“So it looks like a deliberate choice you want to look at the collar height and shape,” Huynh says. “A taller collar can sit more proudly and will make not wearing a tie look intentional.”
To achieve this formal shirt look, even with two buttons undone (three might be too provocative) Huynh uses strong interfacing, which adds stability to shirt collars.
“A strong interfacing will help you achieve more structure, especially when sitting beneath a jacket, while a shirt with no interfacing will look more nonchalant and relaxed.”
Former National Designer Award winner Christian Kimber doesn’t sell ties but has simple tricks for looking formal without them, starting with an iron.
“If your collar is properly ironed there is less chance of people thinking that you took your tie off before the event,” Kimber says. “I love looking at pictures of Barack Obama giving speeches now, and he nails looking respectful without a tie. “
“We also have a secret button under our short collars, which keeps them in place and stops them from curling up at the end of the day.”
These buttons can’t be seen when the collar is turned down, unlike a button-down Oxford shirt.
“That would be considered too casual,” Kimber says. “You can also wear a pocket square. Long gone are the days when you had to match your pocket square to your tie. Silk is still considered more formal than cotton.”
For Kimber, suit jacket lapels can make a subtle difference to eagle-eyed observers.
“Perhaps I’m being too specific, but I prefer a notch lapel over a peak lapel on your jacket if you’re not wearing a tie. It just looks better.”
Stylist Mel Boyle who has worked at GQ and Vogue, suggests that male politicians pay closer attention to the fit of their suits.
“If you’re not wearing a tie, you want to get the other details right. Ill-fitting suits where sleeves are too long, shoulders too wide or too small will draw unwelcome attention. Choose your suit fabrics wisely as they fall differently depending on on the weight and some can look unkept and messy.”
“James Bond is the perfect point of reference where suits have been tailored to fit and when sans tie you will still look extremely polished.”
Ties may be falling out of favour but Huynh says that they can still be used to make a fashion statement, rather than as a symbol of following the flock.
“Politicians should understand that ties are no longer mandatory but a fashion choice,” Huynh says.
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