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The cravat, whose name comes from the Slavic word for Croatia, has an interesting history. In 1635, a group of Croatian mercenaries came to Paris to fight for France in the Thirty Years War. As part of their uniforms, the Croatians wore scarves, made from wool, cotton or even (for officers) of silk. By about 1650, the Croatian scarf or cravate caught on in the French army (much more practical than a lace collar), then became popular in the Sun King’s court. Supposedly, Charles II brought this fashion with him to England in 1660, but as we can see, it preceded the Restoration by at least a few months and maybe more, since Pepys does not treat it as a total novelty here. One imagines it had become the fashion in the British navy, at least.
"The large lace collar, which was worn during the first half of the 17th century, became smaller at the back and the sides after the 1650s, because the hair was worn much longer. In the end only the strips of fabric remained, which were folded over at the front. These strips, or front edges of the former large collar, became longer, until the collar had developed into the cravat. These cravats, which occurred in the 1670s side by side with the collars, were knotted in the front and held in place by silk ribbon bows in the 1680s, together with the silk ribbon bows at the shoulder the last remains of the former, overflowing ribbon decoration. These last ribbons were to vanish as well during the last decade of the 17th century. The so-called Steinkerke or Steenkerk appeared, once again after having been seen first amongst the military, around 1692, and this cravat fashion's characteristics are the two long ends of the fine cravat being simply gathered in the front and very elegantly and casually fastened by slipping the two ends through one buttonhole." http://www.kipar.org/baroque-costumes/costumes_...
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.