The tie’s demise

The best news I’ve read this week:

After 60 years, the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association, the trade group that represents American tie makers, is expected to shut down Thursday.

Association members now number just 25, down from 120 during the 1980s power-tie era. U.S. tie companies have been consolidating. Others have closed because of overseas competition as the U.S. market share for American-made ties has fallen to about 40%, from 75% in 1995.

Members have lost interest. But the biggest reason for the group’s demise: Men aren’t wearing ties.

I especially like these paragraphs:

Some members of the neckwear association sensed the trend two years ago when, at the group’s annual luncheon in New York, a number of people turned up tieless. Marty Staff, chief executive of men’s clothing company JA Apparel Corp., which has a big neckwear business, was one of them.

“It was deliberate,” explains Mr. Staff, who says he wanted to make a statement to his colleagues. “Historically, the guy wearing the navy suit, the white shirt and the burgundy tie would be the CEO. Now he’s the accountant,” Mr. Staff explains.

And this one nails it:

The problem for neckwear designers, as for regular guys, is that a tie no longer automatically conveys the authority and respectability it once did, even if it does cause some people to call you sir. In fact, it can be a symbol of subservience and of trying too hard.

The obligatory necktie is an absurd requirement, especially in a swampy town like Washington, DC where so many people walk, Metro, bus, or bike to work. It’s hot, constricting, and adds considerably to the cost of a wardrobe. Many men hate their ties too much to bother making them look good, and ties are no longer the only way to convey an image of authority. Their time as an everyday necessity has passed.

Washington, of course, will be the last place to get the memo.

[Via TMN.]


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