Richard Branson on Office Ties and the Company Dress Code

by Volker Weber

So on behalf of the oppressed tie-wearers of the world, here is my appeal to those corporate despots who still force their male employees to put nooses around their necks every day: Please think again.

More >


I'm sorry anyone would see them as 'nooses'.

A tie can serve the function of saying 'I take you (the customer) seriously, and I take the context of this meeting seriously'. It can at the very same time, make some sort of gentle statement of personality, without shouting.

If on the other hand, you have worked for an employer that expects you to wear a characterless pin-stiped thing all the time, then I understand that this may help to destroy your soul - but I can't imagine it has the power to do so all on its own!

Nick Daisley, 2012-05-31

The author appears to be doing quite well with his attire.

Volker Weber, 2012-05-31

Ironically, the only time I’ve worn a tie in a workplace in recent memory was last year when interviewing with… a Virgin company.

(Said organisation then went on to mess me around in a very unprofessional way, but that’s another story).

Ben Poole, 2012-05-31

Maybe they do that with people who wear a tie. JK

Volker Weber, 2012-05-31

Ehh, a tie usually says "I'm trying", which shows some motivation, so I'm with Nick. I'm no fan of them, btw, but I understand their usefulness as a quick barometer.

You'll always have folks with something that more than compensates for their dress, whether it's brains, money, etc (hell, I think Jobs skipped shoes and showers). Those anomalies are hardly the reason to change dress codes and norms.

Mike McPoyle, 2012-05-31

Equally often, a tie says "I want you to believe I'm trying," or "My company wants you to believe I'm trying."

As a quick barometer, my the only thing I take from a tie is "We think you might pre-judge by appearance, and it's okay with us if you do."

Richard Schwartz, 2012-05-31

I worked for a women owned/run company for a couple of years that mandated all men wear long sleeve shirts and ties. Women on the other hand had no dress code at all and could wear anything they wanted (within reason for an office).

Not only was this rule stupid as not one employee ever met with a client, but for an IT person it was dangerous when around (at the time) dot matrix platen-style printers. Get your tie caught in one of those and you could end up dead from strangulation.

I don't think I have worn a tie in the last 6 years and probably donated over 100 of them to Goodwill or one of the other charity organizations in the area in that time.

Roy Rumaner, 2012-06-01

Why wear clothes at all, why not wear dresses and high heels as a man ... "because it's expected" is not the worst reason.

Martin Hiegl, 2012-06-01

Well, you can wear high heels if you like. Just don't make me wear them. Same goes for nooses.

Volker Weber, 2012-06-01

I see this conversation is going in some interesting directions...

I quite like cheerful silk ties, and my one concession to sybaritism is that I own 40 of them, in different colours (going through the spring selection now, of course).

Other people comment on them, and occasionally seem to be entertained by them. As long as nobody forces me to wear them, or indeed to doff them, I'm happy.

Nick Daisley, 2012-06-01

If a person I'm meeting needs to see me wearing a tie to think that I'm taking them seriously, they must be pretty darned shallow!

Simon Peek, 2012-06-02

Richard Stallman's perspective is available on his lifestyle page.

(It seems to accord with that of most people on this page, apart from me!)

Nick Daisley, 2012-06-12

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe