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May 16, 2009

Men and mysteries

Yesterday I cut my hair short and wore a tie for the first time.

No, this has nothing to do with writing like a man. And I should point out that I also wore a pink dress and heels. The theme for the Argument release party was gin and ties*.

When I walked in the door, I was greeted by the hostess, also wearing a tie of course, who told me we should form a club for girls who tie their own ties.

And so, the mystery: Why do men act as if getting dressed is difficult for them? Tying a tie is roughly on the same level of difficulty as tying shoelaces. It's not intuitive for most. You have to learn the method. But once you know that, you're set. There's a built-in limit to how good you can be at tying things.

Yet people still wear ties without knowing how to tie them. And movies still have scenes where women help grown men get dressed (A YouTube search to find these scenes failed, but they are out there! Pretty Woman for one). 

Clearly, there are different ways of tying ties. In fact, there is a trend in British school uniforms for clip-ons because they stop kids from trying to tie their ties in a creative way. Yup, this is considered a problem at British schools: boys who tie their ties in a non-standard way in an effort to be individuals. And in the show Skins, boys wear ties as scarves, which I strangely love.

But if you're not trying to rebel against the dress code, simply putting on that one accessory is not all that complicated.

Watch and learn everybody:

Style For Men: How To Tie A Tie - The Full Windsor Knot

Photos: Michael Coté (who can't tie his own tie) and Wade M (Why do men wear ties? See the discussion after Wade M's photo)

* I know! Great party theme, right?!?!

Posted by Julie at May 16, 2009 12:23 PM

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"Why do men wear ties?"

In my case, because there are some types of events where not wearing one is even today considered offensive. Luckily these events are rare.

I'm still trying to understand why formal men's wear remains stuck in the 19th century - my theory is that we can't stand the pressure of selecting good-looking clothes for important occasions, so we hide behind a common uniform, and use the tie to ensure a minimal pretense of individuality.

Posted by: Bjørn Stærk at May 16, 2009 3:08 PM

The Full Windsor knot? That is for sophisticated high school boys (according to Paul Fussell, and I quite agree) and car salesmen. Pu-leeze....

That being said, a tie worn at the job (especially if striped) has now become the symbol of the low-level clerk or service employee. Add a polyester jacket, and you've got a McDonald's manager uniform.

Mid-level managers don't wear ties anymore (at least not in Norway, Shanghai, and New England, by my observation), so actually showing up in one is in itself an individualistic act. Top management in large companies do, mostly when they have to appear on TV to explain why they need government aid.

Bowties, on the other hand....

Posted by: Espen [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2009 4:08 PM

Hair how short? Very curious!

Posted by: Eva at May 18, 2009 8:35 AM