Neckties’ New Future
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Neckties’ New Future

Tue, Mar 21, 2023 8:57amGrey Clock 3 min

Are boomers the generation that let fashion slide?

“We are the disruptors,” says Joseph DeAcetis, 58, creative director of the fashion blog StyleLujo, “the generation who let fashion go. We just got too lazy to dress well, to tell the truth.”

One early and lamentable casualty is the once taken-for-granted necktie. In a world where grown men now dress like their 12-year-old selves, replacing button-down shirts and wingtips with sneakers, jeans, T-shirts, and ball caps, the necktie is beginning to seem almost quaint, like a wardrobe item from an old movie, maybe Cary Grant old.

It is obviously not on the scale of a global calamity, but ties fading entirely from fashion would have lamentable downsides, partly because they are useful—adding polish and a splash of colour to neutral suits and sport coats—and partly because they are social signposts. For basically the entirety of the 20th century, and in some quarters right up until today, the stodgy old necktie has served as a beacon of what was unironically seen as respectability. Popping up your collar and knotting a tie conveyed a willingness to put yourself to some small trouble to announce yourself as part of society’s common enterprise, an outward sign of keeping yourself shipshape so you could contribute.

This arguably worthy goal may seem mossbacked when every day has become Dress Down Friday. From Steve Jobs’ pathbreaking turtleneck, to the photographs of the pointedly tieless leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations at Elmau, Germany, last June, to Sir Richard Branson scissoring ties off people’s shirts, an open collar now beams its own clued-in, future-aligned virtue signal. Even in some traditional business settings, it has become a badge of success not to have to wear a tie.

“A friend of mine just went for an important job interview in New York and I asked him if he wore a tie,” says Karen Alberg Grossman, editor of menswear trade publication MR Magazine. The guy said nope, he didn’t: “I was there for them to kiss up to me, not me to kiss up to them.”

Amid all this, tie makers might have to squint hard to locate any green shoots. But on the other hand, fashion trends are notoriously fickle. “The state of the tie market has been dismal,” Grossman says, “but there is a notable return to dress-up in menswear right now. I’m not sure I’d call it a comeback, but we will see more ties being sold in 2023 than 2022.”

Anne-Marie Colban, co-owner of Paris’ venerable Charvet, agrees. “We have been happily surprised since the Covid lockdown to see sartorial elegance make a strong comeback. And the desire to wear ties has come back along with it.”

But tie-wearing has come back changed, as Colban acknowledges. “Men wear ties for pleasure now, not because of social conventions,” she says. “A tie is an ornamental piece and an expression of refinement, not a constraint.”

It is a note you hear sounded elsewhere around the industry. There is a feeling—a hope, anyway—that neckties may be entering a new era of creativity and securing a smaller but vibrant niche as items of self-expression.

It is a bet Jonathan Meizler went all-in on 11 years ago. His Orchard Street atelier on New York’s Lower East Side, called Title of Work, handcrafts striking and outré ties at prices ranging from around $275 to $1,000. Incorporating elements like rattlesnake vertebrae, gauzy veils, hand-painting, and fine beadwork, they are, says Meizler, “a blending of the worlds of art and couture on a 58-inch by 2½-inch canvas.”

They are definitely not for everyone or for most daily occasions, nor does Meizler intend them to be. But what Title of Work’s works might be instead is the cutting edge of neckwear’s new direction. “As a symbol of masculine power, ties have fallen away,” Meizler says. “But as an avenue for defining yourself and your style, there is plenty of room for that.”

That avenue also looks promising to more mainstream luxury clothiers. “Nowadays, men wear ties because they want to, not because they have to,” explains Christophe Goineau, creative director of men’s silk for Hermès. “This has liberated the creative process considerably and invited reinvention: We can create a tie in grenadine silk, add a tufted horse head or a shower of embroidered motifs.”

“All the rules we knew have been abandoned,” Goineau adds. “The tie has become an easygoing and liberated fashion accessory.”



Today’s tie designers get creative with pattern and color

(1) Title of Work’s Plaid Beaded Necktie 1005

A deconstructed plaid pattern, intricate and asymmetrical, is hand-beaded and embroidered on tulle overlay. (US$800)

(2) Hermès’ 7 Faconnee New H tie in raisin

The 7 Faconnee New H is hand-sewn 100% silk twill. A series of infinite “H”s are revealed in the jacquard weave of this tie. Made in France. (US$215)

(3) Hermès’ Faconnee H 24 in orange

Hermès employs jacquard weaving to repeat the brand’s iconic “H” letters in this refined-casual hand-sewn, 100% silk twill tie. (US$215)

(4) Title of Work’s Standing Woman 1079

This free-form line drawing of a woman is hand- embroidered on tulle overlay. (US$500)

(5) Title of Work’s Line Gradient Necktie 075

This navy to burgundy gradient creates an ombré effect on this custom-woven silk twill tie. (US$225)

This article appears in the March 2023 issue of Penta magazine.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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Whether you call it charisma, charm or magnetism, some people seem like naturals. Good news: It can be learned.

By Rachel Feintzeig
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Great leaders have it. Gen Z has a new word for it. Can the rest of us learn it?

Charisma—or rizz , as current teenage slang has anointed it—can feel like an ephemeral gift some are just born with. The chosen among us network and chitchat, exuding warmth as they effortlessly hold court. Then there’s everyone else, agonising over exclamation points in email drafts and internally replaying that joke they made in the meeting, wondering if it hit.

“Well, this is awkward,” Mike Rizzo, the head of a community for marketing operations professionals, says of rizz being crowned 2023 word of the year by the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s so close to his last name, but so far from how he sees himself. He sometimes gets sweaty palms before hosting webinars.

Who could blame us for obsessing over charisma, or lack thereof? It can lubricate social interactions, win us friends, and score promotions . It’s also possible to cultivate, assures Charles Duhigg, the author of a book about people he dubs super communicators.

At its heart, charisma isn’t about some grand performance. It’s a state we elicit in other people, Duhigg says. It’s about fostering connection and making our conversation partners feel they’re the charming—or interesting or funny—ones.

The key is to ask deeper, though not prying, questions that invite meaningful and revealing responses, Duhigg says. And match the other person’s vibes. Maybe they want to talk about emotions, the joy they felt watching their kid graduate from high school last weekend. Or maybe they’re just after straight-up logistics and want you to quickly tell them exactly how the team is going to turn around that presentation by tomorrow.

You might be hired into a company for your skill set, Duhigg says, but your ability to communicate and earn people’s trust propels you up the ladder: “That is leadership.”

Approachable and relatable

In reporting this column, I was surprised to hear many executives and professionals I find breezily confident and pleasantly chatty confess it wasn’t something that came naturally. They had to work on it.

Dave MacLennan , who served as chief executive of agricultural giant Cargill for nearly a decade, started by leaning into a nickname: DMac, first bestowed upon him in a C-suite meeting where half the executives were named Dave.

He liked the informality of it. The further he ascended up the corporate hierarchy, the more he strove to be approachable and relatable.

Employees “need a reason to follow you,” he says. “One of the reasons they’re going to follow you is that they feel they know you.”

He makes a point to remember the details and dates of people’s lives, such as colleagues’ birthdays. After making his acquaintance, in a meeting years ago at The Wall Street Journal’s offices, I was shocked to receive an email from his address months later. Subject line: You , a heading so compelling I still recall it. He went on to say he remembered I was due with my first child any day now and just wanted to say good luck.

“So many people say, ‘Oh, I don’t have a good memory for that,’” he says. Prioritise remembering, making notes on your phone if you need, he says.

Now a board member and an executive coach, MacLennan sent hundreds of handwritten notes during his tenure. He’d reach out to midlevel managers who’d just gotten a promotion, or engineers who showed him around meat-processing plants. He’d pen words of thanks or congratulations. And he’d address the envelopes himself.

“Your handwriting is a very personal thing about you,” he says. “Think about it. Twenty seconds. It makes such an impact.”

Everyone’s important

Doling out your charm selectively will backfire, says Carla Harris , a Morgan Stanley executive. She chats up the woman cleaning the office, the receptionist at her doctor’s, the guy waiting alongside her for the elevator.

“Don’t be confused,” she tells young bankers. Executive assistants are often the most powerful people in the building, and you never know how someone can help—or hurt—you down the line.

Harris once spent a year mentoring a junior worker in another department, not expecting anything in return. One day, Harris randomly mentioned she faced an uphill battle in meeting with a new client. Oh!, the 24-year-old said. Turns out, the client was her friend. She made the call right there, setting up Harris for a work win.

In the office, stop staring at your phone, Harris advises, and notice the people around you. Ask for their names. Push yourself to start a conversation with three random people every day.

Charisma for introverts

You can’t will yourself to be a bubbly extrovert, but you can find your own brand of charisma, says Vanessa Van Edwards, a communications trainer and author of a book about charismatic communication.

For introverted clients, she recommends using nonverbal cues. A slow triple nod shows people you’re listening. Placing your hands in the steeple position, together and facing up, denotes that you’re calm and present.

Try coming up with one question you’re known for. Not a canned, hokey ice-breaker, but something casual and simple that reflects your actual interests. One of her clients, a bookish executive struggling with uncomfortable, halting starts to his meetings, began kicking things off by asking “Reading anything good?”

Embracing your stumbles

Charisma starts with confidence. It’s not that captivating people don’t occasionally mispronounce a word or spill their coffee, says Henna Pryor, who wrote a book about embracing awkwardness at work. They just have a faster comeback rate than the rest of us. They call out the stumble instead of trying to hide it, make a small joke, and move on.

Being perfectly polished all the time is not only exhausting, it’s impossible. We know this, which is why appearing flawless can come off as fake. We like people who seem human, Pryor says.

Our most admired colleagues are often the ones who are good at their jobs and can laugh at themselves too, who occasionally trip or flub just like us.

“It creates this little moment of warmth,” she says, “that we actually find almost like a relief.”


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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