The tie. A piece of cloth wrapped around one’s neck, to suit what purpose?
None. None, whatsoever.
That, however, would be to miss the point before we even begin.
In the past, the tie was a much-maligned article of clothing that was unwillingly thrust upon pupils and white-collar workers alike.
It is with the relaxation of both school uniforms and a spike in the working-from-home culture. That a desire to spruce up our wardrobes with self-appointed formality has arisen.
As with many aspects of life, as soon as something is no longer foisted upon us. Its popularity among subcultures tends to rise. To wear a tie has now become a choice, a personal statement, rather than a requirement.
Therein lies the comeback.
Now, to say that the erosion of traditional uniform standards alone, has prompted the renaissance of the casual tie, would be a great overstatement. Though what it has done, is removed the assumption from wider society that the tie’s domain is solely in the realm of stuffy boardrooms and exclusive boarding houses.
The tie wearer is no longer lumped in with traditional notions of elitism when they don a necktie. Which, in turn, negates once-solidified stereotypes that hindered the casual tie wearers of the past 20 years.
What makes the tie a charming addition to an outfit? Moreover, what makes it casual?
The most common hurdle menswear faces is a lack of layering options and the diversity of shapes, which traditional female clothing has in droves.
The addition of a tie can break up the standard silhouette of a 50/50 outfit (one where there is simply a top and a bottom component), adding both softness and structure, depending on the type of tie selected.
This (material) is where the true casual nature of our conversation is rooted.
When suiting and booting for a wedding or formal function, oft we reach for our finest silk tie. But when we’re going casual, it is cotton or wool that will be our friend. This is especially the case for winter. A wider-shaped, woollen tie in earthy tones, adds texture under a chunky knit or tweed blazer. On the other hand, summer is the ideal time to wrap on a loose gauge, cotton square tie, over a short sleeve shirt paired with lightweight, wide-legged trousers.
The most common misconception when it comes to ties is that it is an exclusively formal addition to an outfit. Which just simply is not true. For example, worn with dress shorts, a soft cotton shirt and a worker jacket, a tie adds depth. Rather than a formality.
Furthermore, replacing the blazer or chore jacket, with a cardigan instead, will also soften the overall aesthetic. Don’t fret that you will suddenly become overdressed upon the addition of the tie. For occasions like a date, a weekend getaway, or a geography lecture, a tie is simply a charming inclusion to your collar.
The most appealing aspect of becoming a tie-man is the immediate cues to rooms full of smoke and leather, that you will invoke as you enter a space. A reminder of times when horn-rimmed glasses were the only currency that mattered.
Now, go and give it a try for yourself. Whether you’re perusing second-hand paperbacks in a dusty old bookshop or admiring fine brushstrokes in a baroque art gallery. The tie will give you the air of mystery that just might work for you.
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