Collar-and-Tie Men: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
January 18, 2024

When we talk about the idiom "collar-and-tie men," we're referring to individuals who work in formal settings, often in corporate or office environments. You often see these people dressed in suits, heading to their 9-5 jobs, and representing the professional world.

In short:

"Collar-and-tie men" refers to professionals who typically wear formal attire to their jobs.

What Does “Collar-and-Tie Men” Mean?

The phrase "collar-and-tie men" paints a vivid picture of individuals in the corporate world. Let's delve deeper into its meaning:

  • It primarily refers to men who wear collared shirts and ties, symbolizing a formal and professional appearance.
  • It can also suggest a certain level of seniority or importance in the workplace.
  • At times, it might be used to describe people who adhere strictly to corporate norms and values.

Where Does “Collar-and-Tie Men” Come From?

The phrase “collar and tie men” is a term that was used to describe men who wore a collar and tie, typically as part of their professional attire. In this context, " collar " refers to a band, strip, or chain worn around the neck. It was first used around 1300 and came from the Old French “coler,” which means "neck, collar." The term “tie” refers to a long piece of cloth worn for decorative purposes around the neck or shoulders, resting under the shirt collar and knotted at the throat. During that time, a working man often wore his shirt without a collar for informal occasions and would put on the collar and tie for more formal events, such as going to church. This practice gave rise to the phrase, often used to describe men who dress formally for work or other occasions.

10 Examples of “Collar-and-Tie Men” in Sentences

Let's look at how "collar-and-tie men" can be used in different contexts:

  • He always dreamt of becoming one of the collar-and-tie men in the city.
  • Starting at a young age, she was determined not to be overshadowed by the collar-and-tie men.
  • The conference was dominated by collar-and-tie men discussing high and low market trends.
  • Despite the casual design of the startup, they still had a few collar-and-tie men on board.
  • Following the prime directive of the company, even the collar-and-tie men had to adapt to the new changes.
  • Can you translate the mindset of the collar-and-tie men for the new interns?
  • She often felt out of place among the collar-and-tie men, but her ideas were revolutionary.
  • The collar-and-tie men were skeptical about the new project, but they came around eventually.
  • It's not just about being one of the collar-and-tie men; it's about making a difference.
  • He often wondered if the collar-and-tie men ever let loose and had fun.

Examples of “Collar-and-Tie Men” in Pop Culture

Over the years, "collar-and-tie men" have made their mark in popular culture:

  • In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko epitomizes the collar-and-tie men of the financial world.
  • The TV show Mad Men gives a glimpse into the lives of collar-and-tie men in the advertising industry of the 1960s.
  • Songs like "Suit & Tie" by Justin Timberlake touch upon the aesthetics of the collar-and-tie men.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “Collar-and-Tie Men"

There are several ways to describe professionals in the corporate world:

  • White-collar workers
  • Executives
  • Corporate professionals
  • Businessmen

Each term offers a slightly different perspective but revolves around the same core concept.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Collar-and-Tie Men”:

  • What does “collar-and-tie men” mean?

It refers to professionals, typically men, who wear formal attire to their corporate or office jobs.

  • Where did the idiom originate?

The idiom traces its roots back to the early days of the corporate world, symbolizing the dress code of professionals.

  • Is it used only for men?

While the term specifically mentions "men," it can be used in a broader sense to describe anyone in a professional setting.

  • Can it be used in casual conversations?

Yes, it can be used to describe someone who works in a formal setting or adheres to corporate norms.

  • Is the term outdated?

While the dress code in many workplaces has become more relaxed, the term still holds relevance in certain contexts.

  • Are there any famous movies featuring “collar-and-tie men”?

Yes, movies like "Wall Street" and TV shows like "Mad Men" depict the lives of these professionals.

  • How can I use the idiom in a sentence?

You can say something like, "He's one of the collar-and-tie men of the finance world."

  • Does it have a negative connotation?

Not necessarily. It's neutral but can be used both positively and negatively based on context.

  • Can it be used globally?

While the idiom is understood in many places, it's always good to consider cultural context and language barriers.

  • Is it used in literature?

It can be found in literature that explores themes of corporate life and professionalism.

Final Thoughts About “Collar-and-Tie Men”

"Collar-and-tie men" is a phrase used to describe individuals who work in professional or corporate environments where formal attire, such as a shirt with a collar and a tie, is the norm. It often implies office-based or managerial roles rather than manual or labor-intensive jobs.

  • In modern usage, "collar and tie men" signifies individuals who adhere to a formal dress code, often in a business or corporate setting. It can also imply a certain level of professionalism or status.
  • You might use "collar and tie men" when referring to people who work in industries or roles requiring formal dress codes.
  • Synonyms for "collar and tie men" could include "white-collar workers," "professionals," "executives," "office workers," or "businessmen."

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