The weighty proceedings at the 48th annual G7 summit are dominating world headlines, but the seven world leaders are also grabbing attention on the side for something not so weighty – their united sartorial decision. In a departure from the normal dress code, all of them opted to go tie-less.
Group photos from the three-day event show leaders from Italy, Canada, France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan looking relaxed against the backdrop of the Bavarian Alps.
Netizens have expressed mixed feelings about the casual look, but the choice has also sparked a debate about what the world leaders were trying to convey by foregoing their ties at summit, held against the background of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Each of the leaders had the buttons of their shirts undone, possibly for the first time at such an event. UK’s Boris Johnson looked the most relaxed, with two of his buttons undone. Italy’s Mario Draghi, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US President Joe Biden, and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida were the others in the line-up.
Since the early 20th century, the modern necktie, or simply tie, has been a staple of men’s fashion. A tie was part of the dress code for many professions. It certainly conveys authority and professionalism in the business world.
“Suits and ties are now reserved for formal meetings and events where a dress code is specified, as smart casual dressing has become the norm in most offices. Suits and ties are from an era when the upper classes wanted to distinguish themselves from the common people. As class distinctions fade, so does the need to differentiate. Suits, on the other hand, add a sense of seriousness and importance to any occasion that calls for them,” says Jayadev Galla, chairman, Amara Raja, who was recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Jayadev believes, ties are evolving from the norm to a fashion statement, as dress codes become more relaxed. “In the Indian context, there are numerous other formal dress options that are more comfortable and appropriate for our climate. Except in strictly business settings, these can be worn in place of a formal suit and tie. I have worn bandhgalas and bandhis in place of a suit and tie on numerous occasions, including in business settings,” he says, adding, “There are no hard and fast rules these days. You should feel at ease and not self-conscious in the situation.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi generally adheres to this, as evidenced by his attire at the G7 Summit.
“When attending important meetings, it is critical to dress appropriately. Ties are important in Western societies. It is more important to convey professionalism and seriousness than to make a fashion statement, whether in Western or Indian attire. Our Prime Ministers have carried themselves very well, both in Indian and western attire,” says Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, politician and business magnate, who was recently invited to Queen Elizabeth II’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
“Suits and ties are now reserved for formal meetings and events where a dress code is specified, as smart casual dressing has become the norm in most offices. I have worn bandhgalas and bandhis in place of a suit and tie on numerous occasions, including in business settings. There are no hard and fast rules these days. You should feel at ease and not self-conscious in the situation
— Jayadev Galla, MP, chairman, Amara Raja
“Ties are important in Western societies. It is more important to convey professionalism and seriousness than to make a fashion statement, whether in Western or Indian attire. Our Prime Ministers have carried themselves very well, both in Indian and western attire”
— Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, politician and business magnate
“A tie is an excellent accessory, and in today’s age and stage of corporate fashion, there are options for everyone. It is definitely a part of power dressing and gives a strong image because it shows that one is very particular about one's appearance. People who wear ties that match their entire outfit are often described as having an eye for detail, perfectionism, professionalism, and responsible representation. With the changing times and more friendly atmosphere in the corporate sector, the trend is shifting towards power while remaining stylish, and as a result, all colours and textures have become part of the wardrobe. With so many design interventions available through new textiles and textures, the tie can be used to make one look quirky, stylish, elegant, or formal.”
— Gautam Gupta, fashion designer
“The new G7 photo of leaders without ties has elicited a wide range of reactions and emotions. Following Covid, a rapid change in men’s fashion can be seen all over the world, with everyone adopting a more casual style even in work environments. Ties are no longer required to make a professional statement, but have recently been used in a cool and fun way by brands such as Prada. Wearing ties in various shapes and sizes can help people of all genders express their personalities while also breaking old norms and 'ties' associated with the piece of clothing.”
— Renesa Rastogi, fashion designer