The Modern "Necktie Party:" Time to Hang With the Cool Kids

For those of us young enough to remember toys never having actual metal pieces and cartoons free of Winston cigarette commercials, the idea of a "Necktie Party" might sound like an upscale, civilized option for a birthday celebration.  But before you go scribbling down invitations on your Hello Kitty stationary, you might be interested to know that in the early 20th century, a "necktie party" was actually a nickname for a good old fashioned hanging--as in the kind where the chief guest(s) of the party had most of the feet-dangling, neck-breaking fun.  And if that doesn't sound fun enough, invite Grandma, because most of these social festivities were also quality, family-friendly lynchings.

Now if you find yourself staring at this post's title and wondering how I'm ever going to incorporate a rant on re-instituting public executions into a style blog--Don't Panic, you'll have to endure nothing of the sort.  Instead, I would like to illustrate an irony of sorts in the modern male consciousness.  I would like to think that up to a few seconds ago, hardly anyone (including myself) was aware right off the top of their heads what the phrase "necktie party" really meant, thus allowing you, my readers, now to count yourselves among the few.  And yet as distant and dated as this phrase may be, is it not odd that men all around the world still grumble and bewail every morning to their wives about how they hate wearing those odd little pieces of fabric around their necks that the disconnected corporate tycoons have forced upon them in their workweek bondage?  That odd little accessory about which journalist Linda Ellerbee once remarked:
"If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?"
I'm sure by now many of your are rigorously nodding your heads in agreement.  And it is true to some extent.  I have often wondered what our first contact with extraterrestrials might reveal about our sense of fashion, as the commander of the spacecraft points confused at the nearest reporter's neckwear and begins to joke with his buddies in an indistinguishable telepathic language similar to the way Asian women secretly discuss your feet during a pedicure. It is as confusing as it is pointless:
    With that being said, however, this is in fact NOT a post that whines about the injustices of having to wear neckties out in public--sadly, there has already been way too much of that sentiment recently.  And the truth is, the days of men wearing suits and ties nearly everywhere they went are rapidly coming to an end  in general.  Thus, now (more than ever) it is actually the style dandy that chooses to throw on the tie when everyone least expects it.

As one of my lady friends said once, "It doesn't matter if a guy just chose what to wear out of the pile of clothes thrown on his floor...if he puts a tie with it, he instantly looks like he put more thought into what he should wear than 95% of guys." 

Let's roll through some of the most common excuses that men use to skimp on the neckwear.  Mind you, all of the excuses are rather lame, so if you have a legitimate one, if you could keep that to yourself it would be most appreciated.

EXCUSE #1: But It's Casual Friday!
Refined style is not about what brand of clothing you have or being the "wild-card" guy that can't ever match but fools himself into thinking he can pull it off.   It's about throwing in the little something extra that your corporate zombie pals at the copy machine didn't think about.  Instead of the standard issue polo, reach for a patterned shirt and anchor it with a slim, cotton or wool tie in a solid color.  Feel free to loosen up and leave the top button for the Monday-Thursday crowd--it's casual Friday after all.  Throw it all on with a pair of slim jeans and smart shoes and you're guaranteed to look like you, for one, didn't leave your brain and dignity at the dry cleaners until Monday.  
EXCUSE #2: But I Don't Know Where to Look For Ties!
Now this one I can understand.  If you're like me, you too have the horrifying memories of marching through every department store in a 100-mile radius of your home with your mother trying to find that exact shade of pinkish-purplish-bluish-brown from your prom date's dress in an endless swirl of overly-priced, paisley style transgressions.  Then, when you had nearly completed your noose made of silk Chaps ties, you'd find that one tie with a single stripe of her color--and there was much rejoicing.  Fortunately for most of us those days are over, and looking back, it's much smarter to go neutral anyway in a classic black suit, white shirt, black tie combo (see EVERY guy at the Oscars).  But should you need to fill your arsenal with quality ties without breaking the bank, check out  Wool ties, knit ties, silk ties, slim ties, tie bars, cufflinks, and an included set of gentlemanly kahunas can be purchased here for just $15 a tie...which is absolutely unheard of if you've been to a J. Crew lately. 

EXCUSE #3: But My Job Makes Me Sweat!
If your job is one of the six represented options found in the Village People (such as a construction worker, biker, sailor, or Native American) then the style world might write you a pass to skip the tie.  Manual labor that could involve getting your tie caught in a cement mixer has every right to make a tie judgment call.  However, if you're just a bloke whose nervous avoidance of your tyrannical boss makes you sweat through a shirt before's time to man up.  Think about it, you know who wears ties to work no matter how dirty the job gets?  James Bond.  The man can go from sipping martinis to chasing an enemy informant through the streets of Madagascar...and he does it all while looking as blasted dashing as he did when he left MI6 that morning.  The exception is the below picture of Bond in Quantum of Solace in which we crashes a plane in the desert and has to walk to the nearest town.  In such instances, you may ditch the tie if you feel necessary.  But notice the top button of the jacket still elegantly fastened.  Take note gentlemen.  Go against the flow and tie up--it may be the best moment of inspiration you have all week.   


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