Shortly after my dark comedy storybook “These Are Our Failures” came out last January, The Rake showed me a fine writeup they did. Then the virus hit and it was never published, apparently, as I heard, because men weren’t interested in neckties at the present time. Of course, that is the entire point of the story: the fragile nature of masculine elegance, and how it is the necktie and not the suit that holds the whole formula together. Indeed, a character predicts that a pandemic could bring about social chaos and irreconcilable political division, and that this could be enough to permanently arid-out the fertile cultural ground necessary for the tie to flourish.
Let us hope we are not there yet. The Rake recently published the piece, which is entitled “The Tie Is Dead, Long Live The Tie.” Christian Barker writes:
Menswear author Christian Chensvold has long simultaneously heralded and mourned the tie’s slow and painful death. In 2019 he published a short book, These Are Our Failures, that charts the experiences of a journalist on assignment for a “slick sartorial bible from Singapore” (hmm, sounds familiar), investigating the demise of the necktie as it dovetails with the fall of civilization and subsequent apocalypse.
One of Chensvold’s nattily-attired fictional characters, a menswear obsessive going by the StyleForum handle Scary_Grant, rants that the trend toward eschewing ties has “reached the irreversible”, indicating that dressiness in general is on its last legs.
“If ‘dressing up’ were a person,” he suggests, “it would not be a boulevardier fawned over by the society pages. It would be an old man in a nursing home, sporting a boutonniere that foreshadows the flowers at his own coming funeral.” Ties, Scary_Grant opines, have literally tied everything together, menswear-wise, for more than 200 years. “The very concept of what it means to be well dressed falls apart without the necktie.”
You’ll find The Rake piece here, while my book is available exclusively from Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Funny how life imitates art.
Surprised Cary Grant had to look in a mirror to tie a tie.
If one is known for a a very tight knot with a prefect dimple, yes one needs a mirror.
I don’t have to look in a mirror to tie a tie, but I like to use a mirror so that I can finesse the knot, make sure the length is right, etc.
Well said. The tie in a man’s outfit is like the keystone of an arch. The integrity of the whole depends upon its presence.