Monday, 17 July 2017

The Tie Debate - To Wear or not to Wear?

The humble necktie.

There are several opinions as to the origin of the tie including ‘blaming’ China’s first emperor, Shih Huang Ti for its existence.

The popular theory is the tie as we know it dates back to the French King, Louis XIII and the time of the 30-year war (1618 – 1648).

Sales of ties in the United States peaked in 1995 at US$1.8 billion but have since steadily declined with sales now struggling to top US$400 million.

One of the bastions of proper dress standards is Investment Bank JP Morgan. They relaxed their dress code in 2016, allowing employees to use their best judgement depending on their daily activities, who they were meeting with and where.

It is fascinating in a way that JP Morgan has even seen a need to continue until now with a dress code. After all, they delegate responsibility and authority to individuals to make decisions on behalf of clients and owners worth tens of millions of dollars a day, but haven’t trusted them to select the correct clothes to wear while doing it.

For perhaps the last 10 years, I have not been required to wear a tie in my day to day employment. However, I have elected to keep wearing my colourful piece of silk and have done so for several reasons.

I have never found wearing a tie to be uncomfortable. Since primary school, wearing a tie has been a daily ‘thing’ and besides, it allows some expression of personality and individuality in a male business wardrobe dominated by dark blues and greys.

More so though, I have always been amused by those who routinely do not wear a tie, except for certain meetings. (I exclude client meeting where a tie may be decreed mandatory by the employer).

The usual non-tie wearer will make an assessment as to the relative importance of the meeting they are going to and decide if a tie is needed, then remove it on return and proceed to their next meeting.

What does this all mean?

Perhaps if the tie on, tie off person meets with you and does not “tie up” they are inferring you are not important to them.

Alternatively, does it reflect their lack of self-esteem and confidence that they feel a need to put on what is essentially a false persona by wearing a tie to the CEO discussion or Board Committee meeting?

If only everyone would be authentic in the work place. To my fellow Males, wear a tie or don’t wear a tie, but whatever you choose, do it always and by doing so, you will be respecting yourself and all those you work with.

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