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Wink of the eye

The decline of the tie
Once an absolute must, today even in the real-estate sector a candidate for the back of the wardrobe: the tie. Is this the end of good style?

2020 08 31 Niedergang der Krawatte

Taking a look at the directors’ page on the website of the biggest German housing corporation can come as a bit of a surprise. All the gentlemen have open collars and exposed necks. What’s going on here, where are their ties?

A remedy for the shock is to click on the photos of directors at real-estate companies listed on the DAX and MDAX, also the Mähren management board: all the gentlemen are wearing ties. Tradition is alive and well here. But a photo on a website is by no means proof that the tie remains the epitome of fashion in the real-estate sector. Because in truth, like in all industries, it is on the retreat here as well.

Frumpy, conservative, behind the times?

Presumably also to create an impression of greater digitalization, companies are striving for a more modern, dynamic aura, and both internally and externally: They can boost their staff’s sense of individuality and wellbeing; and as a USP, sneakers and open shirt portray energy and openness. Long ties, on the other hand, come across as frumpy, conservative, behind the times, and since the financial crisis – when all the investment bankers in their de rigor suits and ties dumped the economy in the abyss – perhaps even a touch debauched.

Along with banks and insurance companies, the real-estate sector has kept the faith with ties longer than most. As with digitalization, its image is also a bit behind the general zeitgeist. But the trend is clear: In day-to-day work it hardly plays a role, at conferences at most every other man wears a tie and at the afterwork get together nobody want to be seen as a square, and so they leave their ties at the office or in their pockets.

But nonetheless: The esthete wears a tie

Purely esthetically, the case is clear cut, however: A suit needs a tie, otherwise it is visually incomplete. Otherwise, it is also plain boring. But esthetics does not play the primary role in business: the message is key, and ties in general clearly no longer strike the desired tone.

But: the more the tie disappears, the greater its aura. Where absolutely everybody is sporting an open collar, wearing a tie makes a statement. Just what that statement is will be up to the wearer alone or the self-confidence with which he presents the tie: He either seems to be behind the times, or he comes across as independent, fearless, certain – and yes, perhaps even as an esthete.

We too like wearing ties. Especially for business meetings, for a tie is still a mark of respect towards those present. That does not prevent us, however, from dressing more modern, dynamic and without a tie on days without business contacts.

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