By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
While fashion experts have long noted women's hemlines rising, as gross domestic product falls, now they reckon the country's slimming finances are responsible for ties getting thinner.
According to John Lewis, in the last six months 15 per cent of the ties they sold were thin versions, at 2.5 inch wide, with the remainder 3.5 inch or thicker.
This compares to same period a year before when just 5 per cent of the ties were thin.
Menswear has been getting noticeably more streamlined in recent seasons, with celebrities such as the singer Pete Doherty and the actor Jude Law sporting the look, pioneered by the fashion designer Hedi Slimane.
One of the best-selling ties at the clothes chain Topman is now the ultra-skinny tie, at just 1 inch wide.
However, some believe that it is not just fashion trends and celebrities that are encouraging the slim-line look.
Charlie Allen, a tailor based in North London, said: "The impact of economic turmoil on tie design can be traced back through the previous recessions of the 20th century. While post-war Britain and the swinging sixties embraced exaggerated prints and widths of up to 5 inches, the downturns of the 1930s and 1980s saw sizes reduce to as little as an inch."
Many retailers have noted that hemlines rise during economic downturns, while sales of lipstick increase strongly. The trend was first noted in the 1930s depression, when women said they wanted to cheer themselves up by looking smart in the downturn.
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