To tie or not to tie

I had a great time media training Jellyfish last week – lovely people and one of their clients, Hari Ghotra, a chef who makes (as I discovered last night) very good curry kits.

It was a media company so I should have guessed – I was the only person wearing a tie (not the one in the picture above which is an old one, don’t worry, I haven’t suddenly put on a load of weight!). And a suit. But was this so wrong? Let me add that they said nothing at all to make me feel uncomfortable. This Daily Telegraph piece certainly suggests wearing a tie is essential for a man in business, but I do wonder.

The Telegraph points to a number of companies that actively discourage tie-wearing. Google, Amazon and a few others will actively dissuade the tie-wearers among us.

Choice

This, frankly, is where I draw the line. You can turn up to a meeting with me wearing what you like and I won’t bat an eyelid, I promise. It’s entirely up to you.

I will object, though, if you try to tell me what to wear. And if I decide I look better tailored than casual, that’s probably what I’ll do.

I suppose I’m just being lazy. Historically, business attire has been very easy for men and less so for women. Granted in the summer it can get uncomfortably hot but essentially, if you’re a bloke, “put on a suit and tie” is a passport to acceptance just about anywhere. Well-fitted is best and a lively tie is better than a boring one (be careful though: an old friend had a wedding anniversary once and wore the Scooby Doo tie he’d been given to church that morning, only to be greeted with the news that Princess Diana had died that morning).

If you have an important client (hint: every client is important) or if you’re being put in front of an audience, a tie is a signal not that you’re serious or competent but that you’re taking them seriously, you’re playing the game and making an effort for them.

It’s no substitute for content or manner, of course. But I don’t think I’m going to go tieless habitually just yet when there’s a client involved.

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