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To understand this decline, we must first know a bit about the history of ties and why men decided to wear them in the first place. A necktie as such originated in the 17th century in France, where the French king Louis XIII got inspired by the look of Croatian mercenaries in Paris. They were neatly tying their jackets around their necks as a way of keeping them safely stored on their back while they weren’t wearing them. Apart from their obvious practical application, the king found them quite decorative and introduced them as a mandatory piece of clothing for royal gatherings. The era of neckties officially began.
While the shape of the necktie kept evolving over the years, its function largely remained the same – a decorative feature of a man’s outfit. The tie as we know it today got its shape in the 1920s when a NY tie maker Jessie Langsdorf invented a new way of cutting the fabric when constructing a tie.
Tie as a victim to the always-changing fashion trends
Despite its 300-year reign and development, a necktie seems to have become a victim of the latest fashion trends. As those keep changing, they are slowly putting neckties to rest and replacing them with the ever-more-popular open-collared shirt look. This look is being driven predominantly by TV and cinema screens and looser dress code for employees at work.
The workforce is dressing down and getting more casual, but is it good?
In the recent years, more and more businesses have been adopting a more relaxed dress code for their offices (especially in companies such as Google and Facebook) where workers are allowed to dress in comfortable, casual clothes. It’s not uncommon to see even company CEO’s dressed in casual clothing, for example, Mark Zuckerberg or late Steve Jobs who was famous for his casual style of wearing a black turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers.
The decline of men in wearing a tie in the workforce is further aided by the rise of casual Fridays. If this trend continues, we might witness the disappearance of ties from our wardrobes in the next couple of decades.
You may be tempted to ask, whether this trend of dressing down is actually good for men. Some psychologists claim that it may have a negative effect on our productivity and performance. They argue that this is because we often adopt the characteristics associated with the clothes we wear. When we put our clothes on, we prime our brain to behave in ways consistent with their symboling meaning.
This, however, doesn’t mean that companies need to switch back to the old corporate culture. As of right now, none of the studies provides an absolute scientific proof that your attire impacts productivity. Much of it depends on many variables, such as gender, age or your job title.
Patrick & Co’s opinion: What we think about the “dressing down” trend
While we don’t think men should wear ties all the time, we believe they make men look polished and go a long way towards creating his image as a complete gentleman.
When we look at the success stories of tech startups in the Silicon Valley, it is easy to forget that those successful people weren’t always in a position where they could get away with wearing jeans and T-shirt to work. For example, even the aforementioned Steve Jobs used to wear suits in his early days of building Apple.
Whether we like it or not, other people judge us by what we wear before they hear us speak. That’s why it is essential to make this your advantage and project a favourable impression by dressing sharply and appropriately for the occasion. Unless you have made it to the top where you don’t care about what other people think about you, it may be okay to dress more relaxed, but for others, it’s still worth paying attention to your attire. A well-tied, designed and colour-matched necktie can be a reflection for men of their attention to little details and how much they value perfection.
When is it still acceptable to wear a tie?
Even today, ties may still be essential to wear on certain occasions, such as weddings, job interviews or networking events, where you need to make a good impression. This will, however, largely depend on your profession (such as law, business consultancy etc.). In case of job interviews, we recommend you dress for the job you want to get, not for the job you already have.
Apart from the occasions that demand a tie, you may find yourself in a situation where wearing a tie can make you appear respectable in a subtle way, for example, the first date.