Preachers: Time to Ditch the Tie

Sam Rainer

June 4, 2008

Without much regret I gave up wearing a tie while I preach several months ago. Hardly anyone in my church cared or noticed (with the exception of one anonymous hate letter in the offering plate).

After reading this article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal I now feel justified in my decision. Apparently after 60 years, the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association, the trade group that represents American tie makers, plans on shutting down operations on Thursday.

The article reports that a recent Gallup Poll revealed the number of men who wore ties every day to work last year dropped to a record low of 6%.

Perhaps this quote explains it all:

Some members of the neckwear association sensed the trend two years ago when, at the group’s annual luncheon in New York, a number of people turned up tieless.

While I realize a few contexts may still require some to continue wearing a tie, I think it’s time to put the paisley pinchers and skinny stranglers away.

But the bigger question remains – what to do about Father’s Day?

8 comments on “Preachers: Time to Ditch the Tie”

  1. Chuck Gaines says:

    I voted to go tieless about 5 years ago – kept only two: wedding & funeral tie. I’ll let my wife choose which one she buries me in. As for Father’s Day – I bet your dad is relieved!

  2. Thom Rainer says:

    Send a card and/or money for Father’s Day. No tie.

  3. Craig Webb says:

    Good call on the tie. I serve on a church staff where the younger staff do jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen my pastor, age 63, wearing a tie in the 5 years I’ve been there. A group of men recently chose to wear ties for Mother’s Day and it was awkward. My advice, don’t back slide on Father’s Day. Thanks for your good blog, Sam.

  4. Alvin Reid says:

    I speak at more youth events than church events. I am a much better preacher in a t shirt and jeans with a music stand for a pulpit. Still, I speak in a lot of venues and thus wear a tie when it is expected out of respect. I do not want to swing the pendulum to the place that frat boy style becomes en vogue for preachers!
    It was your dad who taught me the great rule of taking one blue blazer on trips and changing shirt and tie each day. Saved me a lot of money on suits over the years.
    One more thing: I recently read a comment by Finney that in his day there were churches whose tradition had it that a preacher wearing a tie was a liberal. Wow have we swung that pendulum the other way!

  5. Sam Rainer says:

    Dr. Reid – I dared my father to ditch the tie and become the first SBC agency head to present without one…he didn’t bite.

  6. I rarely wear a tie. I don’t at the church where I am interim pastor, and the only time I have is when I’ve spoken or preached in churches where it is “the culture” of the church.

    Even in those churches only the minority of men were wearing ties… so I wonder why it is still considered “the culture”. Oh well.

    Having a rather thick neck I’m happy about the trend.

  7. Ahad Ghadimi says:

    Ties were good, but just like everything else, there time has come and gone. The problem is, it’s reached saturation – everybody and their dog (you know you’ve seen them) wear ties. People want to be unique – different. That’s why we see the huge return of the bow tie. I design and manufacture bow ties, so I naturally feel strongly about them. But if you (boy or girl or dog), can get over any preconceived notion about the classic neck accessory and wear it for a day – you’ll quickly feel the difference between a tie and a bow tie.

    Next up…the ascot!

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