NEW YORK - More than 100 million of them are sold
annually and they are, according to the designer John Weitz, ""the
only free fo rm of personal expression a man has, except for
They, of course, are neckties, and the favorite expression of the
moment, according to informal on-the-street surveys, is red running
neck-and-neck with yellow.
Red, says Donald Davies, neckwear buyer for Brooks Brothers, has
been the store's best-selling tie color for the past year. At Saks
Fifth Avenue, a store spokesman reports that red has ""always'' been
the best seller.
At Macy's New York, the men's fashion director, Bruce Binder, says
that yellow and red have outpaced the more traditional navy.
Red, says Gerald Andersen, executive director of the Neckwear
Association of America, is the color most men associate with power.
It is said to be the top color in neckties in Washington.
No such theories abound concerning yellow, except that so many
Manhattan men seem to have realized how terrific a sunny-yellow
necktie looks with a sky-blue shirt and a tan.
This is the second summer in succession that neatly patterned
yellow neckties have been popping up all over town, from Wall Street
to the Upper East Side.
""The thing about yellow is that it's not an easy color to keep
clean, and by the end of last summer my yellow tie was a mess,'' Bill
Shaw, a graphics designer, was saying the other afternoon as hepaid
$25 for a new yellow tie with a tiny geometric pattern at Paul
Stuart. ""Now it finally feels like it's summer.''
His old yellow tie?
"It's had it, I'm afraid, and it's hanging on the far side of my
tie rack where the old ties go.''
Which brings us to the question: Why do so many men, even those
with ties to spare, seem to wear the same ones over and over again?
""Men prefer wearing what they are comfortable and familiar
with,'' says Davies of Brooks Brothers, ""and unless a man lays out
his wardrobe the night before, he'll tend to wear what he's worn
Davies says that he himself owns only 20 ties and wears most of
them. Richard Merkin, an artist, writer and one of the town's most
elegant dressers, owns 300 ties, of which he wears 25.
Dr. Roger B. Granet, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry
at the Cornell University Medical College, explains it this way:
""Man has a quest for structure and order, and after a rambling sleep
and the uncertainty of facing the unfolding day, he has a yearning
for what is known and refined. People, in general, tend to repeat
what is safe and certain.''
As for all those seldom-worn cravats languishing in all those
men's closets, they might very well have arrived in a gift box.
Department stores report that the return ratio of neckties is low
and that they are consistently among the least-exchanged items,
perhaps because a man cannot claim it is the wrong size. …