Off with the tie!

The tie as part of business fashion is increasingly being replaced by a casual style. However, it is still an absolute necessity on some occasions. A brief history of business fashion in the past and present.

When you look at certain things and ignore the overall picture, they sometimes appear strange. Ties for example. Isn’t it hilarious that a long tie, in the shape of a triangle at the end, suddenly makes its wearer appear totally serious? Thirty years ago, businessmen still attracted attention when they didn’t wear a tie. It’s the other way round today.

In the beginning it was also certainly common for Gebhard Balluff, the founder of Balluff, to wear overalls. After all, the company started off as a repair workshop. However, a suit and tie were part of the expected work attire when his son-in-law Eduard Hermle joined the business and for the following generations. “It was absolutely normal to wear a suit and a tie every day,” said Rolf Hermle, the grandson of the company founder. “It was a sign of respect. During everyday working life and also especially at trade fairs.” The male employees at Balluff wore a suit and tie in everyday work life for many years. That gradually changed in the industry towards the end of the 1990s. The suit and tie were increasingly replaced by polo shirts or more casual blazers. “One disadvantage of this development: A popular present for men was no longer available. That’s because a tie was always suitable if you couldn’t think of anything else,” said Hermle.

Isn't it hilarious that a long tie, in the shape of a triangle at the end, suddenly makes its wearer appear totally serious?

It should not be forgotten that ties have a special meaning, primarily at Balluff’s headquarters in Neuhausen, since the town on the Filder is one of the strongholds of the Swabian-Alemannic “Fastnacht” (carnival). Ever since the middle of the 20th century, it has been the custom on “schmotziger Dunschtig”, i.e. the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, for women to cut off men’s ties as a symbol of masculine power. That’s also the case at Balluff since many of the employees are part of this tradition. “Schmotziger Dunschtig” is now probably one of the few days when men wear a tie. Many of them come to work wearing a jacket but no tie (“business casual”), or wearing a shirt, jeans and sneakers (“casual chic”). However, a suit and tie still form part of the business repertoire on special occasions, for example at trade fairs.

What a tie was and is for men is a costume for women. The following rule also applies here: On special (work) occasions – why not. There are now many more casual combinations in everyday life.

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