Some time ago I had an interesting conversation with my office mates. We had a meeting planned with a very important client of us. As it was planned quite early in the morning, we didn’t have the opportunity to discuss the dress code but it was quite obvious to me that a meeting with such important client requires full business attire. I have chosen a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and silk tie. Just to make it a bit less serious I put a lapel flower and colorful socks. My colleagues appreared in business suits, typical for a business attire, but with no ties and white shirts with the first 2 buttons opened. Of course they were dressed that way many times before, but this time we had a conversation about that. When I asked them whether they really think that’s the best dress code for a meeting with a key client one of them replied, laughing: Hey, we are marketing agency and we have to look cool! I said: Do you really think that opening the top buttons of your business shirt and not wearing a tie make us cool and the client will underastand it the way we want, meaning that we are creative, flexible and having a distance to ourselves? That caused an awkward silence, but fortunately the client arrived (with the tie!) and the meeting started.
Not only famous actors and politicians look bad in business suits and without ties…
Why did I mention this story? The main reason is because for most of the men, a tie occupy a leading position in the ranking of most hated clothes/accessories and – to my opinion – this position is unjust and undeserved. The tie is one of the elements of men’s wardrobe which can make us different, which can help us to tell the world our story, to show our attitude and our approach to life and to the situation we’re at. Many men working in big corporations treat the tie as the worst torture, like a chain around their neck which has to be taken off as quickly and as often as possible. Actually, the best would be to do not wear it at all…
It is in the same time funny and depressing and when I see a classic open space in an office – all men sitting in shirts, their jackes hung on the back of their chairs (which is, by te way, very bad for the shape and construction of the jacket) and all have loose ties (most of them tied with a terribly looking widsor knot). Or a scene from a classic Polish wedding – around 9:00PM most of men have the rolled up sleeves and loose ties.
From one hand I have a laugh about it, but from the other – it’s very sad as it looks just awful. In those situations I’m ready to admit that’s better not to wear a tie than wear it that way.
Don’t get me wrong – I also like no tie style but it has to make sense, as every outfit. The story I told at the begining is the most obvious example – the business suit with a unbuttoned shirt looks bad or very bad. The man dressed that way gives the impression to be not completely dressed and looks a bit sloppy… Of course there are countries, nations and situations when that fits a bit better (Italians again :-), but – in general – this is not the nicest look for a man.
The world of ties is fascinating! We don’t have to wear all the time the classic, monchrome silk ties which are beautiful but may be a bit conservative… Do we want to downgrade our dress code, become cool? Here we go – we have knits, shantungs, grenadine, wool or linen ties… So many choices and for every occasion! This variety of options just confirms my point that the tie is ideal to show our personality and differentiate.
Finally, the last argument, which resonates with me the most… Please consider the following situation: you got invited for an event/reception. There will be many people who are important to you. There was no information about the dress code on the invitation. If you wear a tie and after you got there, you notice that all men are without the tie, you just take it off and… that’s it! And now imagine that you come without a tie and everybody is wearing a formal suit or – even worse – evening attire? What will you do…?
That’s why, since many years, I follow the golden rule: You can always downgrade your dress-code but never upgrade it. Thus, it is then better to be over-dressed, than under-dressed.
And, if you still don’t like ties, there is another solution – you can wear bow-ties ☺ But let’s talk about it another time 🙂