The ascot: proceed with caution

Posted on August 10, 2012 by Roger Stone

There is no article of men’s clothing that can make a man look more like a douche than the ascot. There are, however, a few men who can pull it off. Context is everything.

A stunning new picture book on Cary Grant has a picture of a jaunty Grant strolling down the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes in the 1950s in a three-button blazer, gray full-cut slacks and highly polished penny loafers. A white handkerchief peaks from his jacket chest pocket. But what makes him look incredible is his perfectly tied polka dot ascot.

Let’s face it, most jerks trying to affect an ascot look like Thurston Howell III. An ascot is never a substitute for a well-tied four-in-hand tie or a slightly disheveled bow tie. The ascot connotes informality. It is something one might wear at a cocktail party in one’s own flat but is not something you wear out in public. There is a distinction between the “ascot tie,” which is worn looped around the neck and inside the shirt, and the “ascot scarf,” which is now favored by Euro-trash everywhere and is worn outside the shirt with a blazer or sport coat.

The ascot worked for gents like Leslie Howard, Ronald Coleman and Gary Cooper. It probably would not work for, say, Jesse Ventura. Wear it wrong and you look like George of the Jungle. Wear it right and you can look cool, artsy and debonair.



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