For the longest time, I was adverse to shirts and ties. I think it was the ingrained association with having to go school or scouts that meant that I felt like it was a bad thing. Then, about 2006, I started to wear shirts to work. Not the purple shirts that the Link used to dole out to employees, but shirts that I took to my first engineering position during a summer placement. I wore my shirt open necked, no tie, and it still felt rather awful. However, it didn’t last.
Of course, when I graduated and ended up in gainful employment with my current company, I had to knuckle and head into the territory of shirts. At first I wasn’t aware of the different types, but the big and baggy square shirts were my first port of call, and even then I hated them.
Around 2008 I changed my mind. I decided to start getting shirts that fitted me properly, as you would call them slim-fit or tailored. I also decided that I hated the open neck – I wore a tie, got a few comments form my colleagues, and then I’ve never looked back. I now have yet to wear a shirt without a tie except for the few days when working in Texas where I didn’t wear a rugby shirt or a tee shirt. I liked the relaxed rules in Texas for most of the time, yes, but coming back to UK meant I got to start wearing them again.
I feel more confident in a shirt with a tie – Connie is trying to get me to experiment with the open necked causal shirt again, maybe with a V neck jumper or even a waist coat, but there’s just something I don’t get about wearing a shirt without a tie. I feel like the collar is free to annoy me, stroke my beard, or even just that it looks a little uncouth. I look down on men in my office who wear the basic white shirt open necked, yes, but I don’t begrudge them it – I just think that I feel more comfortable in a shirt and tie at work.
And here’ the thing; I think I am at the point in my life where I feel more confident and comfortable going out to a friend’s house, a pub or even just the shops and dress up a bit. It doesn’t need to be a suit, but I wore a shirt and tie to this past Hogmanay party and I felt a lot more comfortable. I felt good. I think I will wear my shirt and tie to more social events.
This has also ironically coincided with my wearing of what a friend calls “house trousers”, I call “comfy pants”, and my sister calls “looking like dad” – wearing jogging bottoms around the house. I also wear them o ut in the morning for Frank’s 6am walk, something I would have sworn off.
I will try the open necked thing – why not. But I am certain I’ll feel more comfortable with a nice thin tie around the collar.