Now who’s the cool one?


Yes, that’s me, the old guy with the jacket and tie on. You see, with the very odd exception, I always wear a tie for work. I feel naked without one and somehow that I’m not really working but skiving off. I also like to differentiate my work clothes from what I wear at home. For information, I never wear a tie at home.

There are not many of us left now, only gentlemen of a certain age. There was a time when a tie was essential to complete your business attire, but today the majority of people in the business world wear a suit with an open necked shirt, unless that is you work in digital.

Any self-respecting knowledge worker wouldn’t be seen dead in a tie, other than for weddings, funerals, court appearances and, perhaps when they are actually dead. At first the move away from formal business clothing was an anti-establishment dig. We’re different, we don’t need to conform, we work with our minds and don’t need to kowtow to conventions.

The amusing thing though is that last week I was at a Digital Union event, an organization that represents the digital creative sector. When I got there it was wall-to-wall check shirts and denim. Oxfords had been replaced with trainers and briefcases with rucksacks. In a crowd of about seventy there were two tie wearers, two men of advancing years who were still more comfortable with former more acceptable standards of business dress.

It was like school non-uniform day. In their desire to be unconventional and non-conformist everyone had resorted in effect to wearing the same outfit. They had become the very thing they never intended to be, that is except for us two. 

You may think that Douglas and I (I had to introduce myself) are at the fading end of a long tradition yet one day ties will make a comeback and then we will be recognised as at the vanguard of a new trend, fashion icons indeed. People will be in awe of how cool we are.

Well, you never know.

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