The ties that bind no longer
A funny thing happens when the men in my South Australian office travel interstate: the first thing they do is remove their ties.
Adelaide men, you see, still wear ties to work.
Apparently their counterparts in the Eastern states do not (at least in the media industry). A colleague who’s been visiting Sydney and Melbourne a lot of late says open neck shirts are the go.
Wearing a tie apparently looks stuffy and ``backwards old Adelaide’‘.
Hmm… I prefer to think of our tie-wearing habits as quaint, delightfully old fashioned and somewhat formal as opposed to ``backwards’‘.
But I must admit I’m sucker for a fella in a nice suit, crisp shirt and tie, a la Cary Grant (provided, that is, he has a reasonably long neck).
So what is it that makes ties so attractive?
Well, for one, they give the impression of tradition and all the reliability and dependability that goes with it.
Secondly they’re just… I don’t know… manly.
Thirdly they stop you from looking like a hospitality worker every time you remove your suit jacket to reveal a stock-standard white shirt and dark pants.
Most importantly though, they give just a little glimpse of the personality that lies beneath said white shirt, and dark pants.
A tie says a lot about its wearer.
A small, navy and pink print, that, on closer inspection, turns out to be a delightful pattern of elephants says ``I’m subtly quirky’‘.
A fat brown and green `70s stripe says ``I might wear a suit but really I’m an alterno muso’‘.
Navy and white cheques say ``Excel spreadsheets feature strongly in my life… oh and I think I know a lot about wine.’‘
Cartoon characters say ``You see might see me as juvenile and annoyingly extroverted, but I prefer to think of myself as whacky!!!’‘
Meanwhile, bowties of course scream ``AVOID’’ while cravats say ``Masterchef fan’‘.
Fair enough ties are not always the most comfortable item of clothing.
But, given men already have so little scope for expressing themselves in their work suits, why would they want to give up their only option for a splash of colour?
Claude Di Vittorio, a well-known Adelaide suit fitter of more than 35 years’ experience says there’s another big problem with men ditching ties: they don’t know how to wear open-necked shirts properly.
``You can’t just wear an everyday business shirt under your suit without a tie - its looks like you’ve taken off your tie and you’re headed down for Friday night drinks,’’ he says.
``When you take out the tie, the shirt becomes the focus of the outfit and it needs to be the right one.
``That’s where things start to get a bit tricky.’‘
According to Claude, you have to find a shirt that is actually designed to be worn without a tie - with a slightly higher and flatter than-average-collar, and cuffs.
Moral of the story?
If you’re going to go tie-free, get yourself a decent non-tie shirt from a proper menswear shop with helpful staff that know what they’re doing.
Or show off your nice long neck and quaint individuality with a tie - and think Cary Grant thoughts.
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