Saturday, February 17, 2007

Why you should wear a tie.

The tie may be the most maligned and cursed accessory in the male wardrobe. Required usage at workplaces usually earn negative comments from most of the workers with words like "draconian" mingled throughout them. However this piece of wardrobe is the simplest and most versatile piece of clothing you will ever own. Those that master its usage will forever change their level of dress.

Since most of you already disagree with me, let's start this discussion from the negative. While the tie may seem without purpose, this is simply not true. The tie draws people's eyes to your face. It is the supreme focuser. The dash, color, and placement of the tie will direct people's eyes to yours. The tie also makes it possible to change any ensemble in a matter of moments. Pick out a blue suit and a blue shirt, pick five different ties and you have a weeks worth of clothes. Dressing this way isn't more expensive, its actually less because of the 1.5 square ft of fabric in the middle of your chest. The tie also gives us all the ability to express our personalities (if yours calls for Sponge Bob Square Pants ties... give up now.) So the tie has function, without question.

The secondary part of this is simple. People wearing ties look better. Period. This is not a matter of personal taste, its a matter of group consciousness. In a tie you look more professional, better groomed, and more successful (assuming the banning of novelty ties mentioned earlier). Think about it, if you walk up to two people at a place of business you're going to assume that the one wearing a tie is the superior. If you see two people at separate work places you're going to assume the tie makes more. It doesn't really matter if you agree with this logic, the point is that the majority of people do unconsciously and you should take advantage of it.

Now finally... If you're uncomfortable in the shirt and tie then yours doesn't fit. This is never the tie's fault because it's whatever your neck size is. If your tie is too tight you just loosen it. The culprit is really your shirt. Too big or too small the result is a piece of clothing you can't ignore and not in the good way. The combination of two shirt sizes and a self tied knot, I'll admit makes the margin of error somewhat daunting. However, I challenge anyone to let me measure them for a shirt and see if they're still uncomfortable. In the shirt world there are about 30-40 different options and issues to consider when fitting a shirt and discomfort always means one of those has been neglected. That doesn't mean that all your shirts have to be special ordered although if you ever go that route you'll probably never buy off the rack again. It just means that you should find one or two labels in your price range and stick to them. Some cut a little narrower in the waist, some a little longer in the arm, etc. The great thing about this concept is that once you find a manufacturer that fits you well you can buy all your shirts online with a better selection and usually a much better fit and price.

A few easy rules...
  1. Large doesn't mean more comfortable. The larger the shirt the more fabric you have to find a place for to get the tie up against your neck.
  2. If its sleeve length is two numbers, 34/35 for example, ALWAYS try it on before leaving the store.
  3. Once you know your size, it changes. Get measured at least once a year by someone who knows what they're doing.

Now I'll admit something... Some occupations tend to frown on ties. Technology jobs for example, but that doesn't' change the fact that the CIO probably wears one. I know Bill Gates and Steve Jobs don't wear ties in an attempt to seem hip, but really... They just look sloppy. Nobody is using them as examples because they want to emulate their style.


Michael said...

It's probably bad form to comment on your own post, but I had an idea. I feel strongly about the way I dress so my dress doesn't require public approval. However I'd like to know what some women think about this discussion... Does a man in a good tie look better?

Cathlena said...

More men need to understand the power of being well dressed. A man in a well tailored suit is always amazing. When you add the right accessories like a fabulous tie, properly knotted or a well pressed, fitted shirt with it’s cuff links teasing you from beneath the jacket sleeve…Or when the jacket is removed and the sleeves are rolled up to reveal a wide, masculine timepiece strapped to a vascular wrist…well, you might as well be standing behind me, breath on my neck, lips brushing over my ears. I am done.

RedRyder said...

Okay okay Michael.. I admit that although I am negative on Ties it does make for a well dressed professional looking man. I would go to a person wearing a Tie over one not wearing one. But is this not merely mounds of years of tradition in our heads that make us think this way? Even still a point is made. Even still it does have that purpose and so I guess in this aspect you are correct. I played a little Devils Advocate.. Because my current profession does not require a tie but I wear one often because I generally feel better about myself and feel I make a better presentation. Well done..