Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Peacock Effect: For the Sake of Originality Let's Ditch the Necktie



The Peacock Effect and men's fashion
I do not agree with "ditching the necktie" but that is part of the title of this blog post as I found it on Daily Music Press Blog searching for an image for our previous post. 


I have always said that a man wearing a necktie, especially a very colorful and bold design was emulating the same characteristics as a peacock in nature. Male Peacocks display their feathers in a show of colorful passion. As part of a defensive character and a show of strength this display of nature is sensational. Much like a well dressed man adorning a suit complemented by a tie. - Jeffrey Hunter




Monday, July 26, 2010 - The Daily Music Press, industry, opinions, news, breaking artists


Ok, It might be imperative to pre-empt this post with the fact that even I have fallen victim to this now, very defunct fashion statement as a musician. Regardless, I was hoping, our community as a whole could mark today as the day we officially lose the necktie as a stylish "alternative" fashion statement for stage or promotional wear.

Let's just spend a short moment trying to understand why the necktie was successful in the first place. Let's break the third wall and think about why this was considered cool and whom or what "made" it cool.

Well, the necktie is traditionally used by professionals in a business setting. Therefore, the necktie makes a few unspoken statements and has it's own ingrained associations. Loosely put, the necktie says: Mature, professional, business, serious, smart, etc. The originator of necktie use in a musical/concert setting (we won't name names) was trying to (whether deliberately or not) create what is considered the "Peacock Effect" by wearing the necktie in a setting that is not usually associated with most of the above terms.


Whether trying to be less revolutionary or just being cool in
their own way - the Beatles sported ties in their early days.
What is the "Peacock Effect?": In a loose definition, the "Peacock Effect" is an effect created when one uses something (in many cases something visual, such as odd colors on clothing, various accessories that are out of the norm, etc.) to stand out in a crowd. Much like an actual peacock would with it's bright colors, etc.

What is another example a the use of the "Peacock Effect" in musical history?

The use of extreme makeup and big hair by the 80's female rock stars, and for men it was not just long hair it was ultra fashioned clothing, leather, and at times bold and outrageous accessories, example - Elton John's wild hats and the “wild” made up faces of Kiss.


What usually happens when the Peacock Effect is overused?

The odd use of the new item in a different setting almost always "stands out" at first, but over time that item usually develops it's own, new associations. For example, the use of the necktie in a musical setting is now usually associated with a singer-songwriter because of it's overuse by this group of musicians. Not only is it no longer original, but it's purpose (to stand out) is pretty much defeated.


Even country star Dierks Bentley
has jumped on the skinny tie bandwagon.



In a quick example that doesn't involve music: For a short while 5 years ago, a male could achieve head-turning attention by wearing pink clothing. Over time, this became less effective with the increasing popularity of the color and the implementation of the association term: "metrosexual." Thus categorizing the use of the color by males. This not only made the use more accepted, but even a standard color choice for men.

This is not to say that musicians are looking for attention, per se. Perhaps you wear the necktie because you find it comfortable, or you usually do when you aren't on stage? But the goal of stage and promotional wear is to wear something unique, something that the audience isn't wearing. You are the star, you are looking to set yourself apart and in essence create an "image." I have personally been told true stories of a record label requiring their musicians, by contract, to wear black socks as opposed to the standard white in order for the band to set themselves apart. Sadly, these types of unique statements are no longer being made by the necktie and only time will tell what will take it's place. Maybe it's just me, but I am hoping it's replacement comes soon. Until then, I am sure that we will continue to see it onstage and through camera lenses.

Check out this related post Neckties and Rock and Roll