Of all the fads that were huge in the eighties, wearing sweaters tied around the neck is one of those things that are hard to explain. Supposedly, the practice grew out of practical reasons. People didn’t want to tie the sweaters around the waist because it stretched the arms of the sweater, and you can ruin it too by sitting on it. So people simply did the next best thing and that is by tying the sweaters around their becks loosely so that their hands were still free. You can say that these folks were just being extra careful (who knows when it might get chilly all of a sudden?). But that didn’t explain why somehow every guy out in the streets, in schools, and in parties were doing it.
The Trend in Real Life
One of the reasons why this caught on was because it somehow gave the impression that the guy wearing it had money. It helped that rich preppy kids were actually doing this as well. The 1980s, after all, was a decade of excess, and shows like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous were ruling TV. Everyone wanted to be rich, and that’s also the reason why people flocked to Wall Street. Since not everyone can drive a Ferrari or even wear expensive loafers, tying a sweater around the neck was a very affordable way of looking rich.
The Trend in the Movies
In the movies, the preppies all did this too. In fact, it was even a more recognizable sign of preppiness than polo shirts and loafers. It was also a sign that the guy was a jerk, and he deserved every bad thing that happened to him in the end. Generally, he’s the enemy of the good guy who gets the girl, and usually the good guy isn’t as rich. Hey, it’s the eighties, and it was a bit schizzo—people wanted to be rich while at the same time they sneered at the rich people for being pretentious snobs because they went to ski slopes during the holidays.
In the movies, every other guy who’s rich or who wants to look rich had a sweater around his neck. Soon the girls were doing this too. For girls, though, while it denoted a bit of “class” (so to speak) it didn’t always mean she was a jerk. Maybe she just wanted to date a guy from the other side of the tracks.
Nowadays, tying your sweater around the neck can bring confusing results. Maybe you can try it yourself and see if people will actually think you’re rich. Or maybe you’ll get weird looks. One guy who tried to do this sweater around his neck thing was asked if it’s supposed to be a cape. If you want to look preppy today, you can always just get some Sperry Topsiders or penny loafers. A polo shirt would look good too, especially if it’s a Lacoste. You can even turn up the collar if you want!