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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Death of the tie

tied.jpg Does anyone wear a tie anymore? I guess if you wear a suit, you probably wear a tie. But, who wears a suit? Probably lawyers going to court. But, probably not lawyers who sit in the office all day. Maybe some bankers wear ties. Maybe some restaurants still require men to wear ties. But, for everyday work attire, the tie is going away.

According to an AP article, "By the 1960s, 600 companies made ties in the U.S., mostly smaller, regional manufacturers. They banded together in a professional association that lobbied on their behalf." I wonder what kinds of legislation these tie lobbyists tried to force.

Many years ago I found myself sitting in the back of a courtroom in the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. I watched as a young lawyer stood to have his motion heard. I knew he was going to be kicked out of court before the judge even said anything. He was wearing dress slacks and a crew neck sweater over an open collar Oxford shirt. The judge wouldn't hear any of his excuses, and ordered him out of court and never to return without a proper tie.

He must have found another lawyer out in the hall who was willing to give up his tie -- for a while, anyway -- because he returned a few minutes later wearing a tie. Sort of. Everyone in the courtroom was sitting on the edges of their seats in anticipation of whatever punishment the judge was going to dish out to this young lawyer who had the audacity to wear a tie on the outside of his crew neck sweater!

The judge rose from his bench, leaned over, red-faced, gavel in hand (I thought he might throw the hammer at the young lawyer), and bellowed that the young lawyer was a disgrace to himself, his firm, and the court. He ordered the lawyer to stop making a mockery of justice and to immediately remove his sweater. I was giddy with the hope that the lawyer's shirt was not really a shirt, but actually a Dickie. Much to my chagrin, it was a regular shirt.

The tie lobbyist group has disbanded. "Today there are only about two dozen companies making ties in the U.S., and the business is dominated by huge firms. Many of the ties American men wear are made overseas." (AP: The Necktie: Knot What It Used To Be, Hangs On.)

Except for a few quiet corners of business and society, the tie is fading into the history of men's fashion. It's the times in which we live. Among other things, casual Fridays are being blamed. So, in case I don't see you later, farewell, tie. I doubt you'll be missed.

Posted by Marie at July 1, 2008 11:58 PM


I for one will not miss the damn things. I used to have to wear one every day, and while you do adjust to any injustice, eventually, my neck always felt constricted.

Posted by: Seth Anderson Author Profile Page at July 2, 2008 2:50 AM

and good riddance. no purpose to them but to make you uncomfortable and, when they're required, to remind you that your boss or whoever is in control of you and can judge you based on a piece of fabric.

Posted by: jason at July 2, 2008 5:51 AM

I've always thought ties were a bizarre male affectation, one whose only purpose seems to be hiding your shirt buttons. I work in a bank, and am one of the few guys who never wears a tie. Some guys wear tires around here, even if they're going to be in the office all day and not meeting any clients. Which makes absolutely no sense.

Posted by: Pete at July 2, 2008 9:49 AM

I don't really like ties but I'll wear them grudgingly. What I really hate to wear are sportcoats, blazers, and suit coats. They are always so hot. It was probably 95 degrees when the guy in your photo had his picture taken. And he's wearing a coat! What's the point? No wonder he looks grumpy.

I'm not wild about hats either.

Posted by: Kem White Author Profile Page at July 2, 2008 10:21 AM

I haven't had to wear a tie for work in over 16 years. I have one suit that I wear to weddings funerals and the more formal office Christmas party. I wear a tie with the suit but otherwise I don't miss ties at all.

Posted by: Dave at July 2, 2008 10:23 AM

I have two suits and two ties for weddings or funerals. I don't anticipate ever buying another suit or tie and if these get moth-eaten between now and the next such event, I'll go casual Friday.

Posted by: Rob at July 2, 2008 11:54 AM

By the way, love the ICO.

Posted by: Rob at July 2, 2008 12:52 PM

Wow, I'm in the minority here. Granted I don't have to wear a tie myself, but I loooooove the look of a nicely tailored suit with some kind of sharp tie (NO Disney, Loony Toons, sports themes etc)

Posted by: nancy at July 2, 2008 1:34 PM

I have always hated wearing ties. Always. They constrict {my} breathing, most are mo-fugly, and they're a major liability if you ever find yourself in an impromptu well-dressed fight or other altercation. Don't ask; just trust me on that. Luckily, I don't have a job that requires the wearing of a tie. Honestly, if I were in a job hunt, the requirement of neckwear would likely be a deal-breaker.

I'm 40- I've earned the right to be picky for no reason.

That being said, I do rather enjoy getting dressed up, since it's only on very rare occasions that I have to wear a tie- anymore, that's usually only for Mrs. Johann's company's management appreciation "business meeting" weekends in St. Louis. I figure I can be uncomfortable for a few hours one night a year, especially since Mrs. Johann really likes how I look all decked out.

Posted by: Johann at July 4, 2008 9:01 AM