Ties, Ties, Ties. As a business student I’ve witnessed some of the oddest attempts at business attire I’ve ever seen. Bright sneakers in lieu of dress shoes, ties that are a foot to long or a foot to short, any various levels of other business attire misdemeanors. Dress aside the one thing I’ve found causes the most issue are ties. People for some reason dislike them, find them constricting, and are generally not comfortable in them. Maybe I’m just weird but, I’ve had a love of ties since I was little. I think I was five when I got my dad to teach me a simple over-hand knot. Of course no five year old needs a tie and none fit me but I started out young. When I’m wearing a suit and tie I feel great. I feel comfortable and confident. This is why I get frustrated when I have to convince people to wear a tie at times. So the following is my humble opinion as to when to wear a tie and the cases when you shouldn’t.
The golden rule I go with, in terms of ties, is if you think you should probably be wearing a tie then wear a tie! The other cases are as follows.
1) When asking for money:
When I went for my first interview my dad told me to wear a tie because “You should always wear a tie when you’re asking someone for money”. That job was at a lumber yard. However, the point still stands. If you are asking someone to give you money, whether through a job opportunity, scholarship, grant, or donation for an organization you represent, you should look professional because someone is willing to trust you with their money in the hopes that you will provide a return on their investment in you.
2) When selling your ideas:
Whether you are presenting a case study for a course at university or pitching an new idea to your boss. It is key do be dressed appropriately. By thinking the idea you are trying to sell is not worth wearing a tie, you are conveying the idea that you don’t care that much about the idea, and if you don’t show confidence in the idea why show the person you are trying to sell to have any?
3) When selling yourself:
In business the first thing you are trying to sell is yourself. Whether it be to potential employers or buyers it is key to present your best self. The cliche is that you only have one chance to make a first impression. With only one chance to impress someone it is better to risk being deemed overdressed then being viewed as under dressed and not taking the endeavor seriously.
When to not wear a tie:
As much as I love ties I do acknowledge the fact that their is times in business wear it is better to go open collar. The first instance is when you are expressively told not to. Don’t be the guy that wears a tie to a business casual event, you stand out for the wrong reasons and look like you can’t follow instructions. The second instance is more of a delicate situation. When presenting ideas or products to potential buyers their are some fields that wearing a tie would put off the buyer, and you would be better off dressing down in order to better connect with potential buyers.
What ever you take from my opinions remember this: The best attire is confidence. If you are confident in what you are doing it will show and outweigh even the nicest tie.
Another point on ties! Learn to tie multiple knots. For the most part I use a traditional Windsor but there are occasions other knots work better. Plus there are a lot of creative tie knots out there worth trying out.
Learn them all here: http://www.ties.com/how-to-tie-a-tie
Thanks for reading,