No longer a
requirement for work, are neck ties going out of fashion?
When President Barack Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping this past summer, he showed up sans neckwear. This happened again at the G-8 summit this past June when the President, along with other world leaders, decided to go for the “no tie” look to create a more relaxed environment.
OK, maybe President Obama doesn’t feel like wearing a tie every day. What’s the big deal? John Ortved at The Wall Street Journal reports that regular tie-wearers have become a dwindling species and, as a result, business growth is stagnant for tie makers. Annual sales for ties have dropped from a record high of $US1.3 billion in 1995 to $US677.7 million in 2008, according to market research firm NPD Group.
Whether you blame it on the President, high-powered techies and their penchants for hoodies, or the death of formality in general, the tie business is definitely shrinking. But while executives may be dropping the tie in droves, it’s ironically the young and hip — the group that has never been required to wear them — who seem to be keeping the tie business afloat (think Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon).
Just like all accessories, the neck tie may be going through some changes, but it doesn’t mean it’s out of the picture. Ties seem to be getting skinnier and designers are experimenting with different fabrics, like crinkled cotton, linen, and even wool.
For those who want to try out the trendy tie look, Tie Society is a company that sends subscribers three ties to wear at a time. When you’re ready for a new look, you send back the ties and get three more.
Interestingly, as the traditional tie dwindles in popularity, the bow tie seems to be gaining steam. Bloomberg’s Tom Keene, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, rapper Kanye West, and South Korean singer Psy are all big bow tie fans.
Indeed, Jeff Blee, a divisional merchandise manager at Brooks Brothers, says bow ties sales were up 60% in 2012 compared to the previous year.
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