It's not a good sign for an industry when the trade group that
represents it closes its doors. That's exactly what the Men's Dress
Furnishings Association did last month after 60 years in operation.
dress furnishings is a fancy term for neckties and accessories like
those silky little handkerchiefs that men sometimes stick in their
The Men's Dress Furnishings folks could tell
there was trouble when, two years ago at its annual meeting, several
members showed up wearing no tie at all. "I just don't like it when a
tie becomes obligatory," one member told the Wall Street Journal.
neither do a lot of other men, which helps explain why the number of
them who wear ties to work fell to a record-low 6 percent in a recent
Quite a change from the days when it seemed
like every man and boy who didn't work in a steel mill or coal mine
wore a tie on the job. Even milkmen. Gas-station attendants. Bicycle
messengers. And certainly any man or boy with an office job, no matter
how much of an uncomfortable nuisance the neckwear might have been.
of ties peaked during the 1980s, after President Reagan popularized the
red power tie, and business executives on the rise chose just the right
necktie from hundreds they kept in their closets. Ordinary American
men had lots of ties, too; they bought a few, and their kids gave them
many more on Father's Day.
Then came casual Fridays at some
workplaces, and soon in many of them every day was a no-tie day. Not
good news for those who make neckties!
Associated Press writer
Adam Geller referenced the opening lines of Charles Dickens's classic
novel A Tale of Two Cities to summarize the ups and recent downs of the
necktie business: They were the best of ties. They were the worst of