Yesterday, I was all agog about socks. That got me to thinking about the humble, yet luxurious necktie. Either as gifts from friends or purchased second-hand, I have more than enough ties for every occasion.
Since retirement, there are very few reasons to wear ties aside from weddings and funerals. These days, it’s mostly funerals. Earlier this year, I served as one of the pallbearers for the funeral of an aunt. Most of us wore neckties. The ties were marks of honor and respect for the departed, beloved aunt.
Except for corporate executives, bankers, preachers,lawyers, and wait staff in restaurants, the wearing of ties has become an endangered practice. The only articles of menswear that are even less common is the wide-brimmed dressy fedora hat and the topcoat. Maybe I was born too late because I like the look and feel of a good tie. A tie is the cherry on top of a man’s outfit. Wearing a tie, for me, is one of life’s little pleasures.
“You’re dressed in a tuxedo, you wear a bow tie. A bow tie with a tuxedo is more formal than a straight tie with a tuxedo.”–Bill Nye
I’ve only owned three or four bow ties throughout my life. There was the “pre-tied” clip-on bow tie of my childhood. It was a brown sateen tie that had two steel mechanical clips that opened and closed when the tie’s two bows were manipulated. I now have two bow ties that must be tied by hand–a black one and a white one–just in case I must ever attend a formal event. If that happens, I’ll need help tying one on. That’s a skill I don’t have. I suppose I should watch a YouTube video in order to learn how to tie a bow tie.
We older men can get away with wearing a natty sport coat with a nice pair of jeans and a pair of loafers in a small-town environment. When that mood strikes, I wear one of the vintage, thrift store ties. A person can buy them for pennies on the dollar. I once purchased a food storage baggie full of top notch silk Armani ties for $5. I wonder if they came from the estate of a prominent attorney or businessman. They are classic neckties that will never go out of style.
Something I’ve noticed nearly every time I wear the right necktie, people treat me more respectfully. The act of wearing a tie encourages me to have better posture; my shoulders are further back and the neck holds my head more level. Even the most basic necktie makes the outfit a touch more dynamic.
I inherited a leather bomber jacket from a recently departed old friend. Perhaps it was a final practical joke aimed at my vegetarian lifestyle. Regardless of my veggie ways, I sometimes wear the leather jacket. It feels ironic and macho at the same time. A real power outfit includes dressy jeans, a solid color button down shirt with a necktie and topped with my friend’s old leather jacket. He often dressed that way.