The Ascot tie was developed a couple of hundred years ago to help meet emergencies—it served the horse-borne gentry not only as a neckpiece but as a bandage if an accident occurred in the field. The huntsman's stock still reflects this first-aid philosophy. Skiers and sailors use ascots to seal the space between sweater and neck. Nowadays the ascot also serves to bridge the social gap between the overdressed look of tie and shirt and the too naked look of the unadorned sports shirt.
Because the ascot does have this rather limited use, it often is forgotten by the harassed weekender. Accordingly, Actor Richard Ney asked Robert Clark of his London shirtmakers, Turnbull & Asser Ltd., to make him a shirt with an ascot permanently built in. Here Mr. Ney wears the result—called the Clarney, after its two innovators. It has been brought to America and launched with great success by Brooks Brothers (at $14.50 or $17.50, depending on fabric). Its worldwide sale has reached 100,000. Clarney-shirted men have been beating the necktie-for-dinner requirements at northern ski resorts and southern sun spots all winter.