medhat

Super Member
Casual observation. In DC, where I work, I've played this informal observation game over the last few months counting how many men I see in public wearing a suit sans tie. I'd guess it's nearly 50%, which strikes me as a lot (I'm not one of that category). I'm in a "dress for your job" environment, but personally, if I'm wearing a suit, I'm wearing a tie. I know the Forum is biased pro-tie, but is there flexibility in this stance? (maybe not for me, but in the general case)
 

Peak and Pine

Connoisseur
If I'm wearing a suit, I'm wearing a tie.
Yes. And I now shall twist that into a personal maxim: If it needs a tie, it needs a suit.

I do wear jackets. All the time, like now in my car (with my arm in Nordstrom navy linen stuck out the window so I can drum on the door in time to d'myoosic). (Sean Mendes, Senorita) (The car is stopped.) (But not my fingers.) I don't wear ties with jackets. I stopped that when I stopped selling Kenmore appliances.

Suits, always; jackets never. Don't anybody follow me in this. I wish to stay cacooned and alone with my little eccenticities.
 

Winhes2

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My nephew, an accountant at one of the large firms, reports that here in Winnipeg they are commonly wearing the suits without ties. Ties are on a hanger for tie appropriate meetings. My guess is they don't wear the jacket much around the office. Don't know about when they hit the street for lunch.

Update: My nephew makes the decision about wearing a jacket onto the street for lunch according to whether he wants to put his wallet and phone into his pants pockets.
 
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SG_67

Connoisseur
I think there will always be a core that wears a tie when wearing a suit.

Then there will be another group that chases the fad. Right now, the fad is suit with no tie. Give it a few fashion cycles it will reverse.

The given proportion in one group vs. the other within the entire population will differ of course, and there may be some regional variations, but I think it’s too soon to proclaim the death of the tie.
 

TKI67

Super Member
I believe StephenRG made the case for the tie beautifully. It’s certainly the reason I still love ties. However, I fear that many folk have lost that desire to express themselves through clothing. Back in the nineteen seventies when I worked in a very conservative bank, the ranks of dark grey and navy suits were almost indistinguishable, and that was amplified by the fact that virtually everyone wore pale blue or white pinpoint shirts and well shined black cap toed bals. Occasionally some rebel wore an ecru shirt or some #8 wingtips. Ties were another matter. There were repps, polka dots, emblematic, neats, Macclesfields, and even the odd madder paisley. No two were alike. Then in the mid nineteen eighties the Hermès craze was upon us, and gorgeous patterns and electric colors started to appear. We experienced an economic downturn, roughly coincident here with the casual Friday phenomenon, and the young guys living paycheck to paycheck in the downsizing world of banking, gave up dressing for the job, at least here, possibly for a little more financial security in ditching expensive clothing for Dockers and golf shirts. I really don’t see a catalyst on the horizon to bring them back to wearing ties, and looking at what’s in our local stores I think it may be just as well.

After my career in banking I went into state government. In Austin it is a large presence. The thousands of state workers in downtown make casual Friday dressing seem stuffy. Faded jeans, beat up athletic shoes, and shirts that remind you of sitcoms about junior high seem to be the norm. Comfort has trumped all. I just don’t see ties ever capturing that market and cannot imagine their progeny going back to ties without anyone to teach them.

Even at the executive level in government, the inculcating of an appreciation of dressing up was an uphill fight. I had a chief of Staff in his mid twenties. He knew he needed to dress up for board meetings and to testify at the legislature. So he got a skinny black suit and a skinny black tie. My chairman and I tried to coach him, but there was zero interest. Right after a board meeting he’d rip off the tie and put on a tee shirt!

I fear Austin is farther down this track than DC, but I believe we are all on it.

I still wear ties, even with sport coats. The only time I’d consider not wearing a tie if wearing a jacket would be at an event with unclear dress but likely to be casual. However, I’d have a bow tie in my pocket, just in case! It’s my Superman suit!
 

JBierly

Advanced Member
I don't see ties with suits much at all. Seems like its reduced to being on the podium, at the courthouse and perhaps that's it. I feel like it is way less than 50%. For example, if I wear a tie out to dinner it is likely I am the only one outside of the staff wearing a tie.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
When I was a young man growing up (late 1950's) it would have been a rarity, if not impossible to sight a man/boy in church without a coat and tie. These days it seems the situation is reversed, with the odd guy in the coat and tie and the masses dressed as sub-par AmJacks! Alas, lately even I find myself occassionally attending Sunday services wearing my navy blazer over an open collared knit polo shirt. Perhaps I too have taken my first steps down the path that leads one to spending eternity in sartorial Hell? :(
 

paul winston

Super Member
Advertiser
The tie business now addresses a "niche" market. When I walk from the Port Authority in NYC to my 44th St appointments I see 100s of men and can count on one hand the number who are wearing a tie. Because I am in the sunset of my days I don't need a lot of business to put a smile on my face. In the short run the trend is eliminating some of the competition.
A man wearing a tie with a suit looks complete and leaves a positive impression to most observers.
Personally I have always enjoyed wearing a tie. I don't find it uncomfortable. I often wear my "novelty" designs and through the years they have created many conversations.
Paul Winston
www.chippneckwear.com
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
...Back in the nineteen seventies when I worked in a very conservative bank, the ranks of dark grey and navy suits were almost indistinguishable, and that was amplified by the fact that virtually everyone wore pale blue or white pinpoint shirts and well shined black cap toed bals. Occasionally some rebel wore an ecru shirt or some #8 wingtips. Ties were another matter. There were repps, polka dots, emblematic, neats, Macclesfields, and even the odd madder paisley. No two were alike. Then in the mid nineteen eighties the Hermès craze was upon us, and gorgeous patterns and electric colors started to appear. ...
I know I've told this before (I have very few interesting things in my past, so I just recycle a lot). I joined the trading / investment banking division on UBS in NYC in 1988 where the gentleman running the trading floor was an old Wall Street pro. The unwritten rule (I learned it by watching, it wasn't written down anywhere as far as I knew) was suit and tie and, like, TK167 noted, almost all were grey or navy suits with white or light blue shirts and an extensive array of ties, but still, none that couldn't have come from BB or Paul Stuart.

The one "quirk" in the code was the also unwritten rule that on Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day (with a hard start and stop), one could wear a navy blazer, tailored chinos (no just-slept-in-look Gap, Dockers, etc. - these were the type of chinos that came not hemmed when you bought them), white or light blue shirt (or a blue and white striped one - another summer Friday exception) tie and dress shoes.

As crazy as it sounds, those summer Friday outfits really did feel different and casual and fun and young. Even the dress code - which seems so severe when looking back - was pretty normal for a lot of Wall Street back then. Little did I know that the '90s would, pretty much, end all of that in about a decade.


The tie business now addresses a "niche" market. When I walk from the Port Authority in NYC to my 44th St appointments I see 100s of men and can count on one hand the number who are wearing a tie. ...
What Paul didn't note is that his walk takes him through one of Manhattan's major business district. I usually note about 10% tie-wearers in that area - so not far off from Paul's estimate. Come up to my neighborhood - the Upper East Side - and the number drops to 5% during the week and 1% on weekends (and that's only 'cause I live near a large teaching hospital which seems to have a few older employees who still dress in suits or sport coats and ties).

IMHO, as it's all just what I see on the street, the move away from suits and ties has accelerated in the last few years. As noted, you'll still see them in the biz districts - but they no longer dominate even there - and away from those areas, you only see a single percentage of men in them.

Where I've also noted a rapid decline is in non-business situations. Other than weddings and funerals (and it's no longer a given that everyone will wear one at a wedding and the last few funerals I went to were well less than 50% suit and ties), I never see suits or ties and only a few men (like me) who still wear sport coats.

My standard not-summer - not work - outfit is chinos (occasionally jeans). buck or desert boots, OCBD, sweater and sport coat (not tie) and I hear - more and more each year - "why are you so dressed up?" I can't imagine the reaction I'd get if I added a tie or wore a suit.
 

TKI67

Super Member
Fading Fast, my not summer and not work outfit is Levis, chinos, or cords, a chambray workshirt or a Tee-shirt, and either a sweater or, if it’s cold or wet, a waterproof coat, and I get the same comment! Standards are even lower here than in the city. I tend to look presentable as these fora might view it only a few times a week, sometimes only once! An observation appropriate to your avatar. By merely putting on a watch even the chambray and chinos looks dressier!
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Fading Fast, my not summer and not work outfit is Levis, chinos, or cords, a chambray workshirt or a Tee-shirt, and either a sweater or, if it’s cold or wet, a waterproof coat, and I get the same comment! Standards are even lower here than in the city. I tend to look presentable as these fora might view it only a few times a week, sometimes only once! An observation appropriate to your avatar. By merely putting on a watch even the chambray and chinos looks dressier!
Wow and I've always assumed it was the sport coat that made my outfit look so "dressed up" to others.
 
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