The humble tie - to wear or not to wear?

While meeting one of our clients, a large software company, a few days ago I got caught up in conversation with the managing director about… fashion. His belief that in today’s business scene ties are no longer a must, made me think. The argument was that ties have been devalued. Once an elegant essential for important folk they are now merely an accessory worn in the service industry: by bus drivers, cabbies and waiting staff.

As I’m interested in any sort of historical trivia this discussion prompted me to look up the evolution of ties. As it turns out, they have been around ever since the 17th century; and Croat mercenaries who fought in the Thirty Years' War are apparently responsible for the introduction of ties to the Western world. This is where we get the modern word ‘Cravat’, although the original Croat mercenaries wore something closer to the modern tie. 

In many high-profile IT companies such as Apple, E-bay and Google casual clothing is preferred to suits and ties. Equally, IKEA has banned its staff from wearing ties. I wonder whether this California culture of relaxed working, developed by IT companies founded in the owner’s garage might be the foundation for our more relaxed modern approach to workplace outfits.

Because I have never worn one, I would love to hear you opinion on neckties: do you wear them on a day to day basis? Are ties an essential accessory to one’s formalwear or have they become a symbol of obstruction and submission?
 
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Oana Baetica - Technical PR consultant

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

3 comments:

Alltorque1 said...

I am a sales rep in Melbourne and service industrial customers in both the city as well as rural Victoria.  We have a broad spectrum of customers and I meet them in all sales situations.

The level of attire I where changes on a daily basis, from full suit, shirt and tie, open-neck shirt, work-liveried shirt and work-liveried polo. 

I feel that I am taken most seriously when I am in a shirt and tie.  It may sound funny, but the rural customers actually expect a more formal appearance from visitors.

Because of this, a favour wearing a tie and do it as a default.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to wear trackie dacks every day to work but the Silicon Valley Mantra only works in Silicon Valley.

outlander said...

I work in an open plan office and nearly all the (male) office staff wear ties, even though we do not meet our customers very often here. There is no requirement in our staff handbook for a tie, just for formal shirts and smart trousers and so I would conclude that most men, in our office at least, prefer wearing a tie for work. Staff in our US parent company though, all dress casually with chino's, jeans and polo shirts being the norm.

Occassionally, on very hot summer days, most will remove their tie, but personally I feel rather 'naked' without mine.

Guest said...

I am working out of the US in the Engineering profession.  Typically we wear "business casual" to the office, dress pants and a collared shirt.  Not long after I started my current job, I was going on a customer visit with our President.  I asked him if we were wearing ties or not (I like to when meeting with customers).  He laughed at me and said no one wears ties anymore, lets just wear sport jackets.  I didn't agree regarding the tie comment, but obviously just grabbed a jacket.  Ironically in the meeting, everyone at the table in the meeting was wearing a tie but us.  

I think there is a place for ties in the office still.  For me, wearing a tie says to the person across the table, "I don't think this is a joke, I dressed up for it, now let's get down to business."  In addition, it is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself and look professional, as long as you don't have cartoon characters or Easter bunnies on your tie.