Re: The Origin of The Cravat (Was: Are Ties Phallocarps?)

Joel and Lynn GAzis-SAx (
Fri, 17 Nov 95 06:20:11 GMT

In article <48gd5r$>, (Benjamin H. Diebold) wrote:
>Lennart Regebro ( wrote:
>: No, it's just because the western culture is taking over the world. You
>: see ties used with Arabic clothes, for example. The *tie* isn't taking
>: the *suit* is.
>Ah! Here is the analogue in cultural anthropology to the Effect
>hypothesis. I agree; the tie isn't being directly selected -- the fashion
>of the suit in identification with western modes of dress is. The tie is
>sort of incidentally riding along.

And I still don't think the tie was a phallocarp in the first place!

These comments of Ben and Lennart, however, lead to a much more interesting
line of anthropological enquiry. The tie, as we discovered, originated in
Croatia (Hrvatska). The Croat or Hrvat Scarf became known as the cravat.
Over a couple of centuries, this once possibly useful bit of men's furnishing
became a vestigial, though required part of the well-dressed man's wardrobe.
In this century, we've seen ties broaden and we've seen them narrow. Can we
tie this to anything particularly meaningful? (Was it Kroeber who studied
changes in fashion at one point?)

Here are the patterns that I see of potential interest in discussing the

1.) What is the role of fashion? What does the adoption of the cravat as the
leading implement for closing up the collar in men's formal wear signify? (A
nasty-sounding buzzer and the judge cries "WRONG!" as someone suggests it is a

2.) What is the spread of the necktie linked to? (I note that it "caught on"
in a particular imperialist culture a few centuries back and spread from

3.) Can we make any predictions about its future? Do we, for example, see
the beginnings of any alternate formalwear trends for men? (Which leads to a
whole slew of questions about the predictive abilities of social science.)


Joel GAzis-SAx

Joel and Lynn GAzis-SAx Main email: Visit Alsirat, the horror magazine
The Marx Brothers@Darkweb (Joel) Whoopi@Darkweb (Lynn)