A word in your ear - December 22, 2011

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WHAT would Oscar Wilde say?

It appears the tie, if not very actually dead, is very nearly dead for a great many men.

And I for one will mourn its passing in the same way I grieved the end of Dad’s Army and the demise of the Wham Bar.

The humble neck-tie has stood as a symbol of decorum and elegance for centuries.

Sadly Tony Blair famously had problems with them and from one sweaty Winter Gardens moment in 2002 the rot has set in.

The open neck work look has been with us for a few years now, “it’s more casual, laid back, the kind of style to pull us through a tight spot” the fashionista tell us. Hogwash.

Are we really going to become an unbuttoned country?

Well Chile is the latest to shed the tie.

The government there wants men to unbutton around their necks to help fight global warming.

Bizarre as it may sound, they hope the campaign will save on air conditioning as summer starts in the southern hemisphere.

“Let’s all take our ties off this summer to save energy,” Economy Minister Pablo Longueira announces in TV ads airing around the country.

In the commercial, he undoes the knot of his pink and white tie and whips it off with gusto, unbuttoning the top of his shirt and smiling.

A tie-less energy minister and other senior government officials also appear in the TV spots.

While many men welcome the idea of a tie-less summer, others are put off, saying that serious people need to dress the part.

“There are things that really go along with being formal and well-structured,” said Santiago resident Gonzalo Castro. “The president can’t go around without a tie. Nor should a government minister, an engineer, a doctor or a journalist.”

Hear, hear from me.

Sadly in my line of work it appears the tie is a dying breed. Take my newsdesk sidekick.

As good a journalist as he is, he owns just two ties, one black for funerals and the other a rather bizarre red/white barber shop item which I presume comes out when he heads to Wales for a spot of close-harmony singing.

I used Twitter on Saturday to ‘advise’ one BBC presenter to smarten up his act when out on a job. Strictly Come Dancing is known for its great set pieces and costumes, so why were BBC local hacks covering it dressed in polo shirts and jeans?

I am very old fashioned, no really I am, I know that, but I love a professional man to look smart. I know, I know I could really do with a new whistle myself, but at least I make the effort. . . well of a fashion.

So I say ‘keep on the tie, crank up the air con and let’s pretend to be Dandys’ – it’s a tad more fun and stylish than pretending we’re hip and down with the kids like a certain Mr Blair.

n You can follow Jon Rhodes on Twitter @gazetterhodes