Would it be considered jejune to wear a cravat in the summer? I’ve been scouring eBay for one without success. And the big question: cravat or ascot, which is the superior neck garment?

Mr Dapper: Jejune? Precisely the adjective for your absurd questions, sir. “Cravat” simply refers to a piece of fabric worn around the neck. It is further defined by width, knot and how it is worn. Hence, cravat can be an umbrella term for men’s neckwear, including the tie, bow tie and ascot (a thin neckband with broad ends or wings). A dress ascot (by Brooks Brothers, HK$1,200 and up; brooksbrothers.com) is reserved for morning dress at formal daytime occasions, such as weddings. It’s named after the Royal Ascot horse race, in England, but lost favour before the first world war. The more casual day ascot, which you seek, was popular well into the 1970s. Usually thinner and simply knotted, it could be either tucked into or worn outside the shirt. Note the past tense. I cannot condone their use today, unless impersonating Hugh Hefner, Oscar Wilde, or Rhett Butler. A classic tie will make a perfectly good impression.

Mr Dandy: Whatever. In the 21st century, a lot of guys never wear ties, but still accessorise fabulously. We’ve rocked scarves and pocket squares for seasons, so a natty silk cravat is the logical next step! Kurt from Glee and Jeremy Piven wear them well. As you’ve already found, nice cravats aren’t easy to come by. Cravat Club (www.cravat-club.com) has an amazing range in printed silk (HK$1,000 and up), with a “How to Tie a Cravat” section, too.

 

I’ve noticed my teeth are looking less than white, but I’m not ready for expensive machines at the dentist’s that’ll turn me into a cheesy reality TV lookalike. Are any of the regular store products worth trying?

Mr Dandy: Oh, yes! Back in the day, we messed with gels and paint-ons, but Crest changed the game for me. Its 3D White Strips Professional Effects (HK$289.90 for 20 packs; Watsons) are an awesome way to brighten up. Actually, I suppose whitening toothpaste came first. My go-to is Swiss Smile Whitening Toothpaste (HK$370 for a set with a toothbrush; Joyce Grooming). For an extra boost, try Swiss Smile Pearl Shine Whitening & Repair Dental Conditioner (HK$620), an after-brushing extra step that whitens with mother-ofpearl foam particles. And if you change your mind about home machines, check out Go Smile (www.gosmile.com) or Glo Science (www.gloscience.com).

Mr Dapper: Oh, the lawsuits. Neither of us is a dentist. I strongly encourage you to visit a professional before toying with chemicals and electrical devices. I have read, for example, that excessive use of either can degrade enamel, injure gums, or make teeth appear grey or blue. No, thank you. I prefer honest toothpastes with ingredients I comprehend, such as Simply White by Tom’s of Maine (HK$58; Log-On, City’super, Times Square, Causeway Bay), which uses naturally sourced silicas to whiten sans bleaching chemicals. I also keep up with my regular dentist appointments.

Got a question for Dandy & Dapper? E-mail them at: dandyndapper@scmp.com