Look around you. How many of your colleagues are wearing neckties?
All of them?
Some of them?
Maybe none of them?
It's tough to assess the necessity of men's neckties in 2020 when every man works in a different environment with different uniform expectations.
How can you tell whether wearing a necktie is necessary when every workplace and social event has its own rules?
It's a polarising topic – and it's what I'm covering in today's style battle: Necktie vs No Necktie.
Let's get ready to rumble!
According to ABC News – A Gallup poll found that 67% of men never wear neckties at work. Instead, they opt for more casual business attire.
And in a post I saw over on Reddit, one user stated:
‘I will always wear a tie. I legitimately look down upon people who don't dress for the occasion. Someone's getting married, and they can't put on a tie?' – u/AManofWealthandTaste
A strong statement, to say the least.
So how is it that the majority of American men tend to stick to casual business attire but public opinion still seems to rate the necktie as a valuable addition to any man's wardrobe?
Today we'll find out in the ultimate showdown between the popped collar and formal necktie.
Necktie vs No Necktie: Round 1 – Attraction
Pro: Women Love Neckties
Whether it's wearing neckties at work or to formal events – the fact remains that women love neckties in 2022.
Why? It's all about power and status, gents. A necktie gives you a professional-looking edge that stacks you up above the average jeans and shirt-wearing man.
But don't just take my word for it – listen to the science.
Renowned Psychologist C. Nathan DeWall at the University of Kentucky surveyed 400 women and found that a man's social status can directly affect a woman's attraction level to you.
Does that mean all men have to live in a mansion and drive a Rolls Royce to find a woman? Absolutely not.
It's all about the perception of class – dress the part, and you'll instantly give off high society vibes. Wearing a tie can be a great way to achieve that as fewer men are seen donning them in 2022.
There's a lot of science to back up the wearing of neckties instead of casual business attire. In fact, a 2016 study by bows-and-ties.com found that 72% of women are turned on when a man wears a tie on a date.
Now, I'm not saying that ties are gonna guarantee a successful end to a date night – but it seems they definitely help your chances with over 70% of women. With a success rate like that, you'd be an idiot not to go for a necktie.
Con: Men's Neckties Are A Turn Off
It's well known that a well-fitting suit does for women what lingerie does for men. However, a tie doesn't have to be part of the equation.
Some would argue that a tie can actually ruin a man's chances of getting a second date.
Picture this: you're meeting a date for a drink. You arrive and see her standing at the bar looking great in a pair of jeans and a nice top. She's working that smart-casual aesthetic like a pro.
But then it hits you. You've got a tie on and look like you're going to a wedding.
Big mistake – you're gonna stand out for all the wrong reasons. You look too formal, and she's gonna think you're fishing for attention.
It's important to think smart when it comes to dressing for a date. The aim is to look cool, laid back, and relaxed – wearing a necktie presents you as the complete opposite of this. Instead, opt for casual business attire, so you still look smart but don't seem as though you're overdoing it.
Put simply; women want a sleek and modern man – not someone who dresses like their grandfather.
Round 2 – Confidence
Pro: Neckties Make You Feel Great
It's a fact. Confident = attractive.
What's more confident than a man wearing a bold and powerful necktie?
Men's neckties are a symbol of a man's confidence in himself. When you sport neckties in 2022, you’re telling the world that you’re not afraid to be bold. Doing this will mean self-confidence will ooze through everything you do subconsciously.
If you look great, you feel great.
If you feel great, then you will naturally hold yourself with more presence and power.
Once again, the necktie shines through as an awesome tool to leverage the power of public perception. When you wear one and walk with confidence, those around you will assume you possess higher powers and greater responsibilities.
How do I know this? Mark Richardson (one of my colleagues and guest poster at Artofmanliness) found that wearing a tie every day for a year gave him:
- Increased confidence
- Greater recognition among co-workers
- More responsibility
- More opportunities
By simply allowing himself to feel more confident while wearing a necktie in 2022, Mark improved his life chances and heightened his colleagues' perception of him.
Now that's what I call a power tie.
Con: Neckties Oppress Self Expression
How can a man express himself when he's dressed the same as every other guy in his office?
Losing the necktie is a far better way of presenting yourself as unique and interesting as you break away from the norm and demonstrate your confidence through the ‘art of underdressing.'
The art of underdressing doesn't mean dressing inappropriately. Instead, it means to test acceptable work/formal attire boundaries and demonstrate your personality through a more relaxed wardrobe choice.
If you still want accessories – there's always the option of fashionable men's accessories like Darkknot's lapel pins to add variety to your casual business attire.
The fact is that ties are becoming less common in the workplace and at formal social gatherings. So much so that wearing a tie can often make you stand out from the crowd and decrease your confidence. It's hard not to feel self-conscious when all eyes are on you for being the odd one out.
Nothing looks more insecure than constantly checking and fiddling with your tie because you think people are judging you for it. Keep that in mind, gents – it might be best to lose the tie and not have to worry about people's opinions of you.
Round 3 – Career
Pro: Men's Neckties Improve Your Professional Appearance
In both work and personal life, a man must command respect when the need arises.
The necktie has a long-running history as a garment that men wear when they want to be respected by those around them. Regardless of whether you are the boss of a multinational company or an intern trying to kick start your career, the tie is vital to the art of ‘dressing to impress.'
Typically, the first judgments made about a man are not on his personality but on his appearance. We live in a shallow world, guys, but the fact is your appearance is the first thing people notice before they've even had time to greet you and shake your hand. Casual business attire can give off the wrong impression almost instantly.
So the rule in business is to dress to impress – particularly if you are going for a meeting or job interview.
Zachary Kevorkian, in a 2020 blog post “Why I Wear a Tie Every Day (Even Though I Don’t Have To)” on osmosis.org, found that:
- Wearing a tie every day makes him “feel confident and professional.”
- Wearing a tie established a certain expectation among his colleagues.
- As his relationship with his peers improved, so did his work.
- On a day to dad basis, he was getting more done and not staying up late to finish projects.
Donning a men's necktie indicates that you hold yourself to a higher standard – you don't want to simply meet your career expectations. Instead, you aim to exceed them.
Think about the process of a meeting or job interview. Your client or potential boss will be meeting with multiple men and will have to choose which candidate is at the top of his game. You have the option to either wear a tie (and potentially look overdressed) or to lose the tie (and potentially look underdressed).
The overdressed man shows an eagerness and willingness to strive for the very best.
The underdressed man looks like a slob who doesn't understand how to dress appropriately.
Which of these two guys would you rather be? I think the answer's pretty obvious, but I'll let you decide.
Con: Neckties Make You Look Too Conservative
Businesswear isn't a black and white topic. Depending on the company, dressing in a suit and tie can look just as inappropriate as coming to work in sweatpants.
Businesses that operate in creative industries like fashion, advertising, and media production want to find candidates that can think outside the box.
Considering that the tie is a very traditional accessory within the world of hard-headed businessmen, opting for a tie when attending an interview in a creative industry can make you seem antiquated and unapproachable.
‘Ties can be left behind, replaced by a snug, fine-gauge sweater in a block color, layered peacefully under the jacket.' – Dmarge.com
A great point considering that many industries are becoming more open to more casual business attire.
The lesson to be learned here is that ties are not the go-to interview accessory for every job on the market. Some positions are more likely to judge you negatively for wearing a tie than see it as a sign of professionalism, so make sure you do your research and consider a necktie alternative if the occasion calls for it.
Round 4 – Physicality
Pro: Men's Neckties Make You Look More Appealing
One of the key benefits of wearing a tie is its ability to frame and draw attention to the face.
A man's face is his best tool for communicating with the world around him – so the more attention that is drawn to it, the better.
The tie helps with this by complimenting the jawline and literally creating an arrow that points from the waist to the face. It's natural for people's eyes to follow lines of interest – so having a tie that leads directly to the face is a great way of commanding the attention of those around you.
Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!
Stand in front of the mirror wearing a tie and observe how it directs your sight upwards. Now, remove the tie. Your focus is suddenly off, right? That's because your eyes have lost their line of attention, so struggle to find a focus point.
Additionally, ties also focus attention on the center of your body by leading the eyes away from your hips – which for our dad-bod readers will be a great tool for looking slimmer and fitter. When someone’s eyes focus on your tie, the sides of the body seen in your periphery are blurred out, improving the wearer's perceived size.
The same goes for height – a skinnier men's necktie can make you look taller by drawing the eye up and down the body, giving the illusion of a more elongated torso.
Basically, gents, it's all about creating optical illusions that heighten and thin out your physique. A tie can achieve both of these things through careful styling, making it a fantastic accessory to leverage people's perception of your physicality. Achieving this with casual business attire is trickier as there are fewer ways to create attention-grabbing lines and shapes.
Con: Men's Neckties Damage Your Health
A 2018 study in the National Library of Medicine by Robin Luddecke called “Should you stop wearing neckties?” found that wearing a tie can result in a 7.5% drop in cerebral blood flow to the brain.
What does this mean in layman's terms? Simple: although a 7.5% drop in blood flow doesn't seem too drastic, it could end up causing more frequent headaches, dizziness, and nausea if you wear a tie for too long.
I don't know about you guys, but those little inconveniences annoy the hell out of me. If losing the necktie can prevent me from reaching for the Aspirin every five minutes, then count me in.
Luddecke's work isn't the only flag being flown for the abolishment of neckties.
In fact, a 2003 study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology called “Effect of a tight necktie on intraocular pressure” found that wearing a tie can end up causing a backup of blood through the jugular vein, which leads to the eye.
If the pressure builds up towards the eye, medical conditions such as Glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve) and Cataracts (patches in the eye's lens that reduce the quality of sight) become far more likely as time goes on.
It's shocking to think that the simple act of tying your necktie in the morning has the potential to lead to both daily inconveniences and some pretty serious health conditions later in life.
I wonder how many men would consider looking ‘smart' more important than their health and eyesight. Wouldn't it be better to go for casual business attire and save your long term health?
Final Round – Authority
Pro: Men's Neckties Command Respect and Symbolize Strength
Think about the sorts of people who wear neckties regularly.
- Company directors – think Kevin O'Leary or Tom Ford
- High ranking military officials – General Mark A. Milly (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
- Presidents and Royalty from around the world – Prince Charles (The Prince of Wales) or Emannuel Macron (President of France)
Coincidence? Absolutely not.
All of these men need to command respect in their places of work. They're at the top of their game and need to demonstrate a certain level of authority to stay there.
How can a men's necktie help to achieve this? A psychological study by Stanley Milgram proved that people obey those they perceive to hold authority as a result of their looks.
The Milgram Shock Experiment – conducted in 1963 – set out to test the extent to which humans obey orders from those that look as though they hold knowledge and authority.
To do this, Milgram conducted several rounds of experiments in which participants delivered increasingly high-voltage shocks to a patient in a separate room.
Every time the participant shocked Milgram's ‘patient', an actor was instructed to scream in agony. Despite the screams, the majority (65%) of participants obeyed the doctor's orders and continued to shock until the patient fell silent.
Were all of these participants blood-hungry psychopaths? No.
The reason they obeyed the doctor's orders was simply a result of his authoritative appearance. His participants recognized a lab coat as a symbol of knowledge and power in his field, which influenced them to obey his every command.
A tie can also have this effect – it creates the perception of power and will subconsciously influence those around you to take you seriously.
Con: Authority? It's Just A Fad
Over the course of the last century, the necktie has come to symbolize many different statuses and opinions among men.
Sure – in the 1980s, a strong-looking tie was a symbol of power and high fashion. Men who wore power ties (ties with bright patterns and bold colors) were perceived as having superior business and financial success – perfectly captured in Christian Bale's portrayal of Patrick Bateman (The American Psycho).
However, if you go back another 20 years to the swinging 60s, men's neckties were a symbol of the ‘Establishment' and made you come across as a ‘square'. To wear a tie in the 60s meant you were too uptight to go with the flow and probably had connections to the sorts of corporations many people were protesting against at the time. The Hippy movement of the mid-1960s did not favor government officials and big businesses.
The fluctuation in necktie popularity is only too evident in today's society. Many men are once again questioning the validity of the necktie as a power garment.
It's argued that soon it will once again fade into obscurity leaving wearers looking strange and out of place.
As for the Milgram experiment? Sure, it's convincing on the surface but did you know many of its participants admitted afterward that they had suspected foul play all along?
I don't know about you but that casts a lot of doubt in my mind as to whether those men truly felt obligated to follow the doctor's orders simply because he wore a lab coat.
Post Fight Analysis – Are Men's Neckties Obsolete?
Both sides put up a strong fight and presented us with some pretty convincing arguments.
Having counted the points, our panel of expert analysts are pleased to announce that wearing a necktie is far more stylish and respectable than casual business attire.
The necktie will forever be a statement of authority, dignity, and respect.
Regardless of fashion trends – the necktie has stuck around for better or for worse. It might get knocked down every 20 years or so, but it always gets back up throwing punches stronger than it did before.
At the end of the day, men's neckties will always come to represent the very best in formal wear. Whether it be at a wedding or in the office, a man looks better when he wears a necktie. Period.
In the immortal words of Mr. David Gandy – British male model and Dolce and Gabbana frontman – when asked why he wears a tie:
“I think it’s important to show respect to the event or situation you are invited to be part of”
Do the smart thing, gents. Wear a necktie with pride and show the world you're not afraid to dress to the nines.
Some people might judge you for it but, let's be honest, the guys in their casual business attire don't look anywhere near as good as you do in that necktie.
Good luck, guys.
Did you know there are at least 18 ways to tie a standard necktie? Click here to check out my ultimate guide to tying a tie.