My high school sociology teacher once remarked that he believed the men’s necktie would finally become extinct in the early 2000s. He said he’d be proven right when the President of the United States appeared at public functions without a tie. The absurdity of his statement is what caused me to remember it.
Sure enough, George W. Bush made some public appearances without a necktie and sometimes in much less conventional attire. This behavior has continued, to a degree, with Barack Obama.
That high school teacher has been proven only half-correct, so far. Neckties are still considered necessary for Official Presidential business and ceremony. The same is true for other high governmental officials. We find the same custom tried and true with business leaders at home and abroad. To be taken seriously, a man must wear a fashionably correct necktie. In some instances a variant of the necktie also holds the same status for women, too.
My own prediction, for what it’s worth, says that the necktie will not become obsolete for several more years. I think the tie still performs its function as a signal flag for social position. The man who is aware of the message that is conveyed by fashion and neckties, in particular, will value the image projected to his peers by his necktie.
Think of the “power tie”. A pure red necktie worn with a white shirt and conservatively styled business suit are the marks of power, status, and a certain ruthlessness. Watch for the use of the power tie on governmental executives and business CEOs.
What about yellow ties? The pure form of this primary color is rarely seen in men’s ties. Even though a person might choose to wear yellow in casual situations, it is too bright and sunny for more formal situations. Unfortunately, yellow is also sometimes associated with cowardice. The person who wants an upbeat, radiant accent will choose a more conservative gold or rust colored necktie.
The other primary color, blue, is a good go-to color for anyone aware of the importance of necktie color. Blue has a very positive, non-threatening meaning to most people. We love blue eyes, blue gemstones, and blue jeans. The leader who sports a blue tie conveys a calming, quiet demeanor. Blue neckties project the opposite message of a red necktie.
Blended colors like green are less common, but bring out a more relaxed feeling. It can either represent money or the environment. Green is not currently a fashionable
necktie color. Meanwhile, brown shades are more ageless. The earthiness of brown brings out warmth and openness of character. The mindful psychologist or counselor will choose a brown necktie to subconsciously calm his or her client.
The most formal tie of all, is the black tie. This tie is worn sparingly by the mindful individual. Normally it is worn for funerals, or for social events that take place after sunset. We usually associate black ties with formal events. The black tie is also part of police and military dress uniforms. Black conveys authority.
There has long been an unspoken message present in the wearing of neckties, and why they are mainly a male fashion accessory. Some fashion experts say the modern necktie is a phallic symbol. More than a few fashionistas claim that the necktie symbolizes the domination of men over women.
Personally, I don’t associate the necktie with any overt or covert sexual message. To me, the necktie is the finishing touch to add when dressing up in a suit. A suit or sportcoat worn without a necktie looks incomplete and lacking personality.
I’m certainly not an old-fashioned guy, but I sometimes find a great deal of pleasure in dressing up. When carefully selecting a suit or sportcoat-slacks combination to wear, I like to carefully choose a nice necktie and coordinating pocket square to bring it all together. I don’t even think about any hidden or subconscious message that neckties supposedly represent. I just like the way they look.
Even if I’m not going to wear a suit or sportcoat, a tie can add a pleasing touch. In a more relaxed context, a dressy, casual button-down shirt worn with a colorful necktie can make me feel a little more confident and assertive. Done right, a necktie can add a touch of dignity without being aggressive.
I’m a bit sad that, these days, the necktie is seen in an unfavorable light by many people. They don’t realize that neckties can bring out various aspects of personality from hiding. The tie can be all business or it can actually add to the fun of a special occasion.