You’re forgiven if you didn’t realize the Brooklyn Nets were enjoying a bit of a renaissance—they’ve gone a cool 10-2 in January. Apparently, Jason Kidd, in his first season as coach, has become noticeably more relaxed. The New York Times noted yesterday that this goes beyond the team’s play, ‘From an aesthetic standpoint Kidd’s development includes a growing a considerable gray-flecked beard.” We always support beards in leadership roles, even among titans of finance (you can approve the beard and not approve the investment strategy).
The piece continues that in the current winning month Kidd has also forsaken wearing ties during games, and he looks pretty good without one. Still, our first thought was that this was another step down the path of informality—like the sad day when the 21 Club dropped their tie requirement at lunch.
Why is that? The tie is a declaration of intent. A good tie announces your understanding of society and your place in it. The tie maintains a cultural power even in its absence, that’s why you notice when somebody in a position of authority isn’t wearing one. Would you hire an accountant who wore a flannel shirt? Consider the downward spiral from Tom Landry to Bill Belichick: Both are brilliant coaches, one was dignified and natty, the other looks like he should be replacing used towels in the locker room.
That doesn’t make the tie a default mode for every man—we’re long past that point. But if you are going to forsake the tie it should look like a proper consideration. You don’t want to look you’ve been ejected from a four-star restaurant and walked into the nearest bar with a television. So how about an unstructured coat instead of a suit? Or a shirt with enough interest that it makes a good case for itself—Salvatore Piccolo sets the standard.
Boys are made to wear ties against their will, men understand a sense of occasion and rise to it. Ultimately there is a time to wear your tie and you should know when that is. Whether you’re eating at Daniel, attending the opera, or sitting through your sentencing hearing, wear your tie from a position of strength. In the meantime, if a tie constricts you then find another path. But let that path be true. -DC