Welcome to scruffy Britain: New German director of V&A lambasts dressed-down style which has outlawed the tie
German-born Professor Roth, the new director of the V&A museum, has slammed scruffy Brits for not wearing ties
A museum chief has slammed scruffy Britons for their lax attitude to workplace dress codes.
Lamenting the loss of sartorial standards in the UK, newly appointed director Professor Martin Roth says the only people in organisations who wear ties are the 'security guards.'
'My mother was a tailor. It’s where my passion for textiles and great quality goods came from,’ Prof Roth said in an interview with the Telegraph.
'But the sad thing for me is that nobody seems to wear a tie in London any longer – only the security guards.'
German-born Prof Roth, the first ever foreign director of the museum, comes from a country where workplace dress codes are much more rigorous.
While he dresses for work every day in a neat suit with immaculate shirt and always a tie, he has found that many colleagues and peers – especially those higher up in organisations – tend to go open-necked and without a jacket.
It is a clear sign that standards have
collectively slipped when our sartorial shortcomings are pointed out by a
As a nation, Britain was once admired for its buttoned-up style. Just one or two generations ago men wore suits to work, almost without exception. Many still wore hats.
But while it has taken a newcomer
looking in on our society to point out this collective relaxation of
dress codes, it is a phenomenon that has been unfolding gradually for many
In fact, Prime Minister David
Cameron, who approved Prof Roth’s appointment, has a penchant for the
more relaxed dress code himself, frequently appearing without a jacket
and tie during the general election campaign, and reportedly going about his
duties at Number 10 in stockinged feet.
Dressing down: David Cameron frequently chose to go without jacket and tie while campaigning during the general election
Mr Cameron is not the only one to be embracing this new era of relaxed dress codes either.
The Duke of Cambridge recently attended a charity event in a shirt and sweater, and on his royal tour of Canada, greeted local children in a shirt with rolled-up sleeves, eschewing the formal jacket and tie that his father, Prince Charles would always insist upon.
It is a growing phenomenon, and an inevitable part of the modernisation of Britain, according to consumer trend experts.
'Among politicians, royals and corporate heads, a more relaxed dress code makes one seem more approachable,’ a spokesman for trendwatch website fashionfreude.com told MailOnline.
'When someone like David Cameron goes without a jacket and tie, it’s a deliberate move to ingratiate himself with the masses.'
'People in positions of authority
fear so much seeming out of touch with “the people” that they put aside
their natural predilection for smarter clothes and effectively “dumb
down” their dress sense.'
'It’s a form of inverse snobbery
really – why should we look down on people who dress smartly For
previous generations it was good manners to dress smartly – it was a
mark of respect for people of all classes.
'Now, the opposite seems to be true.'
Approachable: Figures of authority and royals like Prince William, pictured on a public engagement in Quebec, feel the need to dress less formally to ingratiate themselves with the masses these days
Indeed, this relaxing of dress codes has filtered down to the extent that in all but the most formal work places – banks, law firms and the likes – ties have become extinct.
And in creative environments such as galleries, advertising agencies and PR firms, ties are not so much frowned upon, as out and out banned.
One creative director recalls being invited for an interview at a world-level London advertising agency.
His headhunter had just one tip: Dress down. Do not wear a suit, ideally not a shirt – and certainly not a tie, she advised, calling it the ‘kiss of death’ for someone looking for a creative role.
A recent survey found that only 18 per cent of British office staff wear a tie, and this number is likely to fall rapidly.
Casual: A thoroughly modern royal, the Duke of Cambridge operates a more relaxed code than his father, Prince Charles, who is rarely without jacket and tie
But while office wear seems to have become more formal, consumer trends have seen more formal attire adopted into the out-of-work wardrobe instead.
Ryan Hackett, menswear designer at Austin Reed, told the Telegraph that while ties were no longer essential for officewear, more men were adopting ties, and even bow ties, into their weekend wardrobe.
'Austin Reed has seen an increase in the sales of bow ties, silk handkerchiefs and braces,' he said.
'The dapper gentleman has realised there is more than one way to style a suit.'
And Alan Bennett of Savile Row tailors added: 'We've been through this before. At one point, suits were out and everyone was wearing denim. BUt ties will come back into fashion. Prof Roth should wear his tie with pride and set the standards at the V&A.
Maybe there is hope for scruffy Britain after all.