Tuesday, January 19, 2021

I have almost three dozen neckties that get little to no use

There was a time when I wore a tie five or even six days a week.

When I worked at the Cleveland Clinic, for example, I wore ties Monday through Thursday (and sometimes Friday depending on what was going on), and then I would wear a full suit on Sunday mornings for church.

Nowadays, my office (like most others) has gone business casual. And with the pandemic and subsequent work-from-home routine, my dress code has loosened even further.

Even for church my usual attire now is a sport coat with open shirt collar. I'll wear a tie only when I'm giving the exhortation, which happens about five times a year.

I just went into my closet and counted 35 very nice neckties hanging in there, most of which I haven't worn in years.

Some are very formal and were bought to match a particular dress shirt.

Others are informal, including the holiday-themed ties I have for Christmas and Valentine's Day.

None are likely to see the light of day more than once or twice in a calendar year...if even that often.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. I was always comfortable wearing a tie to work. It was never constricting to me, and honestly, the days when I wore suits were easier, sartorially speaking. Just match a suit with an appropriate dress shirt and tie (there were really only so many combinations, so even I couldn't screw it up), and you were good to go.

I always thought, too, that there was something to the idea of "dress professionally, act professionally." A tie didn't make me feel stuffy, it made me feel confident and well-dressed.

Of course, no one is stopping me from wearing a tie now. I could do it whenever I want. But I know that when I go back to the office, a tie always generates a lot of questions from people. Why the tie? What's the occasion? What made you decide to wear that?

My response, by the way, never varies. Unsmilingly, I look at them and respond, "I have a job interview today." At first they look surprised, then they realize I'm just messing with them.

I kind of miss tie-inspired humor.

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