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- For the 1992 film directed by Robert Mandel see School Ties.
A school tie indicates membership of a particular school, and sometimes of a particular house in that school.
Old school tie
An old school tie is a tie that, on leaving school, former pupils are often entitled to wear, in their school or old-boy club colours. According to protocol, it may only be worn by former pupils. This symbol can be a discreet passport to the old boy network, and such ties can be an indication of one's social standing. Conversely, wearing a tie to which you have no right is a serious social gaffe.
Although originally an institution of male-only schools, some schools of mixed or female-only membership do present their female leavers with a tie or other equivalent. Alternative clothing such as socks, scarfs pyjamas and even underwear may also be available in the old-boy colours.
Exclusive ties are not limited to British public schools: they are also a practice of some private schools in Australia, many clubs, military regiments and colleges of universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, and have also spread to some of Britain's former imperial possessions, including Canada and the United States.
As a metaphor
The 'old school tie' is used by the British press as a metaphor for old-boy social networks, nepotism, and the relatively disproportionate success of former pupils of major public schools, especially in politics and business. For example, after the 2010 General Election, The Times noted that 6% of the parliamentary Tory Party were Old Etonians, under the headline "Tories’ old school tie still rules".
- "The Old School Tie Is So Exclusive That Almost Anyone With A Neck Has One". Sports Illustrated. 19 April 1965. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- "Tories’ old school tie still rules". The Times. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
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