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Take success by the throat - the double Windsor way


Natasha Hughes

Don't be afraid to wear a tie, even when others decide it's redundant, writes Natasha Hughes.

The comfort in these straitened times is tradition - which is swiftly achieved with the tie.

The comfort in these straitened times is tradition - which is swiftly achieved with the tie. Photo: James Davies

Go out looking like you want to be seen - reliable, respectable; a man who can deliver, not one of the boys,'' says Lizzie Wagner, a business etiquette expert. ''That's what I advised a politician who once told me he went tieless when he went out to his constituents.''

The same applies to the workplace. Today's workplace.

The tie is not redundant. What it is is overlooked and under-utilised and it is the clever worker - and even wiser boss - who makes a habit of knotting one on in the morning and keeping it on till leaving the office.

Mad Men's Don Draper and his fictional suave, tailored and inebriated contemporaries might have raised the tie in the public's consciousness but there's a certain school of men that has long-capitalised on its implications.

Wearing ''the old school tie'' may still have its benefits in certain professions (and then only if it's from certain private schools and then sometimes only from certain years) but it still comes with no guarantee that the wearer is not stupid.

Most effective in business in Australia today is the quality, textured, unshiny, solid-colour tie in blue or maroon, worn in a double Windsor.

Available to any man with a bit of nous and awareness, the younger the better for him. It's easily learnt.

''It's a sign of respect and good manners to wear a tie,'' Wagner says. ''Being solid and being reliable is projected through a tie.''

Of course there are certain workers who need to look supremely reliable - avaricious lawyers, all government workers and tiddly-tenterhooks management and mid-management - but it's everyone else who should be endeavouring to reap the benefit of the tie.

''If I was bombarded by a pack of journalists I'd talk to the one with the tie on, someone who looked like they were professional,'' Wagner says.

Tying a tie is a time-user in the time-stretched mornings. ''Pre-tie your tie and pop it over your head,'' Wagner says. Consider a bow tie if you fancy yourself uber-cool (which they are, selectively urbanely) or if you are in the medical sphere (ties, charmingly, are bacteria carriers). At lunchtime, food stains on ties are a liability.

''Ask for a glass of soda water - it gets rid of fatty stains,'' Wagner says. And red wine? ''Pour on white.''

Wagner believes not wearing a tie is as bad mannered as wearing a tie that ends, on a big tummy, at the bellybutton with ''a vast distance to the belt line''.

Seems the comfort in these straitened times is tradition. It's swiftly achieved with the tie. And cuff links won't go astray. Go for an ultra-polished presentation. Says Wagner: ''Dress for the big people's world.'' And you might be OK.


  • I get the tie thing - but cuff links at work?

    If I wore these at work, my wife would be so upset! How can I bling up on our special nights out if I look like that going to work??

    Tie yes, links not quite
    Date and time
    April 26, 2012, 2:11PM
    • I ditched the tie at work a couple of years ago, unless for customer visits when I'll wear a tie, and tie-bar (which is a must).

      I still wear cuff-links Monday to Thursday... they are subtle and set you apart.

      Telco Sales
      Date and time
      April 26, 2012, 2:37PM
    • Age 29 and I guess very old fashioned. Still wear a suit and tie (Windsor knot), pocket square, waist coat, cuff links and braces.
      I believe it is important to show respect to the job.
      Probably get some weird looks at times but most of the time am complimented about how 'dapper' I look.

      Date and time
      April 26, 2012, 4:46PM
    • The cufflink during the day has become so prevalent amongst shop assistants and mail boys that it is now decidedly "try hard" It is no substitute for a well made shirt.

      Date and time
      April 27, 2012, 8:34AM
    • H, I like your style. You and I would get along well!

      Date and time
      April 27, 2012, 2:58PM
  • "worn in a double Windsor."

    no no no no no no.

    the four-in-hand shown in the picture looks just fine. the pocketsquare and cufflinks are too matchy though.

    Date and time
    April 26, 2012, 3:03PM
    • Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond character was adamant that the Windsor knot was the knot of a cad. Bondy never wore one and I don't ever recall seeing the well-dressed Cary Grant ever sporting one either.

      Date and time
      April 26, 2012, 4:55PM
    • That isn't a four in hand ... look closely ... it fans symmetrically to the left ... more likely a half windsor.

      Like clock-work, obituaries are written for the humble tie. But rumours of its death are mere fabrications.

      Anyone with a level of gravitas in my work place wears ties every day ... except for the very occasional Casual Friday. I wear cuff links probably 50% of the time, but I'm not a fan of pocket squares (on me). I don't feel I can pull them off.

      Never leave your ties knotted to pull over your head. Rest them by rolling them up or drape them over a decent sized dowel.

      And the best way to deal with food stains on a tie is to throw away said tie and learn some table manners. It's a rare dry-cleaner who can clean a tie successfully.

      Date and time
      April 27, 2012, 8:28AM
  • Wearing a tie is an outdated tradition. One of my early mentors instilled in me that a tie doesnt make you a better person nor a better worker and i still believe that to this day!

    Date and time
    April 26, 2012, 3:06PM
    • Ties are not an outdated tradition. How you feel about them is really less relevant to how you think you will be assessed by others; and people do judge a book by its cover. So tie or no tie - what image do you want to project?

      Date and time
      April 26, 2012, 4:47PM

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