Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
John K. Strecker was the first curator (1903-1933) of the oldest continuously operating Natural History Museum in Texas. During his tenure he traveled hundreds of dusty miles all over Texas in a horse-drawn buggy collecting specimens for the museum. The Strecker collection is now housed in the Mayborn Museum in Waco. He was a self-educated Librarian and Naturalist, and he knew the importance of wearing a tie.
The reason I'm blogging about ties today is this: My son, Sylvan, is 11 and loves ties; he always has, even as a baby in daycare he would wear his daddy's ties to school every day. I had recently bought him the Gryffindor tie that Hasting's was sold out of at Christmas, but was waiting for an occasion to give it to him. He earned it as a reward for passing his STAAR science test on the condition that he had to guess what his prize was. In a typical game of 20 questions that lasted for two whole days, one of his questions was, "Does it help you?" I answered yes and told him that I would tell him the story behind my answer after he guessed what his prize was.
For the story, I have to go back to grad school at Cal State Long Beach. Our costume shop manager, Michael Pacciorini was always professionally dressed in a collared shirt and tie. One day we asked him why he didn't dress more casually since he often was doing things ill-suited (pardon the pun) for business wear. He told us the story of his days as a business major working in a bank and moonlighting as a stage manager over in the theatre department. One night an actor had a wardrobe malfunction and his pants fell down around his ankles on stage. Michael quickly ripped off his tie (in my imagination a la Superman) and threw it onstage to the embarrassed actor who used it as a belt to keep his pants up the rest of the show. "And that's why I always wear a tie," he told us, "in case someone's pants fall down." It's a funny story but not the whole truth. The whole truth is that you earn respect and trust by being well-dressed, no matter what your profession.
Yesterday my extended family all met up at a funeral. This happens more and more these days as we keep getting older and older. I gave Sylvan his reward, the long-sought after Gryffindor tie only to realize the man of the house was at work and I didn't know how to tie a tie. Being a costume designer, this is really something I should know how to do. Undaunted, I fearlessly drove us to the funeral in Temple and met up with my 5 male cousins all of whom were in ties that they had tied themselves. I knew they would be, because I know their mothers. Stephen promptly took Sylvan in hand, led him to the bathroom mirror, whipped out his phone and showed him a you tube video of how to tie a tie, Meanwhile Will commented, "You know they have an app for that now."
Look how great Matt, John Luke, James, and Will looked in their starched white collared shirts and their ties. Stephen even went so far as to wear a jacket.
So in these days of ultra-casual attire and behavior, I just want my son to continue to believe in the power of the collared shirt and tie. Because what you wear does matter.