The cravat is a neckband, the forerunner of the modern tailored necktie and bow tie, originating from a style worn by members of the seventeenth-century military unit known as the Croats.
The art of tying the cravat: demonstrated in sixteen lessons, the Romans were the first to wear knotted kerchiefs around their neck, but the modern version of the cravat (French: la cravate) originated in the 1660s. During the reign of Louis XIV of France, Croatian mercenaries were enlisted in 1660 wearing a necktie called a tour de cou. The traditional Croat military kit aroused Parisian curiosity about the unusual, picturesque scarves distinctively knotted at the Croats' necks:
"In 1660 a regiment of Croats arrived in France — a part of their singular costume excited the greatest admiration, and was immediately and generally imitated; this was a tour de cou , made (for the private soldiers) of common lace, and of muslin or silk for the officers ; the ends were arranged en rosette , or ornamented with a button or tuft, which hung gracefully on the breast. This new arrangement, which confined the throat but very slightly, was at first termed a Croat, since corrupted to Cravat. The Cravats of the officers and people of rank were extremely fine, and the ends were embroidered or trimmed with broad lace ; those for the lower classes were subsequently made of cloth or cotton, or at the best of black taffeta, plaited: which was tied round the neck by two small strings."