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John Davies of Thrings

Expert opinion: Ties, damned ties

Each month John Davies, senior corporate partner at Top 100 law firm Thrings, casts an honest, humorous and at times, irreverent eye over a topical news or business-related issue. This month: ties in the workplace.

My shoes. I get them. I understand them. I know what they do and why I need them. Similarly my trousers. They keep me warm and protect my modesty. My trousers, I’m sure, provide a great sense of wellbeing for my colleagues.

I know why my glasses are currently sat on my nose and ears, and I know why I have a watch on my wrist. Useful and necessary things.

What then am I supposed to make of the small, patterned, seven-fold, silk noose I knot around my neck each morning? The tie.

Not only am I perplexed about its use generally but it’s possibly the most vexatious garment in a gent’s locker. And I know why I think this.

John Davies struggles with a tieThe tie can be a menace. It causes all sorts of worry and insecurity, even before you’ve left the house for work. Does it go with my “necessary and useful” shirt? Is the knot too big? Is the knot too small? Is it the right length? Is it the right width?

You eventually get it right only to spot the artwork of a recent morning coffee or lunchtime soup adorning the damn thing and you have to go through the anguish of cloth origami all over again.

That’s not the end of it either.

You finally pluck up the courage to leave the house, get in the car and relax a little. But don’t let your guard down because you turn up for your meeting and to your abject horror, none of your professional colleagues are wearing ties.

Now what do you do? Do you take it off, casually slipping it in the briefcase? Possibly, but have they already seen you wearing it? What does it say about you as a man if you buckle under the pressure and take it off?

Do you simply march in and exclaim your horror that they aren’t wearing ties, fighting that insecurity, desperately trying to ignore the little voice inside your head telling you that you shouldn’t have gone with the tie, worrying that you’re already on the ‘outside’. It isn’t easy is it?

Me? I’m a fan of both looks. Just don’t get me started on slip-on shoes.

Since leaving Wales to set up home in Swindon in 1997, John Davies has become a leading figure in the South West business community. He lists advising Wiltshire-based Watson Petroleum on its sale to World Fuel in 2014, being named Client Partner of the Year by The Lawyer and sitting next to Max Boyce at a funeral among his greatest achievements.