No more tie

This week I stopped wearing a tie to work.

I’ve moved to a new office, where the norm is no ties. I could wear one, but would stick out. So effectively it’s the new uniform.

As I noted last year, when I started working in 1993, pretty much every male white-collar worker wore a tie. Not any more — particularly not in IT.

In some ways I’ll miss them. And it might be time to buy some more coloured shirts… I think white shirts (worn without a jacket during the summer) look odd without a tie.

And I’ll probably miss it when doing TV media. Would it be cheating to keep one in the drawer at work for that?

Ties

I have a love-hate relationship with ties.

When I started my working life in 1993, almost all white-collar male workers wore ties. Over the years this has dropped somewhat, and I’d hazard a guess that perhaps around 30% now do so.

I still wear a tie. I switched a few years ago to a Windsor Knot, and this is what I’ve taught my kids to use now they wear ties in high school. Apparently some of the other boys don’t know how to tie them at all, and just leave them tied up all the time. (The girls wear them only in winter.)

Ties can add some colour to an otherwise dull shirt and suit. And when chosen and presented well, can look really good. I think they can give one an air of authority. Such as on TV!

On the other hand they are fiddly, and I don’t find them particularly comfortable to wear.

Ties apparently originated in the 1600s. I wonder if they’ll eventually disappear from common use.

The number became a brand

Back when I worked at Hattams (mid 80s to early 90s), we stocked Levi’s jeans, primarily the 555 “red tabs”, but also the 517 “boot cut”.

The numbers were Levi’s product codes. The first digit 5 signified they were for adult men’s — my recollection is that the “student” (kids/young men up to a size 81 cm/32″) sizes in red tabs were 855.

We didn’t stock women’s jeans, but they seemed to be all numbered in the 700s.

And while the sizing was multiples of inches, like most things in the trouser-world (in Australia at least), it was measured in centimetres.

Levi's jeans

At some stage in the last couple of decades, the product codes have become marketing tools. 501s in particular have been catapulted into a fully-fledged brand of their own. They used to be a specific type of button-fly men’s jeans; now they seem to be a catch-all for anything Levi’s feels like calling “501s” for marketing purposes, not to mention thrown onto promotional T-shirts and hoodies.

I think the women’s equivalent used to be 701s, but now they too go by the 501 branding, as I noted recently when Marita was out jeans-shopping.

They’ve also reverted the measurements from centimetres to those archaic inches, to give themselves some genuine American-ness. At least, I assume that’s the reason, as everybody else has switched to metric — well, apart from Burma and Liberia.

This page doesn’t claim to be authoritative, but talks about the numbering of Levi’s jeans — in particular it seems to be a list from after some of the numbers got mixed up a bit. I know I have two pairs of 504s (bought at Hattams in the last couple of years) which that list reckons are “slouch straight for women”, which I’d dispute.

Presumably internally Levi’s now have a completely different numbering system, so they can tell all the myriad of “501″ products apart.

Selling shoes

So, those very nice but badly sized Ecco shoes I bought a couple of months ago… I’m finally selling them on eBay:

I bought these shoes recently. I wore them a couple of times and then realised I’d made a huge mistake: I had got the wrong size. Could I return them to the shop? No, not really – there’s now a teensy bit of wear on them – not noticeable under normal conditions, but enough to make them no longer “as new” for the purposes of returning them to the shop. Trying inserts didn’t work for me, so I’m selling them here.

They retail for about $200, so I’ve learnt an expensive lesson: make sure the shoes fit before you leave the shop.

Nice though the shoes are, they had a compatibility problem with my feet. Sigh. Hopefully someone wants them.

Last week I did in fact finally find a pair of sneakers that I like and that fits properly: a rather nice pair from Geox, which are much more similar to my old favourite pair of Eccos than anything Ecco sells now. And they fit.

So, if you’re a Euro size 44 (Aus 9 1/2), please buy my shoes.

Update: Sold for AU $78.69!