Magazine article The Spectator

Severing All Ties

Magazine article The Spectator

Severing All Ties

Article excerpt

Reading Blair's political obituaries, the most disheartening theme to me was the loss of innocence which the man has ushered in. In ten short years, he created a professional, continental-style 'political class' and, almost simultaneously, did all he could to encourage us to lose faith in it.

Enough politics, though, because I have a (marginally) less depressing sartorial suggestion for the man's legacy: tie-less Britain. Yes, Tone may have been the first serving prime minister to help police with their inquiries, but he was also the first to regularly make tie-free public appearances.

Brown, the old fuddy-duddy, may not follow in his footsteps, but he'll be off soon anyway.

Blair's true heir, Cameron, keen to distance himself from traditional Tories, seems to jettison his the minute he's out of the House.

I hate to admit it, but Cameron's probably right to go down the open-necked route. It symbolises a very safe, middle-of-the-road kind of cool, and if you're seeking to be elected, that's just the right cool to have. It's different for our stylish friends across the Channel, of course. I can't imagine the permanently dapper Sarkozy being photographed inappropriately sans tie. They say that even those who voted for the new president think that he's not actually a terribly nice piece of work, but you can't be cuddly and snappily dressed at the same time: it would crease the suit.

I'm going to stick my neck out here, and say that there's something hip about the tie now that the Establishment has ditched it.

I've recently noticed smart young bucks sporting neckwear at events for which older folk have left theirs at the office.

Even Jefferson Hack, of Dazed and Confused and Kate Moss fame, has recently taken to ties. It all reminds me of the reinvention of the City suit as glamorous garment in about 1998. It was sparked by the bean-counters donning baggy polo shirts and chinos, desperate as they were to fit in with computer geeks during the dotcom bubble. Suddenly we had hipster-types like James Brown, then editor of GQ, seen about town in pin-stripes.

Very soon afterwards, Mr Brown was hoofed by his po-faced bosses when he made a point similar to my Sarkozy one above: he included 'The Nazis' in his bestdressed of the century list. …

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