While he was happily making do in his business casual, fashion pulled a fast one on the middle-aged man. So help Dad out. Buy him a tie.
Editor’s note: MONEY assistant managing editor Pat Regnier wrote this for Father’s Day 2014, but as far a fashion trends go, it’s still true. And, he says, he still hasn’t gotten any ties: “That’s a hint, kids. I made the infographic… do I actually have to paint you a picture?”)
Do people really buy ties for Father’s Day? I have been a dad for 10 years, and I have never received a tie. I’ve been a son for 42 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever given one.
(Then again, someone must: About 40% of people surveyed say they’re buying some kind of clothing this year. Interestingly, only 14% are picking out tools, and the ones who do skew young. After a certain age, your dad is tired of fixing the stuff you broke.)
But this year, at least, your dad or your kids’ dad—let’s be honest about who’s really spending the money—could probably use some new ties. I’m not shilling for the waning Necktie Industrial Complex. I am annoyed about this. For most of my adult life, a basic tie style remained in force. And that was a good thing, because after a silly spending period in my mid-20s, I had a closet full of pretty good, pretty wide ties and didn’t have to buy any more. Then ties went skinny again.
Yes, I’m behind the curve on this. Thin ties came slinking back at least a few years ago, but like lots of guys these days I don’t need to wear a suit very often. Now that I’ve noticed (it happened when I saw Margin Call) my old ties feel like napkins. This doesn’t bug me enough that I actually want to go out and spend money on ties, mind you. But “stuff Dad could use and won’t buy for himself” is pretty much what Father’s Day is for, right?
Don’t go crazy. The old man may have owned The Cars on cassette, but he knows he can’t pull off the full Ocasek. A 2-inch tie is too skinny. One that’s 2.5 inches to 3 inches at the widest part seems right. And he needs just a few. Those ties he bought when he was 25 will be coming back any year now.
He’ll be ready.