February 22, 2017

When the law professor writes about Trump's necktie.

A Stanford law professor wrote a 700-word essay — published in the NYT — about the neckties Trump wears. The professor — Richard Thompson Ford — is "writing a book about dress codes," so he may not be going too far out of his way to analyze Trump at the fashion level. Obviously, we know Trump wears a plain, wide red tie and he ties it so it hangs very long. You could either search for the reason he has chosen that and sticks to it (he must intend the result) or you can find fault with that (why doesn't he learn how to tie the tie correctly?).

Ford takes the latter approach: "The putative leader of the free world cannot tie a necktie properly." And he justifies his attention to the seemingly trivial by asking if it might "reflect weightier issues of self-discipline, competence and integrity?" And we, the readers, might ask if a law professor's enterprise of seeking meaning in the President's necktie might reflect "weightier issues of self-discipline, competence and integrity?" That is, does the professor begin with the necktie and find meaning in it, or did the professor begin with an opinion of the President and then ascribe that meaning to the necktie? What would the necktie mean if you loved President Trump? If the meaning would be different, then you're not analyzing the necktie.

Ford gets into some good detail:
Perfectly symmetrical knots with centered dimples betray an obsessive-compulsive personality. The Italians have mastered the insouciance of the slightly off-center knot — some even leave the narrower end a bit longer, letting it peek out from behind the thicker one in front, as if to say, I really couldn’t be bothered to redo it.
And political self-awareness:
Trump partisans may well complain: Why is the Italian imperfect tie-knot considered chic and the presidential idiosyncrasy déclassé? Isn’t this a double standard set up by liberal elitists?
I'd say double standards are an important part of the perception of fashion. The right stylish person can take something low class and make it elegant. And something stylish, widely adopted by gross people, can become horrible. I don't think elitists are imposing the standards. It's more about who's wearing what. That's why new fashions look so good: You only see them on models and styled-up stars. When that stuff finds its way onto the bodies of ordinary people, it looks dowdy and sad. Of course.

Ford's theory is that "the Italian" is showing "an aristocratic disdain for the trappings of masculine potency," but Trump's "symmetrical but overlong tie stands out like a rehearsed macho boast, crass and overcompensating." The Italian is high-class ("aristocratic") and not hung up on masculinity, while the billionaire betrays his low-class grasping at machismo. Does this theory save Ford from the "liberal elitist" charge? Why the love for a quality that feels to him like Italian aristocracy? Why the attitude about the wrongness of too much masculinity?

Ford does not progress that deeply into the subject. I guess the NYT reader is imagined to accept the notion that that "Italian" has it just right. There's only a picture of Trump at the link, so The Italian is a picture in your head. And doesn't he look excellent, your stereotype, this Italian?

The picture of Trump shows him exiting a plane with the tie flying backward in the wind, revealing, on its underside, an X of cellophane tape:
This is the opposite of the Italian’s devil-may-care. It betrays a devil who cares too much — and about the wrong things. Whereas the slightly imperfect tie knot demonstrates nonchalance, the badly tied and taped tie suggests a desperate but failed bid to look “correct.” It’s not only a failure, but also a fraud, a paper moon artlessly stuck over a cardboard sea.
So it's both haphazard — artless —and too careful? What's fraudulent about taping something in place? And why isn't that damned Italian considered overcareful in his taking the trouble to "master" the "slightly off-center knot"? The answer is easy: It's all in your head. You like this Italian, and you don't like Trump. Ask yourself, Professor Ford, if you caught a glimpse of the underside of Barack Obama's tie and there was tape, would you not find that "insouciant" and "devil-may-care"? It's like those models who make clothes feel like fashion: The person creates the mood. The perception is in your head.
Mr. Trump’s neckties tell us something about his social and political ties. He has made the persona of the loud, tacky mogul a sort of trademark. 
Oh, come on! It's the other way around! Trump's persona caused you to think about his tie the way you did. Here's Bernie Sanders in approximately the same tie:



What does it mean now?

91 comments:

Expat(ish) said...

I admit to being a taper.

On the super rare occasions a tie is required in southwest Florida.

-XC

David Begley said...

Richard Thomas Ford is no threat to Althouse in the blogging business.

Jimmy said...

What does it mean? It means that at least one Stanford law professor has too much free time on his hands.

Ipso Fatso said...

Publish or perish? Professor Ford should have chosen perish.

Unknown said...

This has the beginnings of a very good post. It was missing something though. Like it was purposefully missing the contrary analysis that the Stanford prof ignored too. Please reconsider

Quayle said...

As said one particular person who changed the world:

"But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ "

Children indeed. Their ease and affluence has refined them right out of their senses. Their pride crowds out their deployment of fact and reason. As masters of the universe, all things are props and all people mere ciphers to be bent and calculated in their will to be above their fellow man.

(Besides, Trump wears a lot of Brioni. Certainly can't blame him for that. Brioni ties are fabulous.)

Ann Althouse said...

"This has the beginnings of a very good post. It was missing something though. Like it was purposefully missing the contrary analysis that the Stanford prof ignored too. Please reconsider"

Well, your comment is missing something. You need a period after "reconsider."

You say something is missing, then you tell me to "reconsider" as if you think something is there that ought to be different.

If you think there is another point to be made, why don't you just make it?

The idea that I purposefully left something out is just weird. Often I choose to write concisely and keep it short and things are left only implied. I like to engage the reader and not sledgehammer everything.

Reading is an active process (in my book), and part of the process can be writing some extra things yourself. That's what I am doing when I am blogging. I don't say that Ford ought to have included the thoughts that I had when I read what he wrote. I just wrote my own material. So when you read what I wrote and have some thoughts, why don't you just write them? At least be specific about what seemed like a road not taken. Surely, you can't think I should have written some sentences imagining what Ford would say about Sanders's tie!

rhhardin said...

I have ties in the closet but find a studied not wearing of them works best.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Okay, in the words of Paul Anka, let's "put you some f****** knowledge here."

President Trump is a big man, both tall and somewhat corpulent. Such a man should tie his necktie longer than usual. The exact length itself is no issue, merely a judgment/style choice; the professor is a catty buffoon.

Also, you judge the length of the ends and then tie the tie. It can't be adjusted; if you miscalculate the length and the short end is too long, you have to rip it out and start all over again. One doesn't like to do this too many times.

To give the prof such credit as he deserves - Long story short, Trump should be getting extra-long ties. For whatever reason-lack of selection, economy, habit, indifference, his mother told him so-he eschews this measure, simply tying the fat end long.

In such a case, the short end will be quite short, often not reaching the "keeper," the loop of tie fabric or maker's label placed there expressly to restrain the short end. It will then peek out from behind the fat end, which one doesn't want.

Rather than taping, I myself would pin it in place, but perhaps he could not find a pin handy. One could also move up the keeper if one could contrive a small alteration.

If anything it bespeaks a man with little patience for such vanities, but who understands roughly how it should look, and can make do. He's probably been doing it that way since he was a boy.

Now, crack this professor open and see what's inside, and I think your mind would come off neckties entirely.

mezzrow said...

The generic Italian leads Trump in the polls by 15 points among Times readers.

Quayle said...

"Unknown" played the flute for you, Ann, and you did not dance.

mezzrow said...

Also - I think we should follow the professor's example and call our 'Unknown' critic Shirley...

That's all I have. For now.

Rob McLean said...

A Stanford law professor wrote a 700-word essay — published in the NYT — about the neckties Trump wears.

And you wrote an almost 800-word blog post about it. Where will it end...?!

Bad Lieutenant said...

I should say that in ordinary circumstances I would insouciantly neither tape nor pin the end, but perhaps if I were being photographed or expected high winds I would take the extra measure.

Bad Lieutenant said...

By the way can we get a couple pictures of this yokel's turnout and see how much we care for the fashion opinions of a law professor?

Bill R said...

Jimmy Said: "What does it mean? It means that at least one Stanford law professor has too much free time on his hands."

I have to disagree with you a little, Jimmy. It means that at least one Stanford law professor has WAY too much free time on his hands."

Henry said...

What about the crease in his pants, Professor Fashion?

Amadeus 48 said...

Richard Thompson Ford is warming up in the bullpen...this classy right-hander thinks he has a chance to move up to the big leagues...this is a just a lame piece of filler for the New York Times, but scouts from Esquire and GQ are in the stands...Ford was a teammate of Barack Obama's at Harvard, but after a lot of action over eight years, Obama has pretty much disappeared...Ford thinks he has a chance to move up...they are bringing him in...Ann Althouse is at the plate...the Ol' Perfessor, she is a wiley one...she is digging in there,and she looks determined to make something happen...so we have Ford, a super-annuated rookie against the veteran Althouse...Ford has been working on a pitch he calls the Italian Necktie Clipper, it comes in high and loose if he can get it across, but sometimes the ends don't meet...here comes the pitch...Althouse swings...and it's GONE!!! She knocked it out of here! She trots around the bases while Ford looks disconsolately on. He is going nowhere.

Isn't spring training great? Every rookie is a phenom and the veterans show that they still have it.

Michael K said...

My impression after reading half the post (and I'll never get that time back) is that the professor must be gay.

FleetUSA said...

What rubbish. The law professor is out of his league trying to make a name for himself among the Trump haters. He should stick to the law if he knows anything about that - which is questionable.

MadisonMan said...

Amadeus, that was rocking. Still is, I guess.

traditionalguy said...

The writer correctly envies Trumps long swinging tie. It actually seems bombastic. Its length could easily get it caught in the Nuclear Football and blow up the world. The Mars Red connotes a War meme that is intentionally racist, ethnocentric, and anti Semitic.

Trump is fooling no one. The Ninth Circuit needs to limit him to clip-ons approved as Constitutional by the Justices.

Laslo Spatula said...

Most people never get the tie back on right after strangling a hooker.

Italians don't get their ties right.

Italians strangle hookers.

That is what he meant by "an aristocratic disdain for the trappings of masculine potency."

Which sounds better than just saying 'strangles hookers'.

I am Laslo.

Unknown said...

A Trumpie answer to almost everything "My impression after reading half the post (and I'll never get that time back) is that the professor must be gay."

Maybe the Prof is Milo in disguise - you know, the Trumpies favorite conservative.

roesch/voltaire said...

Who cares it is an over-priced tie made in China that proudly flaunts the owner's hypocrisy for made in America.

Amadeus 48 said...

Unknown Shirley,
Until Prof. Ford shows up in full drag with a string of pearls, he'll never resemble Milo. He looks a lot like Obama, though. I wonder if his mother knew Frank Marshall Davis.

John said...

From the Urban Dictionary:


italian necktie

The act of slitting open the neck, just above the adam's apple, and pulling the person's tongue out through the hole, making it look like a little necktie.
Jimmy squealed to the cops, so the boss gave him an italian necktie.


This popped up as the top search result for Italian necktie.

What I was looking for was a picture of how I always think of Italians and neckties. I think of Italians and neckties pretty much never. When I do, I think of Italian men wearing their neckties really, really, long. Like 1-2" below the belt buckle. I also think of them as tucking the tie into the pants.

The Italians have done such a great job of running their own country. We should take advice from them on anything. Including neckties.

Why tape? Most of my ties have the label sewn crosswise on the back of the wide part. The narrow part just slips in there. I'd never heard of using tape until today. Doesn't seem like it would stick well unless one used duct tape or the like.

John Henry

Mingus Jerry said...

Sometimes a tie is just a tie. - Freud

John said...

You know who else paid way too much attention to neckties? Lyndon Baines Johnson.

He spent $50-75 bucks on ties from Sulka. This in the 50's when $50/week was a pretty decent income.

He would untie and retie subordinate's ties if he didn't think they looked right. He insisted on a big, full Windsor, knot. A half-Windsor made a man look like a "pussy".

And look what a great president LBJ was. We are still trying to dig out from the holes he put us in.

Surprised Ann did not remember this from Caro's bio of LBJ.

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

"Surprised Ann did not remember this from Caro's bio of LBJ."

1. Actually, I didn't, but I will look it up.

2. Why are you using the "surprised" format?? Don't YOU remember how I feel about that?

J2 said...

Double-sided tape is the stylist's best friend.

robother said...

The New York Times default editorial think piece for the next 4 years: deploring the deplorable President and, by implication, the deplorables who voted him in. Its almost as nice as pulling the comforter over your head and going back to sleep.

Darrell said...

Leftism is a mental illness. Now we have to listen to their daily therapy sessions.

Jeff Teal said...

Says more about some people's obsession with clothing choices and styles than about the person wearing the clothing.It is why I have read Esquire and other mags and not given more than apassing fancy to their over priced comments.Sorry people Mens lives isn't The De"il wears Prada.Men are still men despite what the women and faux are telling us.

EDH said...

Ford takes the latter approach: "The putative leader of the free world cannot tie a necktie properly." And he justifies his attention to the seemingly trivial by asking if it might "reflect weightier issues of self-discipline, competence and integrity?"

For a professor so focused on civil rights and anti-discrimination law, it's shocking to see him impute to personality defects what is clearly
the real reason for Trump's dishevelment.

Scott said...

Law professors writing long essays about a politician's tie is all about the cultural pseudoscience of semiotics. It's a game anyone can play. The secret to success is demonstrating skill in making utter bullshit seem like it's worthy of your consideration. That's why it appeals to lawyers, perhaps.

Everyone thinks they're Tom Robbins writing Meditations on a Camel Pack.

James Pawlak said...

I wonder:
1. What essays other Democrat pimps are now writing;
2. Is he a licensed psychologist/psychiatrist/clinical social worker; And,
3 Is he violating the CANNONS by his essay?

John said...

I wondered if I might find a pic of how Ford wears a tie. Didn't. His Stanfrod press page has him in sport coat and open neck shirt. Looking suitably pissed off and fashionably unshaven. (Do Italian men shave? Or do they go for the stubble look?)

But it also has this by him:

Professor Richard Thompson Ford discusses his book “The Race Card” on the Colbert Report:

Playing the race card is when people used trumped up or false or misplaced allegations of racism to gain some unearned advantage…So for instance Clarence Thomas…that allegation ‘a high tech lynching for uppity blacks’… I think it was a way to distract from the charges that Anita Hill had made and move the focus onto the Senate Judiciary Committee…Joe Biden is the head of a lynch mob… I don’t buy it…

One of the things I point out in the book is that anyone can place the race card these days. It’s not just racial minorities. For instance in this campaign, the Clintons have used race in order to kind of pigeonhole Obama…on the one hand suggesting that he’s winning…just because of his race…On the other hand some their supporters are suggesting that he’s not black enough…For instance Robert Johnson saying he’s a “Sidney Poitier kind of black”…[in] “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”…


https://law.stanford.edu/press/richard-thompson-ford/

John Henry

tcrosse said...

It's a bit of colored rag that does nothing to keep you warm in winter or cool in summer. It's something that our Silicon Valley billionaires no longer sport. So what's the big deal ?

Bob Boyd said...

I think they make you write an essay now to submit with your application to The Mean Girls Club.

Unknown said...

Italians call it Sprezzatura. Trump has so much natural Sprezzatura in other areas.

Fritz said...

I learned way more about ties than I ever wanted to know from this post.

buwaya said...

I am an avoider.
Ties remind me too much of surviving them, me with my thick neck, in 100% humidity.
One day some brilliant, practical public figure will adopt the Filipino barong and end centuries of discomfort.

Swede said...

Lawyers like this are why I support a hunting season on the profession.

April. Not a lot going on in April as far as hunting goes. 2 weeks. No bag limit.

Earnest Prole said...

We shouldn’t let an interesting subject like men’s fashion be marred by Trump hatred or, conversely, the fear of Trump hatred. The author is essentially right: there is a style code for neckties, long predating Trump, that allows for and indeed encourages informality and imperfection in certain details but not others. Asymmetrical knots, for example, are acceptable and even desirable; a tie too long or too short is not. It is impossible to explain why this inconsistency exists, but it predates this election by many years and therefore can't be explained by anti-Trump politics as you imply.

TA said...

There was a lot of this kind of psych analysis of George W. by the academic community, too. It seems to be a common means of attach for the intelligentsia. When you think about it, it's really passive aggressive. Paraphrasing Geico, it's what you do, if you're a pussy.

Earnest Prole said...

Trump’s preference for enormous, symmetrical knots is analogous to his preference for gold plating in his penthouse: impressive to common people and cringe-worthy to the refined. Trump's necktie choices are, in a word, vulgar (in its original, non-pejorative sense). For those fed up with elites the vulgarity is nothing short of refreshing.

Fernandinande said...

Has the law professor compared the "psychodiagnostic" properties of neckties with :
Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test Plates (set of 10) $110.00 [Add To Cart] "

No.

Bruce Hayden said...

One thing that I think is probably missed is that Trump's ties are probably not bought over-the-counter at the average department store. Why? Because they are probably over-long. Or, I should say, regular ties are probably too short for him. They are for me, with a full Windsor and a long trunk. When I was learning to tie ties, in the 1960s, the goal was to get the end of the front to touch your belt buckle (back when my pants naturally stayed up over a flat stomach). Which, for me meant, tying the front a little long. A lot of ties have either a label or a loop on the back for tucking in the back, so the two ends stay together. For me, the inside end is often too short to stay in. My father solved this problem by tucking the inside end down his shirt. Trump apparently solves it by taping them together, which I think is pretty ingenious.

Trump dresses exactly as one would expect of him - he is a product of the upper middle class, and that means very conservatively. James Mallory had a book out maybe 30 years ago titled "Dress for Success". Trump's dress comes straight out of that book, with the qualification that he mostly wears single color ties, possibly as a result of being on TV so much. His trademark red tie is the ultimate power tie. Has been for decades. Which is why a lot of people questioned Obama's seeming preference for blue ties. I was struck by how many of the men around Trump also wear red ties - I remember one photo recently with maybe a half dozen reds, one blue, and one green. As a guy, I instinctively feel more comfortable with a bunch of red ties in charge, over a bunch of blue and green. (One interesting exception to tie color thing is that retired generals seem more willing to wear non-red ties in power situations - possibly because ties aren't used for status in the service, like they are in the business world). That sea of red ties says to me that the alpha males are now in charge again, and we aren't going to have another Benghazi on their watch.

The Italian look doesn't work for the upper middle class in this country, since they are the arbiters of conformity. The aristocracy can get away with it. And the proles, who don't know any better. My view is that tying his ties like this author suggested, or taking other liberties with his ties, likely would have lost the election for Trump. Even though he is a bombastic billionaire, Trump, by his dress is upper middle class, and by his speaking style maybe closer to working middle class. One of us, and not one of the elites hanging around Obama and Crooked Hillary.

Fernandinande said...

buwaya said...
I am an avoider.


I don't own a tie and haven't worn one in about 30 years and then only for a few minutes, preferring funny hats with plenty of Eagle feathers.

Bruce Hayden said...

One of the things that I am dreading a bit with this move into our new house is merging my tie collection. My guess is that I have maybe a gross or so of silk ties, and maybe a dozen wool ones. Maybe compounding this, I am probably going to get my father's collection from his estate (one brother is getting his Gurkha knife, another a grandfather's officer's sword (I think the other grandfather's sword is in a museum in MI) - and my choice was his tie collection). Theoretically, I could give a bunch of my ties away, as I so rarely wear them any more. And, theoretically, my partner could give away a bunch of the 300 pair of dress shoes she rarely wears any more. My offer to her is to keep things proportional - 2 pairs of shoes for every tie we give away.

Mac McConnell said...

Funny, Bernie wears a very Ivy League kit, an american way of dressing, think Brooks Brothers, J Press, Bush the elder, Bobby Kennedy & JFK prior to his presidency. Center vent navy blazer & sportcoats, button down shirts, fore in hand tie knot, etc.

Trump wears Italian suits and his tie length is just his style, one could argue it is Trump's Dbag professor's Italian nonchalance.

Trump has re-energized the old discussion of tie length on clothing blogs. Should the tie be worn a inch above the belt buckle or reach the buckle or cover the buckle. Same circle jerks concern should pants have a break or no break at the cuff. I say within parameters find your own style, only folks with a lack of imagination chase fashion, like greyhounds chasing a fake rabbit around a track.



Sam L. said...

To me, it means the lengths they will go to have something to complain about.

buwaya said...

300 shoes?
I cured my daughter of that by telling her of Imelda.
I have seen Imeldas shoe collection.

Wilbur said...

35 years ago, Wilbur's first wife gave Wilbur a copy of Dress for Success and said "Read it". I did, and learned a lot.

So I owed her that. I didn't owe her the house she ended up with.

readering said...

Trump is of a generation and class that wore ties in grade school. Suspect he picked up his tie habit young.

Mac McConnell said...

Earnest Prole said...

"Trump’s preference for enormous, symmetrical knots is analogous to his preference for gold plating in his penthouse: impressive to common people and cringe-worthy to the refined."

I don't like double winsors, but they are normal for his class and age. The gold plating? Yes it's odious to American sensibilities, our protestant old money didn't do that, but the rest of the world's does. Europe's did, where were Trump's wives from? Who decorates your home?

Mac McConnell said...

I suspect Trump picked up the Windsor in military school, like most American's did being in the military, like my father.

Michael K said...

I used to wear bow ties a lot and one of my students gave me a tie dyed one some time ago. In fact, I changed my avatar photo after one of your angry lefties commenters made a big fuss about bow ties.

I hardly wear a tie anymore.

Mac McConnell said...

There was a time when most college professors wore bow ties and tweed jackets, hence the stereotype in movies. Same goes for most authors and newspaper editors. Of course gas station attendants and milkmen wore clip ons.

Smilin' Jack said...

Ford takes the latter approach: "The putative leader of the free world cannot tie a necktie properly."

When you are the leader of the free world as well as a billionaire, the way you tie a tie defines the proper way to tie a tie.

Mac McConnell said...

It's hard to find Images of the esteemed Professor Ford wearing a tie, but when you do it's a double windsor big enough to choke a horse, perfectly symmetrical. Problem is he can't tie one correctly, as per the Duke of Windsor (almost King of England) it's supposed to have a dimple. Evidently according to the Professor like the Italians, he is too stupid and lazy to tie one correctly.

Earnest Prole said...

I don't like double winsors, but they are normal for his class and age.

Agreed.

Amadeus 48 said...

"We are the makers of manners."--Henry V

Sigivald said...

Tape? I have a tie bar for that.

Re. The Times ... why do people even read that rag? Is there a reason beyond mere reinforcement of their extant politics?

StephenFearby said...

Sometimes a tie is just a tie.

Sigivald said...

(Re. Actual tie talk above, I think Bad LT has it about right.

Though I think, contra others, that a sea of red ties does not inspire confidence as much; resistance a fine color, but it can also be trying too hard.

A really confident man doesn't need to wear red "because it's the power color and everyone knows that". If everyone wears it it means nothing. The man in blue or green in a sea of red is more interesting and confident, belike.)

Anthony said...

There is nothing nonchalant about an asymmetrical knot. Such a knot was very "chalantly" tied as a four-in-hand, and symmetrical knots weren't.

Michael K said...

"the Duke of Windsor (almost King of England)"

Briefly King of England.

Back when it WAS England, not Britain said in a Pakistani accent.

Ficta said...

I prefer the Pratt/Shelby; symmetrical without the bulk of the Windsor but a bit soft. I wonder what that means...

David-2 said...

I'm looking for a President who can do for men's ties what JFK did for men's hats.

Mac McConnell said...

The color of power ties change over time, I remember when it was yellow grounded foulard and at one time it was pink.

I imagine Trump has twenty of the same navy suit and as many red ties, it's a sign of a very busy man. I once had a client when I work at a men's shop in college, he would buy the exact same charcoal suit every year, he had a closet of them. He bought a case of white broadcloth button downs a year, a dozen burgundy and navy striped ties ( Royal Horse Guards Regiment) and a the same pair of Alden cordovan oxfords. I never saw him wear anything but this uniform, he was a corporate lawyer with IVY credentials in the midwest, a very busy man. He once told me that he "doesn't have time to fuck around in the morning".

Robert Roy said...

Calling bullshit no matter which side it comes from is one of the reasons I love Althouse.

Mac McConnell said...

David-2
It's a myth that JFK lack of wearing a hat to his inauguration somehow signaled the end of hats. Fact is JFK wore a morning coat and top hat to his inauguration like most before him, like most before him he didn't wear it while speaking, that would be bad form.

If one were to credit presidents, it would be LBJ or Nixon. they got sworn into their presidencys in dress suits sans hats.

I think hats left us because of personal transportation, there was a time when damn near everyone took mass transit of some kind into the cities. Even today drive by a bus stop in the middle of winter, bet you see hats.

Clyde said...

Almost everything that has gone wrong in our country has been caused by a man who wears a tie. Some might say that almost everything that has gone right in our country also was caused by a man who wears a tie. Be that as it may, my own theory is that tying a piece of cloth around one's neck probably affects the blood circulation to the brain. One of the myriad reasons I don't wear them.

Clyde said...

David-2 said...
I'm looking for a President who can do for men's ties what JFK did for men's hats.


Why do you think that JFK was assassinated, David-2? It was the Truman haberdashery mafia that did him in. Too late to reverse the fatal decline in men's hats, of course.

Balfegor said...

Re: Mac McConnell:

Trump has re-energized the old discussion of tie length on clothing blogs. Should the tie be worn a inch above the belt buckle or reach the buckle or cover the buckle. Same circle jerks concern should pants have a break or no break at the cuff. I say within parameters find your own style, only folks with a lack of imagination chase fashion, like greyhounds chasing a fake rabbit around a track.

Nonsense! These questions have clear and obvious answers. The tie should reach the buckle, overlapping it perhaps halfway. Trousers should have a break. I would derive these propositions from first principles, but they are practically axiomatic.

Michael said...

Richard Thompson Ford is an attractive black man whose knots are humorously too large for both his shirts and his face. That's ok since his specialty is some kind of race analysis of everything. But he should stay away from dress as a topic.

Joe said...

According to one pair of mathematicians, there are 85 ways to tie a tie. A Swedish mathematician to exception to this and found there are 177,147 ways to tie a tie (http://www.popsci.com/article/science/there-are-177147-ways-tie-tie)

To claim there is "one right way" is ignorant.

Joe said...

Did I mention that neckties were invented by Satan himself?

SukieTawdry said...

When Prof. Ford isn't writing about ties, he's a social justice warrior who devotes considerable time to looking for ways to reach beyond civil rights laws and lawsuits to achieve social justice goals:

Individual managers may have unconsciously allowed stereotypes to influence their decisions. This kind of inadvertent discrimination is less like Jim Crow racial bigotry and more like a workplace accident. Just as we reduce the risk of accidents through comprehensive occupational safety and health regulations rather than relying on lawsuits after the damage is already done, we could regulate employment practices to reduce the risk of discrimination.

An effective approach might use carrots and sticks: proof that a business used the best employment practices to reduce discrimination — reviewing decisions for potential bias, monitoring long-term trends and adopting more objective hiring and promotion criteria — might constitute a defense to certain kinds of civil liability, while businesses that failed to make reasonable efforts to prevent discrimination would face fines. Clear goals would replace the constant threat of litigation, and the law would seek to prevent discrimination instead of simply punishing it after the fact.


I would prefer he stick to ties.

hombre said...

The article is consistent with my impressions of modern law professors. It must make you proud, Althouse. Lol.

I cant for the life of me remember any law professor, when I was in school or after, who appeared equipped to be a fashion commentator.

Mac McConnell said...

Balfegor

I wear a slight break, but the tip of my ties reach the bottom of my belt buckle. My tie of course is a tight fore in hand with a perfect dimple. I prefer forward pleated trousers, inch and a half cuffs from O'Connell's or J. Press. In shirtings I prefer button downs and tab collars, no chest pocket.
There are no hard fast rules in men's clothing, just guide lines. The exception of course is formal wear, unless you're Ralph Lauren, then you can wear 501s & cowboy boots with a tux jacket, studded shirt and black tie. ;-)

Josephbleau said...

Mac McConnell said...I think hats left us because of personal transportation, there was a time when damn near everyone took mass transit of some kind into the cities. Even today drive by a bus stop in the middle of winter, bet you see hats.

I agree completely, as a suburbanite driving to the city I was always hatless. As a bus riding/walking 3 flat dweller I bought a Russian style fur hat, not of sable, but of Canadian Beaver fur, for my longish walk to the office or for standing at the bus stop.

Josephbleau said...

I stand mute on whether Canadian Beaver fur hats have more effective than American or other Beaver fur.

JamesB.BKK said...

These complaints are about how Trump acts more like a working man than a poser with refinement. Trump wears a standard uniform to fit his job, the suit and tie. He does not fuss or worry about variety. The red tie is the power tie. The tie needs to hang over the top of the pants by a bit. Most ties are too short. Tape solves that. 'Nuff said.

Mac McConnell said...

At least President Trump isn't wearing a full Topekan.

Rusty said...

This is a really important subject!

Mac McConnell said...

Rusty said...
This is a really important subject!

Of course it's not, we're just having fun.

R.J. Chatt said...

The obsession with Trump's tie length reminded of the following quote by a fashion designer. What does it say about men in general?

"Women can get a scent of an idea and know how to interpret what they’re seeing, no matter how wild it looks on a runway. It’s different with guys. They need to be hit on the head. In men’s wear, small changes are huge: An eighth of an inch on a lapel is like an earthquake." Joseph Abboud on ‘Trying to Get Boys to Dress Like Men’ By GUY TREBAY JAN. 30, 2017 NY Times

I noticed Trump's longish ties sometime during the campaign, and not knowing anything about "tie rules" I assumed he was attempting to distract attention from his stomach. In fact, I tracked down a photo of Trump with his parents in 1992 and he was wearing the typical belt length at that time.

PaoloP said...

The question is now: are Trump's shoelaces properly tied? Is public decorum totally lost? We're waiting for an answer from the NYT.