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Neckties don’t hold quite the same place in the fabric of our lives

Former car dealership manager Dan Leahy has close to 1,200 neckties, some of which he has hanging on his bedroom closet door.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Robert Weisman’s article noting the decline of the necktie prompted my first-ever letter to the editor (“The ties that bind no longer,” Page A1, Nov. 18). My mother provided a perfect answer to the question “What to do with them?”: Make a rug.

Having been a Depression-era farmwife in Kansas, she let nothing go to waste and always found a use for the seemingly most useless item. When I changed careers decades ago, she asked me what I was going to do with all my neckties that I no longer needed, and she proposed weaving them into a rug.


With sturdy cotton as the warp and neckties as the weft, she stood in her basement at her beloved loom and skillfully and lovingly wove them into a spectacular silken rug that has greeted my bare feet every morning for more than 30 years.

She’s 95 and still going strong. Thank you, Mom!

Ed Nelson


Robert Weisman’s story generated more than 200 comments on BostonGlobe.com. The following is an edited sample:

My late father must have had 50 ties. This was when a tie was worn to a sporting event, decades and decades ago. I hated them. Never understood the reason for donning a piece of cloth and tying it tightly to one’s neck. Years ago, I decided to not wear a tie to a wedding. Oh, the outrage! Except for the comments of a few men who said, “I wish I had the backbone to do that!” Now it’s more common. I have three ties collecting dust in my closet. Ties for men and uncomfortable high heels for women. Never got either one. (JAG49)

I view wearing a tie as a symbol of respect. I wear a tie to a wedding to mark it as the special occasion it is. To not wear a tie to such an occasion is to say, “This is not important to me. I can’t be bothered wearing a tie.” Show respect! (CDB123)


Being present at a special occasion is the symbol of respect, not the tie. (icanteven)

I was just at a wake, and I couldn’t believe how people were dressed, even the family of the deceased. Practically T-shirts. Doesn’t anyone know how to get a bit fancied up anymore? (pdmommy)

I recently wore a tie to a funeral, and an acquaintance surprised me by recognizing the tie: “Hey, that’s a Jerry Garcia!” (smozo)

I never minded ties, especially traveling on business. A man could just bring a couple of suits and four ties and have a different look every day. In the early ’90s, we called the jacket-but-no-tie look “condescending casual” because execs would take them off before coming to our floor just to show that they were one of us. (Numeral)

I’m a millennial who, as a kid, went through multiple schools that required them. My first job required them. I don’t dislike wearing a nice tie. I just want it to be for something nice. Work is not that. (Anantaboga)

Ted Williams had the right idea long ago. No ties. (ColDax)

Great warm and fuzzy article. My dad had his ties over the door too. I think guys look great in ties, especially when they are bright beautiful colors. (yogasally)

Guys, don’t forget “clothes make the man.” Clothing and manners definitely make a first impression — they can draw people to you or away. It is a definite sign of respect. Thank heavens I work in a professional business. When people show up in meetings looking schlumpy, they are not treated as well. And don’t kid yourself — afterward management is talking about how uncommitted the guy is. This [no-tie trend] is a temporary thing for sure. (flying pigs)


First post-college job (1974), mandatory tie. F, seated behind me, wore a turtleneck one day. L, the assistant manager, walked the floor each morning at 8:35 to check on our ties, whether we were at our desks, etc. L reached F, stopped, and pulled down the front of F’s turtleneck (would that be assault today?). L explained the rule, and F, silent, nodded. F got up, went home, and returned wearing a jacket and tie. No shirt! L walked over to F later that morning, nodded, smiled, and returned to his office. From that day forward, L was a little more forgiving. (RideLikeTheWind)

The president of my small engineering company sent us a memo about dress back in the late ’70s. It gave us all a good chuckle. He wanted blue or gray suits, solid color ties (but never red), and stipulated that ties could be “no more than 3 inches wide,” seeing that some of the geekier types wore extra-wide ties with interesting patterns. He also insisted on blue or white shirts. One of our responses was to construct a 3-inch-wide tie gauge and hang it on the entry door. (Highandinside)


I had ties for every occasion. At Christmastime I wore a tie that played music. I had so many ties for the holidays that I’d change ties throughout the day to see who was paying attention. All fun. (user_1600898)

My favorite ’80s tie: “capitalist tool” written across it all the way down the tie. A Forbes magazine product. Glad they are gone as I sit at work in my shorts and T. (HermitHarding)

Nothing says well dressed on Zoom like a tie, jacket, sweatpants, and Crocs. (I did it)

Fred Flintstone would be totally out of it today. (howard2)

And he was a “bronto crane operator.” And still wore a tie! (57 Channels)

Yogi Bear wore a tie too! But no pants. (smozo)