Croatian Cravats

Croatia’s Cravat Day is October 18

Croatian Cravats

Croatian Cravats

According to the Wall Street Journal the history of the bow tie goes to back to the 17th century Prussian Wars during which Croatian mercenaries tied their shirt collars shut using scarves. Upper class Frenchmen adopted this fashion in the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, the etymological origins of “Cravat” is tied to “Croat,” which is used in reference to Croatians. According to Wikipedia, “It is uncertain whether the cravat then evolved into the bow tie and necktie, or whether the cravat gave rise to the bow tie, which in turn led to the necktie.” Either way, thank goodness for the Croatians!

Some notable cravat wearers are Entourage‘s Jeremy Piven, Sherlock‘s Martin Freeman, Pirates of the Caribbean‘s Orlando Bloom, Roger Moore (who with James Bond confidence once donned one shirtless — see below), and Cary Grant’s debonair John Robie from Alfred Hitchcock’s superb 1950s film To Catch a Thief based off of David Dodge’s novel of the same name.

It is important to notice what these celebrities’ — particularly Piven, Freeman, and Bloom, the most contemporary ones — sartorial tastes. During August 2014 both the BBC and British fashion journalist Henry Conway in a Comment is Free column at The Guardian reported that the cravat is showing signs of making a comeback.

In similar fashion to National Bow Tie Day, Cravat Day is October 18 in Croatia. The cravat is considered part of Croatia’s heritage and rightfully enjoys recognition through a holiday, which unofficially started in 2003. That would change; according to The Atlantic‘s Heather Horn, “In 2008, the Croatian Parliament unanimously declared October 18 the ‘Day of the Cravat.'”

Horn also explains that the day aims to boost national pride and to help more people understand Croatia’s major role in fashion history. Although it was Croatians who started the trend of wrapping something ornamental around a man’s neck, it was the French who helped popularize it and the English who helped spread it around the world. If it wasn’t for Croatians, then the French and English wouldn’t have anything to cement into mens style.

It goes without saying that the world is a lot better place due to Croatia’s contribution to modern fashion. Wearing an ascot (which is what I typically think of when I think of cravats) that day certainly is one way to celebrate, but sporting a bow tie should also show some respect. Beyond that, you could hug a Croatian if you know one.