There is probably not a more stereotypical image of financial services than a man in a suit and tie. Flick through any newspaper and that’s about all you’ll see.
The neck tie has long been the only fashion item men have had to think about. Sure there are some who manage to pull off the bow tie, a few who make the pocket square seem cool, the odd suspenders thrown in for good measure and only let’s be honest, only Matt Preston can get away with the cravat.
But for many men it is the tie that is the only real chance to make a fashion statement.
Black suit or blue, brown shoes or black, are pretty standard questions. It is the tie – red, navy, polka dots, patterns, stripes, wide or narrow, where men have had the chance to show a bit of their character.
A quick look at the reputable source of Wikipedia shows the neck tie traces its origins back over 400 years but could the humble neck tie be dying a not so slow death in financial services industry?
I know it is a big statement. But stop. Look around. And tell me if it is not true.
Sure there are some places where it is still mandatory – investment bankers, life insurance and the like. But more and more we are seeing the tie lose its relevance.
Last month alone we saw two global CEOs come down under to meet investors and clients and there was no tie in sight. Conferences too are now more business casual than formal with the presenters easily identifiable as the only ones mingling in the crowd wearing a tie. On the street you’re more likely to see men wearing jackets and pants with a gym bag than a tie.
It seems the question today is not so much what tie to wear but rather to tie or not to tie that is the real question.