The perpetual “definition” of male professional dress is a wool suit, generally black, gray, or blue, a button down shirt, a belt, a pair of shoes, and a tie. The infamous tie. Many Wikipedia pages about ties exist with many reasons for how they came about. Some reasons discuss warmth, while others describe a way of keeping the shirt in one place close to the neck. Yet more pages describe as a homage to the flyers of the early 20th century (image: the Red Baron flying a bi-plane in World War I).
The thing is this: ties serve no functional purpose, it’s purely aesthetic. Even high-heeled shoes provide a benefit. In the words of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, “You can take the biggest, burliest truck driver in America and put him in a pair of high-heeled shoes, and he’s gonna walk like this.” (As he proceeds to stand on his calves describing how good his legs and butt look).
But the tie isn’t needed for warmth. We have scarves, hats, and other paraphernalia that we used in cold weather. It’s not for keeping our shirts tight at the top, that’s why we have buttons.
The tie is merely aesthetic. It looks nice, sometimes, as long as its wearer displays it at the correct height. But in the end, all we do is spill food and drink on our ties, get them caught in shredders, and occasionally turn them upside down to mockingly hang ourselves.
To me, the argument is simple: Functionality = 0; Potential for problems = 100.
And this is an argument I made before the COVID-19 pandemic changed “professional workplace attire” forever. Many people are wearing hoodies and sweatpants for work meetings, and the shift to telework is likely permanent.
So let’s live in the modern world and ditch the ties.
If you must, wear a tie, considering going the inexpensive route on Amazon and get six ties for a great price, like the ones below.