"New Criticism", as a trend in the study of aesthetics, peaked decades ago with the watershed essay The Intentional Fallacy. Authors Wimsatt and Beardsley argued, essentially, that what you intended isn't relevant—what you produced is to be evaluated on its own merits: "the design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art." As a philosophy for literary criticism it is somewhat passé, but as a gauge of judging menswear it seems as relevant as ever: it doesn't really matter what you were aiming for; if you missed, you missed.

In other words, you may or may not have bought an unlined tie as an effort to hop onto a fleeting menswear trend and sartorially wink to others in the know by way of a few visible creases. But if your tie looks like an Ebay seller folded it up and crammed it into an envelope, then you might as well have just bought a necktie that was folded up and crammed into an envelope.

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