Sunday, July 06, 2008

The decline of ties and neckwear

Citing a recent Gallup Poll, the Wall Street Journal reported that just 6 percent of men wear neckties to work everyday, a decline from 10 percent in 2002.  Responding to this steadily declining demand, American suppliers and manufacturers of neckwear announced the disbanding of the 60-year old Men's Dress Furnishings Association this summer. I find this of course unfortunate but at the same time ripe for some interesting analysis.

In fact, I see parallels between the decline of hatwearing and the decline and fall of the necktie. This is a subject I will treat in more depth in my book but suffice to say that I don't think we are seeing the death or complete extinction of ties.  In fact, ties will probably fare quite a bit better than brimmed hats since the end of World War II. The good news is that there will probably always be a segment of the population that will wear hats and ties regularly and/or stylishly (hopefully both regularly and stylishly).

This is borne out by the most recent results of my bespoke clothing survey, which indicates that less than 1 percent of bespoke customers never or very rarely wear a tie. Not too surprising for this group of men.  In fact, more than a third of them (about 36 percent) wear a suit or jacket and tie everyday. Another 28 percent wear a suit or jacket/tie a few times a week. So it appears that a majority of bespoke customers wear ties regularly. The difference going forward is the motivation: less compunction, more voluntary choice. Vive la cravate!

Additional links
- Wall Street Journal article (06/04/08)
- ABC News article (06/08/08)
- ABC News article (06/09/08)
- London Lounge thread on the "death of the tie"

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