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Globe Editorial

Romney: The ties that bind no more

Mitt Romney, accompanied by his wife, Ann, appeared tieless in Bartlett, N.H., this month for an event. Mitt Romney, accompanied by his wife, Ann, appeared tieless in Bartlett, N.H., this month for an event. (Jim Cole/Associated Press)
March 14, 2011

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Forget about whether Mitt Romney starts the presidential race as the Republican front-runner; let’s just hope he emerges as the GOP’s fashion leader. Slipping the surly bonds of formal political attire, Romney has tossed his tie. To change the perception that he is stiff and unapproachable, he hasn’t worn one in weeks, reports The New York Times. The handsome former governor is sporting the daring open-collar look instead.

There, he joins President Obama, who seems to go tieless whenever he hits the campaign trail. Good for both of them. The notion that men can’t look serious or proper without affixing an expensive but functionless fabric band about their necks is curious indeed — or would be if the tie hadn’t somehow managed to entrench itself over time. Ties are on the retreat in the medical profession, now that more doctors see these often-sneezed-upon, seldom-washed garments as vectors for infection. Why shouldn’t politicians give them up as well?

By going resolutely hatless, John Kennedy helped consign a once mandatory male appurtenance to a dusty closet shelf. Perhaps the less-is-more sartorial statements by Romney and Obama could even have the same liberating fashion effect. If so, they’d be striking a blow for every man who has ever bridled under the tyranny of the tie.