We can distinguish between six types of men’s neckwear during the Seventeenth century.
A symbol of an aristocrat in society. The ruff held heads high showing the men’s importance and that they did not need to work hard.
The ruff worn by men were stiff and high, and they were closed, forming a complete circle.
The underpropper is a wire frame that supported first the ruff and later the wisk.
THE LIMP OR UNSTARCHED RUFF
The Wisk, also called a Golilla, a large collar, often embroidered and edged with lace.
The Falling Band
The falling band, which looked very much like an ordinary collar.
The Cravat and the Steinkirk
The cravat, a linen strip usually ending in lace, was held in place by a ribbon bow at the neck. It became narrower and longer towards the end of the 17th century and was made of muslin instead of lace. The cravat is important , as it was the precursor of the tie worn by men today.
The Steinkirk (right) was a variation of the cravat. French soldiers had no time to arrange their cravats properly, instead they quickly twisted them through a buttonhole, out of the way.