Coping with COVID: An Alternative to the Tie for Physicians

I am debuting a new post-COVID fashion statement:

The necktie has been around since the 17th Century, when the cravatte was introduced as part of French military uniform, and has been changed, updated, and modified several times since then to the necktie as we know it today. One big problem with the necktie, at least for medical personnel, is the fact that when examining patients, the tie tends to drag across the patient, which can enable transfer of bacteria from one patient to another. In many medical circles, the use of neckties has been banned or recommended against already.

Given that many, if not most, ties are made today of a silk or silk-like material, they are difficult to clean and impossible to sterilize regularly. Dry-cleaning seems to be the only remedy for ties, and it’s expensive to do so on an on-going basis. In fact, at the onset of COVID, I resigned myself to never wearing the necktie (even though I have a pretty impressive collection), to avoid potential cross-contamination of COVID or other infectious agents.

However, this has left a significant void in the sartorial habits of people like me, who might like a splash of complimentary (or whimsical) color, as well as the opportunity to “dress-up” an otherwise conservative dress shirt. To that end, I have decided that we can compromise, but still look fashionable.

Although this tie-sleeve (I’m open to a better name) was hand-made (I cut the button-hole strip off the front of one shirt, and attached it to another, different brand shirt [which is why the strip slightly bunches]), they can be custom made or manufactured by shirt companies, with standard sizes. By making it out of the same cotton (or poly-blend) shirts we clean regularly, they can be cleaned, ironed, starched, and otherwise recycled and prevent becoming a disease reservoir. They can be varied in width, color, pattern, to suit fashion statements. But they won’t fall into the patient or drag across your lunch/dinner plate.

Let’s keep coming up with new ways to keep traditions alive but change them to accommodate to the realities of the future. Imagination will always triumph over adversity, as long as we don’t give up!