Friday, 12 October 2012

Personalised or personality-less

Recently, Lord Bassington-Bassington found himself chained outside a cinema in the West End of Oslo. As a consequence, His Lordship had plenty of time to watch workers leave their offices, and reflect on their appearance. And what struck the good Hound was how pervasive the trend of wearing suits without neckwear had become.

This is a bad idea. The reason is that men's business suits tend to be made of dark and, let's face it, rather drab material. The reason for this is, of course, that men prefer to look... well, masculine. And that businessmen prefer to look like… business. This is fine. But it is also why neckwear is so necessary.

For it is through the choice of ties, bows, cravats, pocket handkerchiefs and similar accessories that one injects individuality into the suit. It is the matching of tie and hankie, or the more dapper bow tie that shows your personality through the rather uniform look of the business suit.

Thus, remove the neckwear (and hankie) and you remove the personality.

It is perhaps ironic that it is when you dispense of the tie that you actually achieve the corporate drone or conformist look that you're desperately trying to avoid. It gets even worse when Nordic men try to unbutton the top two or three buttons of their shirts, a look that one needs darker complexions to carry off. A typically pale Nordic chest should, as a rule, never be inflicted on one's fellow citizens.

While Lord Bassington-Bassington is obviously above working, having a job is nothing to be ashamed of (after all, somebody has to take care of certain important matters). Fitting in is no sin either. So embrace the fact that you are wearing a suit by complementing it with accessories that show your personality. And celebrate your gender.

If you don't want to take Lord Bassington-Bassington's word for it, listen to our old friend Major Hoad lecture on the subject.

And if that isn't enough to convince you, here is famed Soho tailor Mark Powell musing on ties:

“I'm all for individuality but not wearing a tie with a suit just isn't cool. People think wearing a suit with an open shirt is somehow anti-uniform. It's not. It's cheesy TV presenter.”

(from this article, which is admittedly rather cheesy too).

There are, however, times when a suit without silken accessories would be acceptable. One example would be if you are a devout Muslim and find yourself praising God at an Islamic holy site. As certain Hadiths proscribe the wearing of silk for men (though like all Islamic teachings they are hotly debated), and Islamic holy sites tend to be located in climes where a woolen tie would simply not work, skipping the tie is perfectly acceptable on such occasions.

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