Life Askew

By Julia Galosy

I’m Wondering About...Neckties



When I was a tiny girl I hardly ever saw men with ties because my Dad and my Grandpa were both dentists and wore those white, zip-up uniforms. I went to Catholic pre-school, so no ties there. At three years old or so, I only saw men with ties in Church and I decided, with my tiny- girl logic that ties were there to keep men’s heads on while God rained down his wrath. (Catholicism in those days sported a vengeful God). This may seem strange but I also conjectured that since we were human BEANS, we were likely from the “lima” family. We all make our own sense out of the world we experience, don’t we?

So I am wondering about the tie these days. It has transcended its fashion function to become a symbol for men everywhere. It seems it started as a way of identifying Croatian mercenaries in a French army. Nowadays many occupations demand its use in occupations such as investment bankers and lawyers. I supposed this symbolizes professionalism or maybe just big bucks.

In most countries in Asia the suit and tie are the symbols of management while the “workers” wear a different uniform. I had a client in France who had 100 bow ties and eventually one of his direct reports started wearing similar ties and tried to tell everyone that it was his choice. (What kind of symbolism was that, I wonder?!!). It seemed at that time, that the tie was one of the few ways that men could express themselves as the suits and shirts and shoes were kind of the same.

My unscientific survey of opinions about ties from the men in my circle seems to support that ties still stand as symbols. Some decry ever wearing them again—a rebellion against their former lives. Others love to wear them as it separates the everyday shorts, flip flops and Hawaiian shirts from the elegant selves they could display to the world. Even the results of this survey support that the tie is still guarding its place in the fashion pantheon as a symbol.

I am wondering then, if we women have a symbol in our fashion palate?


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