WRIGHT THINKING: Tie gets a second life

Four necktie
Four necktie

Being a natural hoarder has its advantages as our elder grandson discovered last week.

 They were having a fund-raising day at his school which required pupils to wear a funny or old-fashioned tie – never did that when I was a kid!

 I knew it was there somewhere and, sure enough, a rummage through the loft eventually found a cardboard box cunningly labelled “ties”.

 Going through the collection was like time travel through the history of men’s fashion and it was funny to look at the width of them varying from the wide “kipper” ties of the Seventies to the narrower ties which followed, then slightly wider again.

 The tie he eventually chose was one which I’d forgotten I had – celebrating national sausage appreciation week.

 I think it was given to me during an interview I did in BBC Radio days – not quite up there with talking to Prime Ministers, but, then again, they never gave you free neckwear. The tie is decorated with a plump pink sausage character with a fork stuck into him and is ideal for a teenage boy with its slightly naughty overtones.

 I always thought that the tie manufacturers dictated the width of tie which was fashionable so that they could make you buy new models so as not to look out of the current style.

 Of course, tie wearing is not as prevalent as it was, and business meetings these days are often conducted by chaps looking trendily open necked.

 I noticed this week that the Tie Rack chain of shops had closed down, and they really were the big thing in the yuppie era a couple of decades ago.

 Most of their stores were located in railway stations or airports to feed the image that the ambitious business chap didn’t have time to go into town for his shopping so had to buy while on the move to his next important meeting.

 Shopping and lunch was for wimps.

 These things do go in cycles, though, and, in the big cities, I’m noticing a trend for younger chaps to dress pretty formally for a night out.

 It’s gone full circle to being tieless in the office and suited with collar and tie of an evening. My dad would approve. 

 After a hot and dirty day in a shipyard, he would come home to a bath and put on a suit and tie to go to his local pub or club.

 Going through that box of ties the other day was like going through a family photo album with memories cropping up every moment.

 I’d forgotten the time when jaunty animal ties were just the thing and if you are looking to celebrate rabbits, penguins or giraffes, I’m your man.

 I might give a couple of old Christmas ties a second life this month – from Snoopy in a Santa Claus outfit to Rudolf with a flashing nose, I’ve got the lot.

 They do say that the length of ladies’ skirts goes up and down with the economic climate, so perhaps there’s a similar tale with the width of a gentleman’s tie.

 Certainly, the Mad Men TV series set in the early Sixties has brought back a fashion for narrow lapels and “slim Jim” ties in the city, so who knows where we go next.

 I trust that Mr Sausage had a good reception and raised some money for charity in his second life.