Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, when self-proclaimed “Baron” Adolph de Meyer established an international reputation as the world’s first fashion photographer, neckties were de rigueur. The good Baron, as an expert in the style department, had opinions on everything including neckwear: “…a perfect tie, and a good collar, that’s what makes a well dressed man.”
But in the almost ninety years since the Baron decreed his standards of style, things have changed. Even the most hallowed institutions have dropped necktie regulations. Gentlemen, it would appear, are no longer tied to the past. So-called Black Tie Events are often tie-less. Witness the red carpet, Oscar Night, when megastars in designer tuxedos sport open-collared shirts.
From my perspective, a tie adds polish – it’s the final touch, like the period at the end of a sentence. Admittedly, there are a few ties I could do without; Colonel Saunders comes to mind, or bolo ties, or the monochromatic shirt-and-tie suite endorsed by Mr. Dapper himself, Regis Philbin. And then, there’s the entire category of funny, almost weird ties, synonymous with a special Sunday in June.
This year it falls on June 21st when, weather permitting, millions of men outfitted for bass fishing – wearing cargo shorts and sporting “hats-on-lock”– but wielding tongs not rods, will head for the nation’s backyard barbecues. It’s Father’s Day! Some day, historians will pinpoint the year weird ties replaced noxious after-shave as the gift of choice for all these grill-men. But for the now, it’s time to exercise restraint when it comes to wearing these creations. Point blank, there is no right occasion for a talking tie.
I’m all for adding a vibrant note to conservative workday attire, but Jerry Garcia ties simply don’t belong in the workplace – unless, of course, your office is showbiz central. Sometimes, clients will ask about The Right Tie, about wearing a funny tie to make a presentation, or when they want to get a laugh. Remember, there’s a fine line between laughing at and laughing with – please consider the “goof-factor.”
My advice? Borrow inspiration from style icons Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. This dynamic duo, always collared and tie-d, manages to strike every note right – funny, hip and cool, but impeccably turned out.
Feeling confident and self-assured about your own tie choices?
See: Burl Veneer’s Tie Blog – http://burlveneer.blogspot.com
How to tie a bow tie – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vui9Lzg7o_Q&feature=related
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