Social Question

Corporate_Avenger's avatar

Why do men wear ties to show formality and that they are "dressed up"?

Asked by Corporate_Avenger (1405points) December 17th, 2009

Where did this idea come from? Was it arbitrary? Couldn’t we just as easily change the requirement to be that a proper businessman or someone in business attire must glue a lemon custard to his shirt to show that he is conforming to the societal rules? Your thoughts are awaited with baited breath…that should explain the fish smell.

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13 Answers


It’s not really a way to show that they’re “dressed up” or a way to show formality. It’s more a way of showing respect and dignity in certain situations——eg., if a particular job requires it or a social setting——at a funeral for example. A man, for example, should not wear a t-shirt or an open shirt when he works in a bank or if attends a funeral. To do so would be to show disrespect to his clients or to the family of the dead person. It also shows that the man takes the time to tend to his appearance, and not to look to casually or as if he “doesn’t care.”

Corporate_Avenger's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES – Okay, but where did that convention come from? Who decided a piece of cloth tied tightly about one’s neck was the way to go with showing props to the dead, or a boss…or whatever?

Arisztid's avatar

This site has a detailed answer to this question with further links.

It is actually quite interesting.

A lemon custard might not make it through a business meeting and would be a bit messy.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Over a half hour and no jokes about phallic symbolism! I’m completely dished!

Corporate_Avenger's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflopI sent out a memo after we spoke.

mattbrowne's avatar

Societal rules do change. There’s casual Friday for example. Silicon Valley has changed dressed codes. Hats come and go.

CMaz's avatar

I have been known to wear a tie with shorts and wearing topsiders.

I guess it is a Florida thing.

Grisaille's avatar

It covers the shirt buttons.

Cruiser's avatar

I like to wear them and walk out back into the manufacturing area and walk dangerously close to the industrial mixers. It adds to the excitement of my desk job.

Corporate_Avenger's avatar

@Cruiser – Nothing like the feel of a keen razor’s edge.

Cruiser's avatar

@Corporate_Avenger It’s casual Friday so I will have to settle for an unbuttoned sleeve of my corduroy shirt. I may even untied a shoelace when I go out back!

downtide's avatar

I’d always assumed the purpose of a tie was to hide the shirt buttons.

Strauss's avatar

I had always assumed the original purpose of the tie was to hold the collar in place before you could buy shirts with collars!

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