Fashion Dr: Tie + short sleeves = fail

Last updated 05:00 03/10/2012
short sleeves and tie
FASHION FAIL: Wearing short sleeves and tie is never a good look.

Related Links

Fashion Dr: can I wear pastel jeans? Fashion Dr: Buying his first suit Fashion Dr: I'm slim and nothing fits Fashion Dr: Can comfort equal style? Fashion Dr: I need a dressing gown

Relevant offers


Roaming sandals: After 65 years is it time to upgrade the Roman sandal? Wallaby coach Michael Cheika's fashion connection with Kiwi Collette Ten hacks every bra wearer needs to know Rose Town traveller blooms on global stage Ballantynes fashion week opening night success Best & worst dressed celebrities of the week Trelise Cooper to take on Hamilton 12-year-old's dress design Mariah Idrissi is H&M's first model to wear a hijab Dame Trelise Cooper wins Wanaka hearts at fundraiser fashion show Creating that WOW factor

I am a "mature" teacher of mathematics in a conservative boys' school. I feel duty-bound to be a role model to my students in fashion in addition to the other responsibilities. For many years I have taken the stance that if a man is wearing a tie he should be wearing a long-sleeved shirt. I see many responsible citizens bucking that convention, and I note that many quality shirt manufacturers market short-sleeved shirts obviously designed to be worn with a tie. What are they thinking?


Dear Keith,

The existence of the tie in Western society dates back to the early 1600s. The Croatian military would wear small handkerchiefs knotted at their necks during the Thirty Years War - a look that impressed the Parisians who then took the look back to France as a fashion trend. Elaborately knotted cravats were popular until the Industrial Revolution, when men needed some sort of neckwear that was easy to put on, would knot firmly and would stay all day. The modern necktie as we know it was born.

Contrary to your observations that short-sleeved shirts and ties may be becoming acceptable, go with your gut instinct - they are not OK.

GQ men's magazine, Richard James of Savile Row and countless other stylish and knowledgeable people agree that short sleeves and tie does not make for a harmonious pairing. Charlie Porter of The Telegraph agrees it's not just tradition that makes it unacceptable: "There is something about the cut of a short-sleeved shirt that lessens the suit's impact. Without shirt cuffs visible underneath, at the wrist, a suit jacket loses a visual anchor point. Take the suit jacket off, and the sleeves of a short-sleeved shirt stand away from the body like wings, rather than sitting close to the arm."

A short-sleeved shirt and tie will never make you look elegant, intelligent, powerful or impressionable. It will make you look like a character from Napoleon Dynamite, a cast member from a low-ranking American sit-com, or - rather worryingly - a stereotypical mature mathematics teacher.

Ad Feedback

- Wellington


Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was your best dressed of the week?

Heidi Klum

Pia Miller

Hannah Tointon

Taylor Schilling

Tia Mowry

Charlotte Le Bon

The meh - Megan Fox

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content