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Statistics on best tie color/pattern for executives?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

In John Molloy's "New Dress For Success," a men's style book from the '80s, the author claims that, matching aside, certain ties create the impression that their wearers are upper-class, professional, and competent (i.e. a red & purple paisley tie), while other ties cause their wearer to be perceived as lower-class and incompetent (i.e. a white-dotted red tie).  I found this to be enormously fascinating, as Molloy claims to have reached his conclusions by conducting studies -- he'd show pictures of men wearing different ties to people and having them rate the men on trustworthiness, competency, etc.

 

I imagine that the styles/colors that test well with executives are subject to change, and have changed since this book was published.  Is anyone aware of similar tests having been conducted?  As a young professional in NYC, I'd find accurate, updated information on this subject to be very valuable.

post #2 of 18
Based on the cover photo, that book's claims are dubious to me. Shiny red silk tie w/ emblematics doesn't make a good first impression on me. That gives off a dated, tacky 1980's "power tie" vibe

I've never heard of that author either. http://www.amazon.com/John-Molloys-New-Dress-Success/dp/0446385522

Here's a better book, written by a forum member: http://www.amazon.com/The-Suit-Machiavellian-Approach-Style/dp/0060891866

Summary:

-Conservative colors: navy, mid blue, brown, dark green, burgundy, etc
-Solids and simple patterns: stripes, pindots, "neats"/"maccelsfield" prints
-No shiny satin
post #3 of 18
E Marinella's rules:


http://dieworkwear.com/post/10768949197/marinellas-ten-tie-commandments


"1. As in all the things, a tie is a matter of size: the correct one stays between 8.5 and 9.5 centimeters at the widest point.

2. It’s important not to tighten the knot too much, otherwise you’ll look “hung.” Also, always untie it in the evening and hang it up during the night.

3. Use the correct material: silk jacquard for regimentals; lighter silk model foulard for printed cloths; pattern for ties with an elegant tone; striped wool or Scottish patterns for winter sporting clothing.

4. Have a tie for every occasion. In the morning, choose a lightly coloured, patterned tie. In the evening, opt for a darker one. Don't like this one.

5. Don’t take advice and don’t remit your tie choice to anyone. The only rule is to follow your instinct. Choosing the tie has to be an irrational act.

6. At the same time, your instinct has to follow a certain logic too. Absolutely avoid ties that are too wide and have showy or centralized patterns. Also avoid ties that are too pale and anonymous. Remember that the tie reveals your personality.

7. Choose ties in definite colours, have small patterns (pois, lozenges, little squares, rhombus, small cashmere prints), or stripes with two or three colours at the most.

8. The colours of a tie must stand out against the suit and shirt, but not clash. It must also be darker than the shirt and more intense than the jacket. With serious clothing, a tie is often the only place for color, but don’t go to far with this! Avoid pea green, canary yellow, fire red, and sugared almond pink. Choose darker colours (but not anonymous ones) such bordeaux, dark blue, hunter green, and dark brown.

9. Coordinating your tie with your shirt a mine-field where only good taste can guide you. Some basic tips, however: avoid pairing a thick patterned tie with a checkered shirt, or combining a regimental tie with a striped shirt and striped jacket.

10. Never coordinate your tie and pocket square. It is a useless, anachronistic affectation. Always avoid having a too cared and affected comprehensive look; opt for relaxed elegance."
post #4 of 18

The majority of executives I've seen the past years have usually worn very anonymous ties(solids/geometrics/stripes), or typical hermes/ferragamo with cartoon-like prints. All depending on which industry they're working in... 

 

Almost always red or blue, and sometimes colors close to those.(maroon,burgundy,purple,etc.)

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

In my mind, what sets Molloy's book apart is that the way he set about making conclusions ("wear this, not that") is by conducting studies on what people think of people who wear certain articles of clothing, not by eyeballing the outfit, or by appealing to historical tenets of men's style.

 

It's all well and good to opine on what looks good, or what is popular, but I worry that people "in the know" of style or fashion are a discrete and insular minority in the United States.  I'd love a source saying, "We showed photographs of a model wearing ten different tie/shirt patterns to 100 people in New York and asked them to guess how competent/trustworthy/intelligent/successful the pictured man is.  [Demographic] rated the man wearing [shirt/tie combination] as [X/X] in competency, [X/X] in trustworthiness . . . "

 

If up-to-date studies of this variety don't exist, they should!  Someone can make a lot of money off it, I imagine, and I'm sure a lot of "common knowledge" would turn out to be incorrect (i.e. a popular pairing might test poorly because of how common it is).

post #6 of 18
^ It's not that difficult to pick a tie.

I don't need "focus group" data from the 1980s to inform my decision on which color tie will make me seem most "competent/trustworthy/intelligent/successful."

See numbers 5 and 6 on the list
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

^ It's not that difficult to pick a tie.

I don't need "focus group" data from the 1980s to inform my decision on which color tie will make me seem most "competent/trustworthy/intelligent/successful."

See numbers 5 and 6 on the list

 

Unnecessarily dismissive.  You might be surprised by how well some combinations are perceived and by how poorly some combinations are perceived.

 

(...And by "might," I mean "certainly would.")

post #8 of 18
I'm sorry, I still don't see the value in this necktie "focus group" data. The book does not have excerpts available on Amazon or Google.

Would you mind typing up some of your favorite passages so that we can get a better sense of why you think this information is valuable? Might help you get a better reponse...
post #9 of 18
Does it provide recommendations like this? Would be a bit crazy to get up every morning and pick ties according to this focus-group-informed logic:

(Making this one up)

-"I'm meeting with a female client today. The women in the 50-person focus group from the 1980s liked purple ties ties the most. Therefore, I will wear a purple tie to maximize my chances of getting her to place an order"
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

Does it provide recommendations like this? Would be a bit crazy to get up every morning and pick ties according to this focus-group-informed logic:

(Making this one up)

-"I'm meeting with a female client today. The women in the 50-person focus group from the 1980s liked purple ties ties the most. Therefore, I will wear a purple tie to maximize my chances of getting her to place an order"

 

A short excerpt: "My first test was conducted with 1,362 people . . . [i]n this test, among a group of other problems and questions, I inserted a set of almost identical "twin pictures."  There was only one variable.  The twin pictures showed the same man in the same pose dressed in the same suit, the same shirt, the same tie, the same shoes.  The only difference was the raincoat - one black, one beige.  Participants were told that the pictures were of twin brothers, and were asked to identify the more prestigious of the two.  Over eighty-seven percent, or 1,118 people, chose the man in the beige raincoat."

 

(Among other tests done were to visit Fifth Avenue stores to count the number of black & beige raincoats offered; same in lower-middle-class stores; to count, on rainy days, the prevalence of black or beige in rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods; and to send a courier in each color raincoat to a "group of business offices at random" to ask to speak to the man in charge, to measure success rate.)

 

The author concludes that beige is the color you want to wear if you want people to perceive you as upper-class and successful.  If this was a recent study, and I was raincoat shopping tomorrow, I would use the results of such data collection to opt for a beige raincoat instead of a black raincoat.

 

He conducted similar studies -- though with less exhaustive description of his methodology -- to list the most effective tie/shirt colors, and least effective ones.  Mores may have changed since then, and so, as indicated in the original post, I'm looking for other people who have done studies like this with shirt/tie combos more recently.

post #11 of 18
Can you post the parts about the ties since this is a thread about ties and not raincoats? Genuinely interested, and this vital info might get others to wade into the conversation

To reiterate, there would be certain colors to stay away from. I would never wear a bright red tie, a bright yellow tie, etc. And I would never wear anything in a shiny satin.

But I'm not sure you could correlate a green tie with a higher chance of sealing a deal/getting a promotion than a brown tie. Or a navy tie vs a burgundy tie for that matter.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

Can you post the parts about the ties since this is a thread about ties and not raincoats? Genuinely interested, and this vital info might get others to wade into the conversation

To reiterate, there would be certain colors to stay away from. I would never wear a bright red tie, a bright yellow tie, etc. And I would never wear anything in a shiny satin.

But I'm not sure you could correlate a green tie with a higher chance of sealing a deal/getting a promotion than a brown tie. Or a navy tie vs a burgundy tie for that matter.

 

"Because I learned very early in my research that ties are so important, I have probably conducted more experiments with them and more testing of them than I have with any other article of clothing.  Running through the entire litany of experiments would be impossible in this book, but a small sample is in order. 

 

. . . 

 

We asked 212 people picked at random in downtown Chicago to estimate the yearly income of the men in the pictures.  The respondents, as they had in the first case, assumed that the man wearing an upper-middle-class tie earned considerably more than the man with an open collar."

 

Molloy goes on to explain, in great detail, a large number of other studies he conducted and their results, including, "The men who wore the conservative, traditional business ties were much more likely to be hired than the men in the other two groups."

 

He also says that some colors and designs create favorable impressions with blue-collar folk and unfavorable impressions with executives, and vice versa for some other colors and designs.

 

I'm not going to transcribe entire chapters, but what I've said in this thread before is sufficient description of his methodology and his (now outdated) conclusions.  I'd just want more current studies on what tie/shirt combos create a favorable impression.

post #13 of 18
Ok so it's the book is about appealing to people of a certain socioeconomic class or management position, rather than gender, age, or nationality?

What ties does he classify as "conservative, traditional"? That's a vague description. Something WASPy like a repp stripe or pindot?


What about the ties that made a favorable impression with the blue collar folk and an unfavorable impression with the executives? Were those novelty ties? Chambray? I'm having trouble picturing what a "blue collar" tie would be...


http://www.chippneckwear.com/novelty/
Quote:
tie-novelty-santa-peeing__33772.1385423071.1280.1280.jpg?c=2
tie-novelty-pussy-on-mind__70802.1385159892.1280.1280.jpg?c=2
tie-novelty-bullshit__93746.1385159892.1280.1280.jpg?c=2
hopsack-suit-by-Michael-Andrews-Bespoke.-Chambray-shirt-denim-tie-style-men.jpg

Quote:
Molloy goes on to explain, in great detail, a large number of other studies he conducted and their results, including, "The men who wore the conservative, traditional business ties were much more likely to be hired than the men in the other two groups."

He also says that some colors and designs create favorable impressions with blue-collar folk and unfavorable impressions with executives, and vice versa for some other colors and designs.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

It won't be very helpful without the color pictures in the book, but some examples of ties that are "acceptable with all groups": Red with small white dots; White with small red dots; solid light purple; red white and blue striped tie; midnight blue with wide white stripes.  Ties that are "acceptable when dealing with 'executives only club'": Red with repeating design (I think it's a duck?); purple repeating diamonds; red and purple paisley.  Examples:

 

Blue Collar (Click to show)

 

 

 

Executive (Click to show)

 

 

 

 

Again, the information in the book is outdated -- the data was collected in the 1980's -- so what created a favorable impression may no longer do so.  (I imagine those novelty ties you posted would have scored poorly with both blue collar and white collar men, both then and now.)

 

 

 

It reminds me of the chapter in Freakonomics about how a person's name correlates with success.  Briefly, the book (written by self-proclaimed "rogue statisticians") explains how child names go through a cycle that lasts a generation: Upper-class families name their children common upper-class names, then lower-class families start copying successful peoples' names for their children, but then the names become too pedestrian so upper-class families begin to pick new child names, and so on.  To analogize, it seems possible that the ties that were once "executives-only club" quality may have been copied by "the rabble," such that they are no longer associated with upper-class attire (and other positive attributes).

post #15 of 18
Call me crazy but I'd pick the "blue collar" ties. At least I get access to the blue stripe tie. smile.gif

I wasn't an adult in the 1980s. But I have serious doubts about this author's taste. His poor taste is misinforming his studies. "Garbage-in, garbage out."

Run away and pick up a better book like the one I linked you to. Or this one, or this one. I've found Flusser to be self-contradicting at times, but honestly, anyone is better than this Molloy guy.

Also, paging @Claghorn
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