One of the many benefits I have enjoyed with working from home is that I have not had to wear a tie. For the past eight months, I have not had to tie one around my neck. Before the pandemic and teleworking, wearing a tie or having one available was essential at times for my job.
Let me just say that I hate wearing ties. I grew up in church and often had to wear a tie and then I joined the military and wore a tie. I have never liked ties. Ever.
So I got to thinking recently about ties and wondered who came up with ties? What’s the deal with wearing them as an essential part of business attire?
Some variation of the neck tie actually dates back to 200-300 B.C. Soldiers of the Chinese Emporer Qin Shi Huang wore them to protect the Adam’s Apple which was thought to be the source of a man’s strength which is puzzling since it does nothing like that today.
We also have Croatian mercenaries who served in France in the 17th Century to thank for ties. They were the first to wear knotted neckerchiefs to signal their position and alliances. King Louis XIV of France admired the neckwear so much, he began wearing ties as a status style item.
So we can thank King Louis #14 for promoting this as a fashion statement.
In modern times, the neck tie entered the work place which divided the white collar workers from those who operated machine as some sort of symbol of social status. It has evolved into a constant in business attire. People still look at the neck tie as a distinguishing accessory for someone who is polished and professional. Although we all know this is far from the truth, it is still viewed as a necessity for the business professional. Ties are usually worn especially when attending traditionally formal or professional events, including weddings, important religious ceremonies, funerals, job interviews, court appearances, and fine dining.
In 2019, presidential candidate Andrew Yang drew attention when he appeared on televised presidential debates without a tie. Yang dismissed media questions about it, saying that voters should be focused on more important issues.
I don’t think you will see neck ties going away completely. They are less of an issue with the increase in numbers of people teleworking but there are still times – even virtually – that neck ties will be worn for Zoom or Webex meetings. People expect it and it continues to be a necessary accessory.