Long Live The Tie!

A customer of mine who is a surgeon, recently told me that when he was a junior doctor, his mentor advised him, “when meeting with a patient, you should be smartly dressed, clean shaven and smelling lightly of aftershave.”

If someone is going to slice open my body with a scalpel, I’d want everything about that person to scream ‘professional.’

Scuffed shoes, a scratty beard and halitosis are never going to help inspire confidence.

This month, I’ve had two customers from big accountancy and consultancy firms in Leeds, mention there are ‘dress down’ policies in place at the office, with ties no longer de rigueur for client meetings.

I wonder what value, could be placed on such a policy? Is it supposed to be a perk??

Whilst my seven and eight year old daughters, jump for joy at the prospect of wearing sparkly sneakers and a unicorn sweater to school for red-nose day, are there really grown up men out there, who find wearing a suit and tie so detestable?

Do business leaders genuinely believe that dressing down makes staff feel more comfortable, creating a more relaxed and productive environment?

What utter tosh. Talk to a Nigerian miner if you want to hear about uncomfortable working conditions.

‘Relaxed’ to me is the lazy cousin of ‘Sleepy’ and ‘Snoozy’, and has no place in the workforce, unless you are a monk, yoga teacher, or, spiritual healer.

A soldier, like a Samurai, dresses for battle. Putting on that armour prepares them mentally, as well as physically, for the fight ahead.

Showering, shaving and securing the knot on your tie is a ritual that gets you in the zone. It makes you feel clean, sharp and ready for action.

Sir Herbert Gussett said, “There is a thin line between wearing an open-necked shirt and the complete collapse of civilisation as we know it.”

Strong words, but I get his point.

Undoubtedly there has been a move towards taking a more informal approach to tailoring over recent years.

I’ll often wear an unlined jacket with softer shoulders teamed with a pair of flannel trousers, however, as a tailor, I will always wear a tie a) out of respect for my customers and b) because a tie is the most wonderful part of a mans ensemble!

Blue and grey are often the colours that dominate a man’s wardrobe and so the tie is the place where one can introduce texture, personality, a splash of colour.

The tie is a wearable work of art, the star of a man’s outfit and rightly so takes centre stage.

It’s supported by the collar, framed by the lapels, and for any aspiring dandy, provides a wonderful array of knots, weaves and fabrics with which to express oneself.

For me, the feeling of an Hermes silk tie between your fingers is one of life’s true pleasures.

For those of you in the professional services community, who now think it’s acceptable to ditch the tie in the workplace, I implore you to reconsider.

A tie can be elegant, understated, reserved, in short, a perfect foil to enhance your image in the eye of the beholder.

To some people, a man takes off his tie and opens his collar when he is hot, nervous, under pressure, loosing control.

Don’t dress down. Dress up. Be that Samurai of the business world and wear your tie with pride.

Lose it at your peril – it’s the start of a long slippery slope to Hi-Tec trainers, tracksuit bottoms and a football shirt.