I’ve decided to start clearing out, or expanding on, the draft posts that never seem to want to come into being.
First off, for some time now I’ve been wondering about John Thornton’s cravat. This idea has been in my draft box so long, I need to see it gone 😉
Although many will point to the scene of Thornton untying his cravat as the most memorable in North & South, I though it would be worth investigating what was the big deal with a piece of cloth tied around a gentleman’s neck.
Apparently ties are phallic symbols.
For Thornton’s sake I really hope not, judging by the little bow tie…
For men, the Victorian period was marked by fashions that were formal, elegant, and somber.
This included both their work and leisure hours.
Clean, basic lines, dark colors and an attention to detail were integral elements of the Victorian man’s style of dress.
As cravats entered the Regency period, it became fashionable to wear two- a white one wrapped around the neck like a stock and a colored cravat wrapped on top and tied in a decorative manner (ala Mr Darcy).
The white cravat was replaced with a high stand linen collar in Victorian times.
I remember learning during my History of Costume lectures that the rough tips of the collar would scratch the poor man’s cheek, and they’d be frightfully uncomfortable to wear.
Poor Mr Thornton!
By the middle of the century, cravats could be tied in small, narrow bows, which later evolved into bow ties.
The cravat was made of black or colored fabric.
The white or ecru cravat was always worn for formal occasions (this is why ‘white tie’ is dressier than ‘black tie’).
If you can somehow convince your SO to wear a Victorian cravat, here’s a guide on how to tie a floppy bow tie.
Also, be prepared that he may start questioning your relationship after he realises you’re trying to make him look like your favorite fictional character.
Me- I understand.
Your SO- probably not so much…