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Neckwear No More: Should Today's Workplaces Really Require Ties?

Men are dressing down, and the storied accessory might be on its way out.

tie a tie
Henry Phillips

Ties, which have been slowly fading from wardrobes for years now, might have finally met their match in 2020, when workers — at least those capable — stepped away from formal office spaces and began working from home. (Who the hell would wear a tie within the walls of their own abode?)

But with at least some of these same spaces set to reopen soon if not already, and wedding season seemingly in full swing, the question of whether or not there's room or reason for the neck accessory begs to be answered. The traditionally hard-to-keep-in-stock styles are stuck on the shelves, many menswear-focused retailers reveal.

Trend forecasters see seasons of self-expression and comfortable luxury ahead. Yes, the necktie can act as a statement accessory, but it isn't comfortable and shifting standards for what we considered "dressed up" have eliminated some of the uncertainty that comes with coming off too casual. Plus, it seems squeezing into made-to-measure tailoring might be a thing of the past, too — and that's when most people break out the big guns (aka ties).

"More than 25 percent of consumers have a new size today. And then they’re taking a look at what are the trends, and this new looser fit that we led early on in the pandemic is definitely taking hold," Levi's CEO Chip Bergh told AP. Fittingly, jeans are booming, too, in favor of dressier bottoms.

"For example, in men’s, tuxedos have traded to suits, suits have traded to khakis and dress shirts, khakis have traded to denim and polos," Kohl's Chief Merchandising Officer, Doug Howe, told NBC News.

That being said, perhaps dressing up again can assist with adjusting to a reopened world. (Look better, feel better, you know?) But, just as much else has changed in the last calendar year, "dressing up" seems different for everyone — and, we can say this for sure, fewer deem it suit and tie exclusively. Still, though there are the staunch few that never missed a beat.

If you're feeling uncertain about curtailing tailored clothing altogether, ditch the tie but keep the blazer. Underneath, wear a collared shirt buttoned all the way to the top, a crisp, clean T-shirt (no graphics, please) or, depending on the occasion, nothing at all. Turn to these stylish folks for inspiration.

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