Oh, stop complaining, no-one said my titles were easy to understand! Anyway, I'm sure I have told you, many a time and oft', that I am the Founder, President for Life, Chief Executive and so far, alas, the sole member of SPOT - the Society for the Preservation of the Tie. However, today I am delighted to announce that I now have an honoury member, indeed, a very honourable member, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, no less, and so henceforth we will be known as the Royal Society for the Preservation of the Tie! As Nick Foulkes reminds us in today's Telegraph, HRH took exception to some rich, young computer nerd who turned up to a Royal garden party at 'Buck House' dressed in a suit but no tie:
I felt a bit a sorry for the technical whizz-kid. But I can see where HRH is coming from: you put on a suit and tie, invite a bunch of strangers into your palace and try to give the whole thing a sense of occasion, and the chap walks in dressed as though he is popping out to the pub for a swift half after work. With commendable restraint, he refrained from using stronger language and telling the poor man to go home and not come back until he was properly dressed.
This contemporary non-fashion misses the point entirely. A suit requires a tie. Not to wear a tie with a suit is like wearing your pyjama trousers under a double-breasted suit jacket, it simply looks bizarre. If you are dead set against wearing a tie then don't wear a suit. However, Mr. Foulkes very usefully lets us in on the social clues to be derived from the number of shirt buttons left undone whilst wearing a suit without a tie:
I don’t like to disagree with the Duke of Edinburgh, but I am afraid that today the more successful you are, the fewer ties you wear. For all I know there may be some subtle semaphore of one-upmanship among the global financial elite about how many buttons you leave undone – maybe a cautious unfastened collar button speaks of the lower rungs of big-shotdom; two buttons, of a more self-confident sense of pantomime plutocracy that hovers at about the level of television’s Dragon’s Den; three open buttons probably means that you are a raw materials oligarch; and open to the navel, you are so rich that you have more planes and yachts than you do Hermès ties.
Beau Brummel was the man who laid down that English gentlemen should be dressed with elegant, restrained simplicity and I'm with him all the way but, there always being an exception to any good rule, the tie is the one accoutrement which allows a man to express his peacock tendency. A dash of flash, as I call it. So chaps, stop sniggering at the likes of Dave, Nick 'n' Ed trying to look 'with it' by appearing on our TV screens looking like villains who have just been sent down (if only!) and have had their ties and shoe-laces removed for safety reasons, buck the trend, be your own man and wear a bloody tie, for God's sake!