2 – Attack of the Ties

I’m writing this post on a W train heading back to Astoria after a night at a formal fraternity event. I know I won’t make it back home in time to transcribe these notes into a Word document, so I’m typing this in a note on my phone to later copy-paste into the WordPress app. Technology at its finest, though I cannot guarantee my grammar will be at its best.

As I type, my chin is resting upon the most offensive piece of clothing I’ve worn this week. Yes, it’s even worse than my Halloween costume, although if you thought that my Circuit City employee costume was offensive I have no idea how you grasp any sense of ethics. Also, although I may view this accessory I’m boasting as a repulsive adornment, there are those who adore it, reveling in the 20 ways they can fold and tie it.

Yes, I’m talking about ties. I’ve never liked ties. In fact, growing up I probably actively tried not to learn how to tie one in order to try to get out of wearing them altogether (sorry, Dad). I’ve always thought them to be an unnecessary addition to an outfit. The fact that if tied correctly it feels like it chokes the life out of you should be reason enough to have them banned in some countries.

Ties have little place in today’s fashion world other than to distinguish someone dressed “up” from someone dressed comfortably. If you go to a wedding in just a nice sweater and khakis you’d look out of place in a sea of suits and ties (unless the newlyweds are really cool and have a lax dress code). A legislator in Washington wearing a polo shirt and shorts may not fit in on the floor when all of his peers are wearing ties. A tie has become part of the “formal uniform” in the same way a baseball player would look naked without a cap on.

Thankfully, however, ties are slowly going out of style. A Wall Street CEO still may look odd without one, but the everyday worker in many industries has been given greater freedom to choose his own outfit to fit his style. I consider myself lucky that I work in one of those industries. I’d hate to think of what my day would be like if I had to sit for 8+ hours a day staring at a screen WHILE wearing a hideous tie. I can come in to the office wearing anything comfortable as long as it’s modest, which I feel can greatly improve my morale and productivity.

Despite my views on ties, I still find myself roped into wearing one from time to time. Tonight, for instance, I attended a fancy dinner party hosted by my old college fraternity. You can imagine how disappointed I was to hear that the party was to be a “business formal” event. For the week leading up to today I was ruing the moment I’d have to take a tie out of my closet and struggle to tie a halfway decent knot (sorry, Dad). I probably could have gotten away with going tieless, but it was the fear of not looking up to par that scared me into lightly choking myself for a few hours to impress some strangers.

Fashion is a fleeting thing. It was a relatively short time ago that it may have been a social faux pas for a man to show up to a respectable establishment without his bowler hat, or without stockings and a powdered wig, or without socks on his hands. Ties have enjoyed a long reign as a necessary addition to the wardrobe of any man looking to dress for success. I hope to live to see the day to see the pendulum swing in another direction once more.

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