Excerpts from an article in The Atlantic by a fashion historian/curator/journalist:
As America struggled to recover from a global pandemic, a shattered economy, and record unemployment levels, headlines despaired: “neckties doomed.” Men were “slashing their clothing bills” to retailers’ chagrin, the Associated Press reported. Those who continued to wear ties were downgrading from colorful, expensive silk to plain, cheap cotton. The year was 1921, and reports of the tie’s death were premature, to say the least.A century later, as Americans begin to emerge from another financially devastating pandemic, another rash of headlines is predicting the tie’s imminent demise... For more than a year, many men who once felt bound to wear ties have shown up on Zoom each day wearing polos or even T-shirts. Now that they have tasted freedom from the necktie—and have seen their colleagues, clients, and bosses doing the same—how can they ever go back to working with their necks encumbered?...The deeper functions that ties have long provided—such as social signaling and personal expression—will be absorbed by other garments. But ties will continue to be worn on the most formal occasions, and as quirky accoutrements for the self-consciously old-fashioned or whimsical. In other words, neckties are the new bow ties...... from the beginning, the necktie has also been an important emblem of both group identity and individual taste, sending subtle signals about the wearer’s wealth, social affiliations, culture, and intellect... A tie might indicate loyalty to a prestigious school, club, sports team, or military regiment. Beyond these flattering associations, a tie was a marker of maturity and respectability; it set management apart from manual laborers... The 1960s fashion designer Mary Quant neatly summed up the tie’s psychological import as “something between a comfort blanket and a public penis.”..
Lots more at the link about the historic ups and downs of this fashion item.
The thing about neckties is that they accumulate. One acquires them to pair with new clothing, as birthday and Christmas gifts, to celebrate/remember an occasion or special travel, as an inheritance from a relative - and they never wear out, are seldom lost, and you never outgrow them.
I have mixed feelings about mine. Social norms mandated that I wear them for about 30 years in my career, but I don't think I've worn one since retirement. I donated about half of them to a nephew, others to Goodwill. But several dozen remain hanging on the wall of a closet as tangible reminders of important people, places, and events in my life.