The first day at work I didn’t wear a tie. It didn’t occur to me at the time that I took a risk and could have made a bad first impression but, no one else wore one either.It was soon after that I realised why I didn’t see ties being worn around the office after trying one on a couple of times: the struggle to put in on properly in the morning, having to consider that the tie I was wearing had to complement my shirt and the noose-like feeling from doing up the top button while wearing a tie (something which I later learnt to be an issue with wearing shirts with the wrong neck sizes).
The necktie is the suiting accessory par excellence. However, although it is important that men working in the corporate workforce put an effort into maintaining a professional appearance, many question whether the tie is still relevant in the workplace. Given that it is no longer a dress requirement in the eyes of many employers today, the popularity of the necktie has waned in business districts which a brief inspection of corporate workers at public transport stands will evince.
However depending on the workplace, there are good reasons to wear one:
- Visually speaking, the tie represents the focal point of a man’s outfit. For those who attend meetings with employees and clients, the tie can draw attention to the speaker and will add emphasis to their verbal actions. Furthermore it leaves a solid first impression-especially during job interviews-and can impress clients with its professional appearance.
- An appropriately coloured tie can enhance the wearer’s presence as there are certain associations that can be drawn from its colour. For example, a red tie represents power and authority which is why it is Barack Obama’s tie of choice during his public speeches.
However that is not to say that wearing a tie is always the best option for every workplace. Those who are not required to wear one to work and have opted not to do so would have likely avoided the following:
- The tie accidentally landing into liquids or substances (especially if you’re in financial banking) during lunch breaks
- The frustration of making sure the tie is adjusted to an acceptable (both fashionable and professional) length
- The satisfying smack of it hitting you in the face during turbulent weather and getting in the way of private “business”
Although current social trends have seen ties being an optional accessory it is still imperative that a tie is worn to a corporate job interview. This comes back to the idea of leaving a good first impression with your potential employer. Additionally for many workplaces tie are still mandatory (e.g legal offices) and the decision to wear one may ultimately depend on your organisation’s culture.
However as more workplaces are introducing smart casual Fridays, in many workplaces there is a greater expectation not to dress up but rather dress down just a little. If the current trend of dressing down continues eventually we may see smart casual wear not just on Fridays but throughout the whole working week. However that isn’t permission to neglect your professional appearance. If the dress code is casual it should always be smart.