PUBLISHED: 4:37 PM on Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Casual Friday a casualty?
AMARILLO, Texas - Is the necktie on the endangered fashion list?

Knot yet.

"Our tie business is good," said George Raffkind, president of Raffkind's clothier store.

He said business professionals in the area are moving away from casual wear and getting back to a classic look. He said office wear in the past few years "went too casual. Some people were not showing very good taste when they went to work."

At Corbyn's, owner Eric Corbyn has also noticed that people are dressing up more for work.

"You see more casual wear in the spring and summer, May through September. In September the trend is toward more of a dress-up. They're in more of a sport coat and tie mood in the fall," he said.

Raffkind said people in smaller cities are generally not as dressy as they are in big cities like New York and Chicago, but noted that "everything swings in a pendulum" and that businesses are moving back toward more formal wear.

"The trend is to be a little bit dressier. Businesses are tightening up their dress codes a little," he said.

For the women, Adrea Pearson, ladies buyer for Raffkind's, said professionals are going more conservative.

"Day dresses have become quite the story," she said.

Pearson said women can wear the dresses at work and then change accessories for evening occasions.

She said women are buying more pantsuits and longer dresses.

"They're getting jackets with more features to them," she said, noting that alternative sleeve lengths are popular.

She said the casual trend had been more toward the loose, flowing clothes and that the fall is bringing with it a "crisp, clean look."

"The '40s glam look is back with the pencil skirts," she said.

Corbyn said many employers, especially bankers and lawyers, want their employees to look nicer than they have in recent years.

"One, they come off as more professional," he said. "And two, some people didn't understand 'dress casual.' They came in underdressed."

Dress codes are not one size fits all. Inside the same walls there is diversity in office wear.

"We do have a dress code, but it kind of depends on a lot of different factors," said Carolene Poole, vice president for personnel at Amarillo National Bank.

She said business casual is more widespread during the summer. "We do not allow denim at any time, or cutoff shorts," Poole said. "We want our people to dress professionally at all times."She said tellers and others at the bank can wear bank logo shirts, which have collars and must be tucked in. She said the coat and tie crowd are more likely to be trust officers and loan officers.

In downtown Amarillo, the 300 employees at Maxor don't have to worry about a strict dress code.

"No ties," noted CEO John Ward.

He said business casual is acceptable for the workers at the pharmaceutical company.