Tieless in Gala

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Neckwear. That’s what this is all about.

A short report tucked away in the Scotsmoan last Saturday said that “around three quarters of workers believe that the tie will become extinct in British offices within 50 years, while more than half think it will disappear within the next two decades,” according to a poll by DealJungle.com

Well, in 50 years time I’ll be long gone – so I don’t really care whether people will be wearing ties to the office or not. They probably said the same about codpieces, ruffs, perruques, bowler hats …

What stresses me however is that suddenly (well over the course of the last few years) it’s become fashionable for some not to wear a tie to work with a suit. I have no idea who started this. I recollect seeing football pundits (by mistake – I don’t watch football often) and rugby commentators on the TV, suited but tieless.

Then various professions decided to follow suit and ditch the tie, and not just on Fridays. Every day became a dress-down day. Still wear the silk designer pin-stripe, the double cuffed shirt and the chunky cufflinks, the Hugo Boss socks – but no tie. What’s all that about, or did you leave it in the Audi by mistake?

When I go to meet a client who I know will be wearing tie, and that’s almost all of them, then I wear a tie.

Creatives are the exception. They don’t wear ties. I’m a creative of sorts but I still wear a tie – but then I have worn one all my institutional life. From the dark blue of Beaconfield pre-prep to the beery corridors of Whitbread, where ties of all shapes, colours, and jacquard polyester weaves were legion, literally – a tie for every brand (I should know, I had to put the catalogue together).

Linen is different by the way – for a different climate. No neckwear is permissible.

In the eighties, 30 years before the Doctor Who ‘look’, I was wearing a bow tie and tweed jacket. I still have a drawer full of self-tie bow ties (in all manner of colours, stripes and spots), but which I am instructed to keep there on pain of a good garotting. Pre-tied bow ties are, well … let’s just not go there.

Bow ties have advantages. They give the impression you might be an architect, a gynaecologist … or a clown. They don’t dangle in your soup. It’s almost impossible to drop a baked bean from your in-flight breakfast down your bow tie, as you can so easily do with less outré neckwear. And like Lady M, the damned spot never comes out.

Ties are for working days and formal social occasions. Ties make a statement about the wearer, far more so than a ‘v’ of pale flesh, some straggly chest hairs and a gold chain ever will.

Whatever earth-shattering findings will DealJungle.com come up with next. Can’t wait.