The necktie industry has never seen so much press.
The buzz began when news came down that the Men’s Dress Furnishing Association, which used to boast 125 members but was down to 25, would be disbanding. Certainly, the demise of a “trade group”, especially one that has been around for 60+ years, is an important signal that things might not be hunky-dory in necktie land; however, the group contends that consolidation is the primary reason for the declining membership.
The Wall Street Journal threw fuel on the fire with a front-page article declaring that the tie is dead. It cited a recent Gallup Poll showing that only 6% of men wear ties to work, down from 10% in 2002. Whether or not this was “news” is debatable. While there has been much written in recent years about a return to professional attire in the workplace in the aftermath of the dot-com bust, many have argued that that was the work of PR firms hired by suit & tie manufacturers to push that narrative. I have yet to see evidence that between 2002 and 2008, there was an uptick in the number of men wearing ties to work.
Well, apparently, nothing gets Ben Stein’s boxers in a bunch more than a declaration that the necktie is dead. He penned a scathing defense of the tie that seems to be available only to subscribers of the Wall Street Journal.
I will be publishing my own, evolved thoughts on the necktie, its demise, and why that is a good thing, in an upcoming post. If the Wall Street Journal is lucky, I may let them reprint it.