20th century, the ascot tie’s popularity has seen its fair share of ebbs and flows with the changing tides of fashion, but today the ascot tie has once again become boldly established as a symbol of sartorial elegance and sophistication. Designers and fashion icons are rediscovering the versatility and unique charm that the ascot tie brings to the world of contemporary men’s fashion.

Ascot Tie
Photography © Hoang Josh for MMSCENE

What’s the best way to wear an ascot tie?

While part of the ascot’s charm is the fact that you can style it in whatever way best suits your outfit and personality, there are some general tips to follow to make the most out of your tie. For formal occasions, it is advisable to pair your ascot with a well-tailored suit or tuxedo, enabling the silk fabric to drape elegantly over the collar of your shirt. To tie it, imagine you are tying a standard tie, crossing the longer end over the shorter one. Create a loop and pull the other end through. Then, experiment with different shapes and sizes, but keep the bulk of the tie low down – it shouldn’t reach up to your chin!

For a more casual look, pair your ascot tie with a smart blazer and tailored trousers. In a less formal setting, it’s perfectly acceptable (and stylish) to leave the top button of your shirt undone, revealing a little more of your tie’s fabric. This creates a laid-back yet distinctive and sophisticated look. You can also explore different styles and fashion statements by experimenting with fabric colours and patterns.

Which ascot tie is right for me?

Now that you’ve mastered the art of wearing the ascot tie, consider the type of ascot that best aligns with your personality, the necessary level of formality, and the impression you aim to convey. Let’s explore some of the key looks that the ascot enables you to achieve:

  • The Classic

For a timeless look that works equally well with formal and casual attire, consider opting for paisley, or a more subtly patterned variety. These make for ideal choices when you want to add a touch of old-world charm to your ensemble. One tip to bear in mind – tradition has it that your ascot should never match the material of your pocket square!

  • The Daring

If you want to make a bold statement, choose a vibrant silk fabric. Consider contrasting geometric patterns, eye-catching colours or striking combinations such as red paired with pink. This is the perfect look when you want to appear confident and really showcase your individuality.

  • The Chic

When you want to lift your casual outfit but not fully embrace formality, look at ascot ties in a solid colour or perhaps with a discreet pattern like the polka dot. Loosely tucked into your shirt, you’ll instantly elevate your overall look, making for a relaxed yet polished appearance perfect for a sophisticated brunch or early evening drinks.

  • The Formal

At a black-tie event, it is perfectly acceptable to wear an ascot tie in place of the traditional bow tie, but it is advisable to stick to more traditionally formal colours, such as black, grey, red or green. If you decide to opt for a pattern, prioritise traditional, such as tartan or a small polka dot in muted tones. Unless you’re among close company only, it’s best to leave the bold geometric patterns and statement pieces for a different kind of event.  

  • The Neutral

Neutral shades of cream, beige, navy or grey are perfect when you need to transition from a casual daytime event, to a more formal evening occasion. The beauty of these colours is that they match any outfit, ensuring you’re impeccably dressed at all times.

Ascot Tie
Photography © Hoang Josh for MMSCENE

How to incorporate the ascot tie into casual attire

The beauty of the ascot tie lies in the innumerable statements it allows you to make, simply by varying the pattern and colour, as well as by experimenting with knot styles. While many people associate it with a more formal look, it’s equally possible to incorporate an ascot tie into your casual attire.

A velvet blazer paired with tailored trousers and a coordinating ascot tie is an outfit that seamlessly blends formal and casual elements. For an even more casual look, consider adding an ascot tie to your denim outfits, focusing on solid colours to accent a denim shirt, or even a pair of well-fitting jeans.

Don’t worry if the weather is chilly and you need to add a sweater to your outfit. In the colder months, layering is your friend. Opt for a heavy, textured ascot such as a thicker silk jacquard. Not only will it add warmth and function like a scarf on a cold day, but it will also add a vintage touch to your winter wardrobe.  

Over the course of its history spanning two centuries, the ascot tie has evolved to become a symbol of model elegance and individuality. Whatever the level of formality your occasion demands, from a gala or wedding to a sophisticated brunch, there’s a way to incorporate an ascot tie into your outfit. Once you’ve learned how to perfect pairing patterns, materials and colours, you’ll be able to add a stylish statement to your modern wardrobe. Embrace the resurgence of this classic accessory and express your individuality in a way that transcends both time and trends. Happy tying!

Images from Matthew Vande Vegte by Hoang Josh – see full story here

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