Now that MPs are no longer required to wear ties in the House of Commons, what does the change in attitudes mean for this essential part of the gentleman’s wardrobe?
Dress code changes in Parliament
The Speaker John Bercow recently announced that providing male MPs are smartly dressed in ‘business-like attire’, ties will not longer be a requirement for MPs to be allowed to speak in the Commons. This change to the status quo came after Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake asked a question in the Commons chamber last month whilst wearing a suit jacket and shirt but no tie, prompting queries from fellow MPs on whether this is acceptable. The Speaker confirmed that while MPs are expected to dress smartly when they arrive in the House, this does not necessarily involve a tie as standard.
The history of the tie
Traditionally used as a denotation of social status, the origins of the tie dates back to Roman times, when different coloured neckwear was worn by soldiers to demonstrate their rank and troop. The Victorian era saw the rise popularity of the tie as we know it today, when a man’s neckwear was used to demonstrate his position within society. It was expected that the higher up the social scale a gentleman was, the less decorative and more subtle his neckwear was. The turn of the century saw a move away from the elaborate cravats of the past and the emergence of the Ascot, which was not so different to modern ties.
Corporate ties and office dress code
Many workers within customer facing environments are still expected to adhere to smart dress codes, or wear ties as part of their uniform. Nowadays only about a third of British office staff regularly wear a tie to work, and many offices have adopted a ‘dress down Friday’ policy when a more casual style is permitted. Some men opt for a smart shirt and trousers but forgo the tie in the interests of comfort, but it has to be said that a tie can bring a certain level of smartness to any outfit. As big fans of the tie here at James Morton Ties, we hope the changes in attitude towards workwear will not mean the end of our favourite accessory.