By Noriko Wada January

So men are no longer wearing ties. Even in Asia where men have traditionally been more formal, I notice that several companies have relaxed their dress codes. Particularly on Friday, I see that a lot of men no longer dress formal. I hear that they think they look stiff. I have always had problem with men, particularly Asian men, associating ties with stiffness. In fact I think otherwise. A tie actually adds color and charm to their otherwise dull clothes. When they switch to drab white shirts and black slacks there is nothing to remember about them. I have been to so many after-work happy hours and dinners and the next day when I want to talk about someone whose name I did not know I can no longer say "the guy with the red tie with yellow stripes".
But I do not cry for men. In fact, I decided to embrace ties abandoned by men. We women have always been big fans of accessories and now that men have abandoned one of their most attractive accessories, we will just use it ourselves. The reaction so far has been very positive from women and men. More importantly I like it when a tie on me attracts immediate attention. So it was not difficult to convince several girlfriends of mine to put a tie on whenever they wanted to cause a little stir. I hear that Avril Lavigne has been been causing similar waves among fashion critics by wearing a tie.

There are several techniques for a woman to wear a tie without necessarily looking like a man. In fact I believe that a tie suits a woman's style more than it does with a man's. The idea outfit for me when I choose to wear a tie is a black tie wit a skin-tight, well-tailored button-down shirt. So as not to wear like men do, you can leave it a bit loose, one or two buttons undone, and show some skin, particularly if you have small breasts. You might want to match it with well tailored pants or mini-skirt. Boots or stiletto-heeled shoes will complete the sexy look. If you are headed for a power-meeting with one of those groups of boring and dull investment bankers or lawyers, increase your power-factor by dressing like them. Just close all your buttons like men do and walk into any conference room with confidence. Notice the intimidated faces of all these powerful men. You can always wear it with a tank top for a very casual style.

Of course, let me prepare you for the reaction from men. Think skirts versus pant-suits. Men still do not react favorably to women in pant-suits, particularly in some parts of the world. A tie will only insult these men even more. So if you think you are in a position of less power (e.g. a job interview or a sales person), think again. But if you are in a peer-level environment and can actually gain a few points by showing your 'girl power', go for it. If you just want to look sexy, then no complicated analysis needed - when you put on a tie, men will sweep on you.