It used to be that a knotted silk necktie formed the very essence of a world leader’s appearance. The suit, the shirt, the shiny shoes, the oversized watch and the black compendium were completed with a flourish of swishing silk knotted around the neck. But is there really any point in the modern age of business?
My mind moved onto this subject while reading An article, in Sunday, Times of India, LOOSEN UP, GUYS . It made me think of ‘How’ will you adjust your ‘Leadership Persona’, if you really want to give the tie a miss’…
First, some selected excerpts from the newspaper article…
LOOSEN UP, GUYS…
Going by the sartorial choices of world leaders, giving the tie a miss is the new power statement.
The new-age politicians are loosening up ¬ sartorially, and otherwise. Mostly construed as an `uptight’ lot, they have found a stylish way to change their perception among people. And it all begins with shedding the tie! Be it Greek Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras, or our very own Prime Minister Narendra Modi, loosening the collars has become a suave statement among the power yielders of the world.
Today’s men are more than happy sporting a relaxed collar look, even if their profession traditionally demands a formal look. At the latest G8 Summit, images of heads of eight most powerful states walking around leisurely without ties at one of the most prestigious summits surely shook the daylights out of the `revered’ necktie.
SO, WHAT DOES A WORLD LEADER WITHOUT A TIE REFLECT?
1) The simple act of going without a tie is a sign of non-conformity and a challenge to orthodox style. Loosening the collars is the simplest and most effective way of communicating the idea to the people. Ad man and social commentator Santosh Desai explains, “A world leader without a tie is a person making a strong statement: `I don’t play by your rules’.
2) Dropping the tie gives a head of state a more approachable and accessible look. It projects a relaxed and open personality.
3) This was also a method to look friendly to woo the primarily young followers who didn’t want to subscribe to specifics of “ways to dress, to act“.
4) Going without a tie is also an act of standing out. It shows them as men who make their own rules and stand out from the rest.
Note: It can get easily misconstrued though. The person may come across as some one who doesn’t understand tradition. A neck tie has always been, the square root to really getting respect when it comes to menswear game. So,There has to be a context or purpose behind not wearing one in formal environment. There are certain restraints that global leaders or heads of big organisations should always keep in mind. They are not only representing themselves but also the nation or organisation they head.
TRADITIONALLY, WEARING A TIE SERVED SOME PURPOSE…
1) The tie adds color to drab, conservative work clothes. Also, the color of your tie reflects your mood and personality .
2) The vertical line of the tie, leads your eye to the face of the person, which is where major part of communication takes place.
3) When people see a man wearing a tie, the tendency is to assume they are looking at a professional and authoritative person – which gets you more respect.
4) Humans love wearing accessories, especially around their necks (necklaces, ties, scarves, etc.), and the tie is a vanity in a man’s wardrobe.
SO, IF YOU’RE GIVING THE TIE A MISS, THEN…
Five tips how you can reclaim your Leadership Persona without wearing the tie:
1) Why not wear colourful, adventurous work clothes. Add color and focus through accessories like pocket square, lapel pins, shirt / collar colors and scarves.
2) Focus on the fit. Without a tie, your shirt becomes the foreground garment. Wear a smart , slim-fit dress shirt with short and sharp collars to make up for not wearing a tie.
3) Look at other alternatives to a formal suit. Closer home, our well-dressed PM – is known for his well-tailored ‘Bandhgalas ‘. He has given the tie a miss.
4) Wear scarves in varied ways for casual and formal looks. Play with texture, fabric and color of scarves to vary your look, purpose and mood. . They are ethnic yet truly international in their appeal.
5) Practice your body language cues. Instill an air of authority and professionalism through your posture, walk, and other body language cues. Hold attention to your face with direct eye contact and a smile.
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
Has a larger shift has taken place in the world where self-importance attached to formal wear is being played down, as demonstrated by the world leaders? So, will the necktie take a `bow’ and make a humble exit…. or is being tie-less just a seasonal fad? Let me hear your side of the story…
ACE voice: “The tie’s value is that the formality it represents demonstrates respect for the occasion and those present. The beauty of wearing a tie is that if it turns out not to be necessary, it’s easy to remove.”
Renuka Tandon is Director and Chief Consultant at ACE Impression. She provides customized image management and personal branding consulting to corporate executives and business owners targeted towards professional growth and business success . Click here to contact Renuka.