Ten years ago, everyone started ripping off their ties," says Spencer, a longtime jewelry designer in Boston. That was bad news for tie tacks.
But even before then, in the early 1970s, tie tacks (in which a pin is pushed through the tie) and tie clips had experienced a steep drop in popularity, he adds.
Changing styles and an increasing acceptance of casual attire in the workplace (note the ultrarelaxed dress code at trend-setting companies like Microsoft) also help explain why so few tie tacks are evident now. Stores that sold five tie tacks a week 20 years ago can't sell five a year today.
Men who still fasten their ties are hard to categorize. Spencer says they are people "with their own sense of style." He still makes several tie tacks a year for customers. One design had a two-carat ruby and cost $30,000.
In the main, despite the persistence of water-filled sinks and wind (anathema to ties), tie-fastening devices are in decline. Cuff links, however, endure.
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