11 January 2015

Fashion Unconscious
Is the good old neck tie* facing extinction
by Steve Bargeton in the Scots Magazine

I blame my father.  His idea of casual dress was sports jacket, slacks (I think that's what they used to call them) and a shirt and tie.  Perhaps that is where my addiction to wearing a tie came from.

There is a debate in the minds of many men whether the time has come to cast off that strip of brightly coloured material around their necks.

After all, what is it for, this throwback to the Victorian era when good taste dictated that buttons should not be seen in polite society?
Most items of clothing, I get. Shoes, socks, pants, shirts, trousers, yes: but ties? Why?

Richard Branson once answered that question thus: 'I have always hated ties, maybe because I've never seen the point.  They are uncomfortable and serve no useful purpose.'

Would you prefer Paxo with or without a tie?
And Jeremy Paxman caused quite a stir when he untied.  'Is it time for Newsnight men to stop wearing ties?' he asked.  It has always been an utterly useless part of the male wardrobe.  But now, it seems to me, the only people who wear the things daily are male politicians, the male reporters who interview them - and dodgy estate agents.'
By contrast Tim Davie was taken to task for not wearing one for a n interview as acting director-general of the BBC.  One licence fee payer accused him of looking 'very silly' without one and advised, 'Buy and wear a tie.  You will not be taken seriously without a tie'.

There is no doubt the tide is turning against the tie.  When Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin appeared with the full G8 crew 'open-necked', the world knew for sure that you don't need a piece of cloth hanging around your throat to be taken seriously.

Even Chinese President Xi Jinping, not exactly the coolest kid on the block, has been going about sans tie.

So why then do I feel so, well, naked at the mere thought of entering the fray of daily business without the aid of a strip of coloured cloth?
A confidence thing, perhaps?  I'm told I am not lacking in that department and don't feel myself either superior or inferior to tieless peers.  
Having pondered the great 'to tie or not to tie' conundrum I have arrived at a surprising conclusion.  The truth is - I quite like them.  Let's face it, they are the only item of clothing with which those of us reluctantly drummed into the ranks of the business suit brigade can express ourselves.

My female colleagues sport an array of styles, design and colours while we poor blokes are restricted by convention to navy, black and grey.
There are exceptions of course - recently I met a chap wearing a pinkish suit, cowboy boots ... and no tie.
A male colleague of mine wears the most fabulously outrageous shirt and tie combos that would have made the psychedelic 60s look mono in comparison.
I admire the courage, if not the good taste.
me? I guess I'll stick with my father.

See also:

* When did 'tie' become 'neck tie'? also 'bath' become 'bath tub' and 'sheets' become 'bed sheets'. I could go on and on: what about 'first up' instead of 'first' or 'firstly'?  Have we imported these from the US or even Australia - and whilst on the subject of Australia, what about the Australian inflection, where sentenced are always questions?  Frequently I find someone has said a statement, then waits for me to reply when I didn't even realise it was a question!.  See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28708526

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