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Have neckties fallen out of favour?

A tie at Paul Puncher Clothiers in Waterloo, Ont. on July 8, 2024. (Colton Wiens/CTV News) A tie at Paul Puncher Clothiers in Waterloo, Ont. on July 8, 2024. (Colton Wiens/CTV News)

Neckties used to be everyday attire for most professional men.

These days they’re more of a fashion choice – and not the rule.

In Waterloo, Ont., Paul Puncher Clothiers started to see a change about a decade ago.

Then came the pandemic and a switch to work-from-home culture.

"The tie business has gone down significantly more since COVID,” said store co-owner Scott Puncher. “People working out of their homes now. So, unless it's a wedding or a special occasion, even the business guys in Toronto are wearing suits, but they're not wearing ties. They're wearing pocket squares."

Puncher still keeps his store stocked with about 500 ties.

What has changed is that now most of them are sold for weddings – not work.

"Because of the increase in wedding business, we've kind of held our ground with ties. People are still wearing them but just to specific functions, and they're not getting the same use out of them. They might buy a tie for a wedding this Saturday, and not wear it again for two years,” Puncher said.

Another trend he’s been seeing is the move from neutral colours to bright, funky designs.

“I wear a tie, probably three or four days a week in here. What's changed for me is I can wear a nice sport coat or something. The pocket square is now an accessory that's replaced a tie."

Samuel Joo, an employee of Paul Puncher Clothiers in Waterloo, Ont., on July 8, 2024. (Colton Wiens/CTV News)

Puncher also said that that about a one-third of shoppers don’t even know how to tie a tie. Employees at the store are happy to offer a tutorial, but some just want them to get it started so they can just slip it on the day of their event.

And it’s not just office workers who are opting out of traditional attire.

Politicians are also seeking more fun and flexibility.

“Do I go with the matching socks to go with it?” joked Berry Vrbanovic, mayor for the City of Kitchener. “I really think it depends on what I’m doing or who I’m meeting with.”

Puncher said one profession where he still sees a lot of ties is, coincidentally, Broadcast Journalism.

“On-camera people, guys at your station, all wear neckties,” Puncher remarked.

Even that can depend on the situation and the individual.

Tie or no tie?

Many of the people who spoke to CTV News on Monday said they only wear ties on special occasions.

“Very rarely,” said Alex Macfarlane. “I would say probably twice a year for a very important business meeting. But that's about it.”

“It's very warm right now,” explained Frank Millard. “Who wants to choke up themselves? Also, people are generally going more casual now.”

“No. I'm retired,” Vincent Taylor said. “If it's a wedding or something I would probably wear a tie. I mean, I have a closet full.”

Others said it is, or was, part of their regular rotation.

“I wear it every week when I go to church. When I was young, all the men wore ties. Now, basically, none do. But I'm still stuck doing that,” David Taylor explained. “I taught at the University of Waterloo and, unlike a lot of my colleagues, I wore a tie when I lectured. Most don't. I just felt somehow it set the right tone for the class.” Top Stories

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