A cravat is a strip of cloth originating from Croatia that is wrapped and tied around the neck, sometimes embellished with lace or other decals. It's a predecessor to the necktie, and a common accessory in 17th to 19th century men's fashion.
It's also excellent shorthand to show your audience that a character is one rich, classy bastard.
More often than not, a character who wears a cravat will be quite a proponent of the Good Old Ways - if they're not already living in Ye Goode Olde Days, that is (which they often are). Typically, they will be of Blue Blood or The Beautiful Elite. The more elaborate the cravat is, the more aristocratic (or villainous, or just pompous) the character wearing it will be.
If a character in the modern era wants to show their status, but doesn't want to look like they popped out of a time machine, they will often wear a toned down Affluent Ascot. These have the similar connotations, just with a more modern touch.
This page is specifically for the cravat that is most associated with formal period wear. The scarflike neckwear that Americans call an ascot (but what purists would call a day cravat) is actually much more casual. It was popular from The '50s to The '70s but still pops up occasionally.
- Several characters in Code Geass, mostly Britannians, wear it, including Lelouch himself in his Zero costume.
- Sasahara from Nichijou wears one, though it's revealed in the first episode that despite acting like an Upper-Class Twit he actually comes from a family of farmers.
- Austria from Axis Powers Hetalia wears a cravat as a part of his aristocratic style.
- Cravats are included in the male uniforms of Kinkan/Gold Crown Academy in Princess Tutu
- Levi from Attack on Titan wears one, perhaps to emphasize his surprisingly fussy personality.
- The cravat is part of the Shinsengumi officer uniform in Gintama.
- There's bound to be at least a couple of characters in any given Gundam series who rock a cravat.
- Reisi Munakata, the Blue King in K, has one on his uniform. None of the other members of Scepter 4 have neckwear at all.
- The cockpit hatch on the front of Big O's neck is designed to look like one, fitting with the classy Art Deco meets Steam Punk aesthetic of the series.
- In Flash Fog, Rarity outfits Fluttershy with one of these to make her look like a proper authority figure.
- Austin Powers and his "frilly lace cravat."
- In Alice in Wonderland, Humpty Dumpty wears an ornate wrap for which, due to his head also being his body, Alice is uncertain whether it is a cravat or a belt. He insists that it is a cravat, and is most concerned with its fineness, this highlighting his pomposity and also the absurdity of his being an anthropomorphic egg.
- Most versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel have Sir Percy discourse at length about a cravat and how it should properly look to emphasize his foppishness, which is a large part of his disguise.
- In Sorcery & Cecelia, Oliver is obsessed with finding new and fashionable ways to tie his cravat.
- Part of the standard attire for a nobleman in Marathat.
- In Hurricane Gold, the Wicked Cultured mastermind El Huracán is described as wearing one.
- Mystery writer and radio host Simon Brimmer in the 1970s television series Ellery Queen wore an ascot in 1940s New York City. He projects an image of himself as A Man Of Wealth And Taste in contrast to Ellery's absent-minded genius.
- In an episode of Scrubs, Elliot wears one on a "Girls night out" with Carla. It's played for laughs and to show how different their backgrounds are.
- Charles Nelson Reilly often wore one, along with a Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe.
- Matt Preston, celebrity chef on MasterChef. He even wrote a book titled Caravatalicious.
- In the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica, Commander Cain of the Pegasus wore a cravat with his Colonial Warrior Uniform. He lampshades the trope somewhat as being a "lead from the front line" warrior type, he certainly doesn't fit the "cushy" stereotype for cravat wearers.
- Nikola Tesla from Sanctuary has a fondness for cravats, to the point that Helen Magnus quips at one point the she hasn't "seen [him] so depressed since the cravat went out of fashion."
- Doctor Who:
- The Fourth Doctor starts out wearing a square silk scarf instead of a tie, but switches to these as his character develops into an Eccentric Mentor authority figure rather than just Crazy Awesome.
- The Eighth Doctor pairs a cravat with his natty Waistcoat of Style in the TV movie. It's a little more disheveled by "Night of the Doctor", to go with his more rough-and-tumble look overall.
- Before he joined D-Generation X and shortened his name to Triple H, he was Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a Connecticut blue-blood who used to wear slik shirts with a cravat.
- In WCW before that, he was Jean-Paul Leveque, the same basic character and outfit but with a French accent.
- Tyrant Valvatorez from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten wore a cravat as part of his Classical Movie Vampire wardrobe. After his fall from power, the cravat is replaced by a Cleavage Window.
- When The Shinsengumi make the switch from traditional Japanese garb to Western-style uniforms in Hakuouki, Hijikata and Sanan's new uniforms include stylish cravats.
- Virion in Fire Emblem Awakening wears one; Sully nicknames him "Ruffles" for it. As quoted above, he is rather indignant when the Avatar calls him a "grown man in a bib".
- Prince Xander in Fire Emblem Fates sports one as well, highlighting his status as the eldest of the Nohrian royal siblings. Jakob wears one as part of his Battle Butler uniform (so anyone that also changes into this job class also sports one), and Hinoka wears one that's so long it looks to be a scarf, but would seem to actually be a cravat.
- Dracula in the Castlevania series is usually depicted with a cravat, showing signs of Wicked Cultured. Alucard, his son and good mirror counterpart wears one too, but it's tied into a loose ribbon. In any case, Dracula is one of the few cases where it is used to look sinister.
- In place of the usual sash, Arno Dorian wears this in his uniform instead.
- Emperor Jillius from Klonoa: Empire of Dreams tops off his fancy robe with a frilly cravat adorned with a purple jewel.
- Some of the snobby aristocrats in Haunt The House wear these, to show their status.
- Persona 5: The main character's Guardian Entity, an Anthropomorphic Personification of Gentleman Thief trope codifier Arsène Lupin, wears a long white cravat around its neck, along with a fancy black top hat and other fineries.
- Prince Sidon in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wears one, despite not wearing any clothes due to him being a Zora (aquatic race of fish people).
- Miles Edgeworth (pictured), Manfred von Karma, and Franziska von Karma from the Ace Attorney series all wear rather fancy cravats as part of their Awesome Anachronistic Apparel.
- In Umineko: When They Cry, Rosa, Natsuhi and Lion Ushiromiya wear cravats, and they're all members of the wealthy Ushiromiya family. On the magic side, both Ronove and Dlanor A. Knox wear one as well.
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach of Girl Genius sometimes wears a snazzy little cravat - When he's actually wearing a shirt, that is.
- In early issues of Marvel's Nightstalkers, Frank Drake wore a cravat with period clothing. This was probably a Shout-Out to Simon Belmont from Castlevania. Later issues have Frank adopting a more drab and utilitarian jumpsuit that now appears to be a shout out to these guys.
- In The Wolf at Weston Court most human men and male Dwarves in polite society wear them.
- Many of the stallions in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Best Night Ever" wear cravats to the Grand Galloping Gala.
- Steven Universe has a Rare Female(ish) Example with Defense and Prosecuting Zircons. The Prosecutor's is styled like a diamond, but the Defense's is loose, which hints at the Defense coming to distrust the Diamond Authority.
- ''Gravity Falls" present us with Baron Marius von Fundshauser in the episode "Northwest Mansion Mystery." A young Austrian baron, his faily owns a cravat and epaulet factory and rocks both of them snazzily. He becomes the target of affection for Mabel, Candy and Greta though he ends up choosing Greta (they're still together after the season and it's implied they marry in the future.)