When one chooses a cravat to wear that day, one also has to pay attention to the material. There are certain rules that should be followed to make the choice easier. For example, because it is not possible to be hot and cold at the same time, there is no reason why one should wear a woollen cravat with a flax suit and vice versa. One should pay attention to the texture and weave harmony. Try not to wear a satin or silk cravat with a rough wool or cotton suit. A good rule is that a cravat should determine the weave of the suit or the shirt. A rep cravat goes well with a twill suit because they are finely woven. A woollen cravat goes with a tweed jacket. Finally, cravat material should be appropriate to the occasion. A rich silk weave is more suitable for an evening attire than for a day in an office.
Matching a cravat and a suit or a shirt can be tricky. The first rule is that elements should not be too similar or too different so as not to exclude one another. Combining stripes with stripes can be successful as long as there is a difference in the stripes’ width. Motifs can clash when it comes to shape or size. Matching thick asymmetric stripes can present a problem, but there is no rule on matching polka-dot and striped pattern, as long as their size goes well together. The safest way is to test whether the cravat’s dots fit between the shirt’s stripes. The more similar the size of motifs is between a shirt, a cravat and a jacket, the better the impression.
Motifs can also clash because of their theme. For example, a cravat with a hunting motif clashes with a classic striped suit; a classic modern polka-dot silk cravat looks ridiculous with a tweed suit.
From A small cravat book by Francoise Chaille. Flammarion (1999)