Make us your home page
Instagram

The death of the necktie?

Navy-blue pin-striped suit. Shiny black shoes. Pressed white shirt.

As tech sales rep Earl Presley walked in downtown St. Petersburg on his way to a lunch meeting Wednesday, he was the portrait of a modern businessman.

Except around his neck, there hung no tie.

Presley's tie-less look, according to a recent Gallup Poll on workplace attire, has far and away become the most popular way to dress around the office. Nationwide, only 6 percent of men reported wearing a tie to work every day in 2007, down from 10 percent six years ago. Those who reported never wearing a tie to work increased from 59 percent to 67 percent over the same period.

To add injury to insult, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that after 60 years, the Men's Dress Furnishings Association, the trade group that represents American tiemakers, is expected to shut down Thursday.

More and more, the tie, the textile embodiment of the business world, is becoming passe. For many white-collar workers around St. Petersburg, the decision to tie or not to tie is more a function of personal preference and corporate culture than company policy.

"I'm not wearing a necktie because it's too hot," said Presley, who works for GHA Technologies, a computer equipment supplier. "And because I don't have to wear one."

While explanations for the decline of everyday business-formal are difficult to pinpoint, some suggest the culprit is a generation influenced by the boom of beyond-casual Silicon Valley workplace fashion.

"The tie and dark suit and the black shoes, everybody had to wear the same thing back in the '70s. It was the consummate uniform for corporate America," said Tessa Lander, a former IBM employee and the owner of a St. Petersburg franchise of GRN, a corporate recruiting company. "But in this dot-com era, the core of individuals driving the profits have different norms – they're driving the trend."

In her newly renovated office off Central Avenue, Lander has only one dress policy: no holey jeans.

Most of Lander's male employees opt for Dockers and open collars most days. Then there's Bill Ferjo, 60, who says he wouldn't feel at ease behind his desk without a thick-bodied necktie.

"When I started in the '70s as a manager at a CVS, even when you were stacking boxes, you were wearing a shirt and tie," Ferjo said. "That's what I wore; that's what they expected."

And older workers aren't the only force making sure power ties won't join fedoras and ash trays in the graveyard of office couture anytime soon.

In the world of high finance, meeting clients while dressed down simply isn't done.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more formal attire coming back up," said Anthea Penrose, the public relations manager for Raymond James Financial in Tampa. "Even though we have a business-casual policy, many people wear a suit and tie every day. A lot of our people meet face to face with clients, or are just old-school and will wear them."

Dominick Tao can be reached at dtao@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8751.

The death of the necktie? 06/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 21, 2008 2:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.