Are Ties Really Dead?
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Are Ties Really Dead?

While it’s increasingly rare to spot a tie in the workplace, this once-essential accessory could be making a comeback in less-expected settings.

By Todd Plumber
Wed, May 11, 2022 11:27amGrey Clock 3 min

IN 2019, Christian Conner was pondering buying a membership to Soho House, a social club in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The then-28-year-old media consultant showed up for a tour of this playground for the hipster elite in his classic “preppy with a twist” uniform—sport coat, trousers and one of his prized Gucci ties. All was going swimmingly, he recalled, until his guide turned to him and said, “Hey, you should take off your tie. We want to create a more casual atmosphere and discourage people from wearing ties.” Mr. Conner was gobsmacked. “I thought, this is crazy. This tie is cool as hell, so why would you tell me not to wear it?” (When asked for comment, a Soho House representative sent a link to the House Rules page of its website which requests that members and guests “keep it casual.”)

Interest in ties has been waning for some time, but the last two years of schlubby-comfy pandemic dressing have particularly dimmed their future. Business formal has taken on a near-death mien, and for many months, our collective dance card of tie-required events like weddings, bar mitzvahs and blowout birthday fetes was effectively erased. Even as we’ve approached a new normal, fewer and fewer back-to-the-office and party dress codes call for a smartly knotted tie. Can this once-essential accessory be saved?

Certain men feel strongly that it should, yet even some professionals who once wore ties daily now hesitate to sport them to work for fear of being teased. Investor George Birman, 33, of Shelter Island, N.Y., spent years building out his tie repertoire for business dinners, client meetings and the like. His prized collection now sits “neatly folded in its drawer,” lonely and dusty, he said. “And if I show up to the office with a tie these days, someone will make a joke and ask, ‘How was your interview?’”

Even so, the tie market isn’t quite catatonic. According to Macy’s men’s general business manager Sam Archibald, ties are having “healthier…momentum than what we expected” in 2022 so far. The days of widespread office-mandated ties may well be over, but “occasion-based” ties are moving. “You see less of what you would see as a ‘banker’s tie’ and much more business in what I would call ‘casual neckwear,’ said Mr. Archibald. “Brights and prints are definitely working. Floral neckwear is working for us.”

Smaller retailers also have noticed the shift to party-time ties. Larry Mahoney, longtime manager of the Andover Shop, a menswear store in Cambridge, Mass., remembers when ties were a “prominent part of any well-dressed man’s wardrobe,” and you wouldn’t dare head to the office, dinner or a professional engagement without one around your neck. “I would say that maybe 10 years ago, the tie started to begin its decline, although it did hold its ground for a while.” Today, the shop’s tie business, he said, is driven more by men heading to events than businessmen.

The tie can also still be found on the fringes of culture, in communities that historically haven’t worn ties. Leon Elias Wu, founder of Los Angeles gender-inclusive custom suiting brand SharpeHaus, sees the tie as less of a sober, wear-to-work proposition these days and more of a novelty fashion statement, especially when its traditional maleness—and its traditional function as a tool to help one fit in—is undercut. “Just throwing on a tie because it’s an occasion doesn’t work for everybody,” he said. “But look at what Avril Lavigne did with the tie 20 years ago—it can totally be used to make a statement,” whether you’re a formal guy, a female rocker or just a person trying to stand out.

Three Guys on the Ties They’ll Never Ditch

Ties aren’t just formal fashion accessories—they can hold sentimental value. Here, notable neckwear devotees shed light on the ties they’ll forever hold dear.

Ken Fulk

Interior Designer

I’m a creature of my upbringing—of my preppy years growing up in Virginia when I had every color Izod shirt, every color Polo shirt, wore them religiously and washed all of them until they were pastels. I remember this beautiful ritual of my father standing behind me and showing me how to tie different tie knots—and I still have this blue and yellow repp stripe tie from Eljo’s in Charlottesville.”

Michael Strahan

Television Personality and former New York Giants Defensive End

“Most of my ties remind me of special moments. When I went up to space [with Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin in 2021] I got some space ties with spaceships and stars and rockets…That’s the great thing about a tie. It can have its own individual story. It’s something you can share or keep close to yourself…But the one tie I’ll never part with is a black tie. A straight-up black tie.”

Simon Kim

Restaurateur

“I have about 75 ties, and 90% of them are Hermès. But I have this one Hermès tie that my sister gave me. She is an art dealer with very meticulous taste. It has a red background with little blue-and-white turtles. She gave it to me when I was straight out of college and whenever I wore that tie to an interview, I had a 100% success rate in landing the job.”

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 10, 2022.



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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

By SUMATHI REDDY
Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.

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