What kind of tie is Hilbert wearing?
October 11, 2013 3:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering dressing as the mathematician David Hilbert for Halloween. I'm using as reference that one famous photo of him in the Panama hat that shows up every time someone talks about him. But I can't really tell what kind of tie/cravat/neckerchief he's wearing. What is that, and where can I find one?
posted by ErWenn to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
Looks like an ascot to me.
posted by faineant at 4:01 PM on October 11, 2013

The pattern on his ascot looks like it could be a Hilbert Curve if you looked up close. Almost!
posted by moonmilk at 4:13 PM on October 11, 2013

Response by poster: It doesn't really seem to match any other picture of an ascot tie I've seen. Is it folded in an unusual way?
posted by ErWenn at 7:51 PM on October 11, 2013

Best answer: It looks like the ascot on this polish web page
posted by bluefrog at 7:57 PM on October 11, 2013

Best answer: Here is another one that looks very much like the one in the picture. I guess you have to look for the more "formal" ascot ties.
posted by bluefrog at 8:03 PM on October 11, 2013

Response by poster: That looks about right to me, bluefrog! I wonder if the tie itself is different, or if it's just a different way of tying it...
posted by ErWenn at 11:57 AM on October 12, 2013

Technically, it's a cravat, not an ascot. Ascots are worn inside an open collar, like so. Cravats are worn around the buttoned collar, like a modern tie. All ascots are cravats, but not all cravats are ascots. Confusingly, the words "tie" and "cravat" can to an extent be used interchangeably, and some people call modern ties cravats. Bluefrog's right that it looks formal--small black & white patterns like that are traditionally used on ties/cravats intended for formal wear.
posted by pullayup at 6:11 PM on October 12, 2013

Response by poster: I still have the same issue that almost every picture of a "cravat" or an "ascot" doesn't look anything this. Is it a special knot or something?
posted by ErWenn at 7:53 PM on October 12, 2013

Best answer: Men's neckwear in the 19th century was much more diverse than in the 20th, and the profusion of knots was enough to be a target of satire. In that sense, it probably was a special knot in that there wasn't a small, standard selection (Windsor, half-Windsor, four-in-hand, maybe Shelby-Pratt if you're a tie knot geek) to chose from, or even a consistently standard style of tie, or of shirt collar--that came with the mass production of ready-to-wear shirts and ties (more info here). This thread may be useful; his knot looks like a carefully pressed version of the one illustrated in the first comment (fwiw they got the cravat/ascot thing wrong, too, or maybe the meaning has shifted in the past hundred years).
posted by pullayup at 2:08 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

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