Tony and the ties that blind you!

Central Leader - - OPINION -

Sad about Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall.

Just at the peak of his form and he’s go­ing. Noone will re­ally re­place him. With his ties, that is. To say noth­ing of the shirts he’s worn around Par­lia­ment and in Cab­i­net over the years.

Noth­ing will ever match his mis­matches.

Few would have the guts to wear some of his won­der­ful ties.

Hospi­tal doc­tors ap­par­ently ban ties these days – some­thing about a droop­ing tie pick­ing up germs at the stage a stetho­scope is on your bare skin.

The the­ory: Next pa­tient could get the lat­est in­fec­tion.

That’s a thought in these tie­less days: How of­ten do stetho­scopes get any sort of dis­in­fect­ing?

Then there are those de­lib­er­ately ripped knees on faded jeans – how much to pay to catch up with that style? Plus a cap worn back­wards or side­ways. Who wore them first, in what big budget thriller?

And how do wear­ers get those skin-tight trousers on or off when the need is ur­gent – for one thing or an­other?

Then there’s the stickon, cheat­ing tat­toos.

Worse (or bet­ter), how much does it cost to get the real thing off?

Spe­cially if some very ob­vi­ous de­sign has an out-of-date name as its cen­tre­point.

I know I’m a gen­er­a­tion (or two, maybe three) be­hind the times – from the age, for in­stance, when cadet re­porters had to put on a suit coat or a sports jacket be­fore qui­etly tap­ping on the edi­tor’s of­fice door with mail, the lat­est edi­tion, the glasses he left at home, what­ever. My first day back af­ter a year in Syd­ney and I wore a lightly pat­terned shirt.

My boss, a to­tally con­ven­tional fel­low from the era of plain white shirts, took one look.

‘‘We’re a bit psy­che­delic to­day, aren’t we?’’

I mut­tered some­thing like ‘‘You haven’t seen any­thing yet?’’ And he hadn’t.

He learned to cope as my Syd­ney shirts were eased into daily view­ing.

Later he did make mild ref­er­ence to my ver­sion of side­boards.

I re­alise how far more fa­cial hair has gone when ev­ery sec­ond sports in­ter­na­tional boasts the sort of growth fish­er­men might bring ashore af­ter three weeks away.

And there seems to be some un­of­fi­cial weird rule that rugby and cricket play­ers need to look as if they haven’t shaved for weeks. Which they haven’t.

Talk­ing about fa­cial hair – who be­gan this re­make of Vic­to­rian stan­dards? Even All Blacks seem to be re­viv­ing styles from great­grand­fa­ther’s day or look­ing like rein­car­na­tions of W G Grace. Just as well their spon­sor isn’t Gil­lette.

Then there’s those rid­ding them­selves of all hair on their head, of­ten to at­tract money for good causes.

I’ve pon­dered one of the more mem­o­rable events of the fash­ion pres­sures be­fore giv­ing it a retelling all those decades later.

A new staffer from over­seas in a fine pair of lat­est fash­ion bell bot­tom trousers with turn-ups – all the rage in Hong Kong – was taken aside to be told that in our news­room, women wore skirts.

This from some­one who could be de­pended on to record the ar­rival of sum­mer by wear­ing an open-necked shirt, sa­fari style shorts, long socks and san­dals.

Pre­cisely the tra­di­tional New Zealand sum­mer gear that a young Auck­land grad­u­ate wore on his first day with a Lon­don law firm. He lived to re­turn next day in the com­pul­sory suit – and tie, of course.

All of which means that I’ll be watch­ing to see how long it takes fans to match Lorde’s hair – they’ll need a good wig­maker! And what about those black fin­ger nails?

Dress sense: Loud ties, fa­cial hair, walk shorts and Lorde – a quick stroll though decades of fash­ion fads.

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