My brother-in-law is a creature of habit. Every Christmas for as long as I can remember he has bought me a tie. It's done in a jokey way now, of course, now as it's a tradition he's persevered with for so long.
As a consequence, over the years, I have acquired a near cupboard-full of silk neck-pieces of many and various hues. But, despite all his valiant efforts to maintain a certain sartorial standard within my wardrobe, he's obviously not bought enough, for how else can you interpret the news that falling neckwear sales have put paid to that High Street institution Tie Rack?
Ties, it seems, are out of fashion, old hat, as it were. People don't wear them to work any more. Your chief executive, company accountant, managing director, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all turn up tie-less at their desk place these days more often than not.
It's trendy not to be constricted, you see. Me? I still make the effort. Though if I am honest I have never been able to tie a tie properly, despite everyone from my father to colleagues attempting to show me the neatest and best way to wear one. So you would think I might have been among the first to ditch the darned things but, no, it's become so ingrained, first at school and then, subsequently at work, that I just can't break the habit. And I know that, should I drop by the local magistrates court for a spot of reporting, I may well be told to exit the press box if I was not wearing one, as it is deemed insulting to the law and being improperly dressed. Or used to be.....
Such vanishing aspects of our daily lives, though, are not enough to save the demise of Tie Rack from the retail scene. It was all so different in the booming 80s when flashy suits went hand in glove with expensive silk neckwear.
Now, even if we should desire a tie to accompany the purchase of a smart shirt and suit, we'd purchase them all under the same roof on one single shopping trip, apparently, rather than pop into a specialist shop. So, effectively, men's fashion is becoming more slovenly.
For, just as poor old Tie Rack disappears, other retailers of menswear report not just an arrest in the sale of ties but a positive upturn. It's turning full circle fashion-wise and slimline ties (goodness they must be at the back of my wardrobe somewhere from the 60s), are on course to being a piece of gear to be seen in.
So all those reading this, sitting at their desks, suited and booted and tie-less, beware. You're not as trendy as you thought you were.
My suggestion is to get knotted. Quickly.