Hard to believe it’s that time again, but here we are, ready to try and pretend the world isn’t ending and enjoy a weekend of spiritual uplift, and less importantly, deep sartorial analysis! We’ve been doing our patented General Conference Tie Tracker™ for longer than we’ve had children, longer than we’ve done temple predictions, and longer than our old conference predictions. Apparently being parents has not mature us in any way.
So what exactly is this? Many, many years ago, we started hanging out with the #Twitterstake during what was then #ldconf and eventually found amusement in noticing the neckwear choices of the speakers. Then-President Uchtdorf always amused us with his forward-thinking fashion (and the uncanny ability to be the only of the 15 to change his tie for every session of conference). There’s no other purpose in it. It’s just fun. We always wind up with some random crazy tie, typically from one of those irresponsible Seventies. Plus, Tie Tracking led us to be the ones who broke the news that the late Elder Robert D. Hales wore the same tie at every conference, and with good reason.
Look, tie tracking is fun, and in all seriousness, it’s a decent way to get your kids to pay attention to General Conference – or at least to the first few minutes of a new speaker. Regardless, it’s a tool! And we need tools!
Of course, this is clearly going to be a General Conference like no other, with minimal persons present in the studio for each session and the Conference Center shuttered to the public prior to that. However, we don’t think that will affect our tie tallies.
Follow along with us all weekend. Results are updated in real time thanks to Google, as you can see in the embedded charts below. And we publish a synopsis after every session. Throw us your thoughts on the most controversial ties on Twitter and make the hashtag #TieTracker trend, eh! Men are listed first not because of misogyny. There are just, like, more men speaking. We didn’t make that call!
Sunday Afternoon Session
Elder Gimenez graced us with a black/red/white sort-of-checkered tie. Maybe gingham. Really interesting. President Nelson gave stripes a fighting chance with his bold blue and red piece. But was it enough? Did stripes surge in the end? Let’s look at the final results.
Alas, general patterns annihilated the other designs this conference, much more so than usual. Typically stripes get a fighting chance – and even win – but this was a complete blowout from the first session, even if stripes surged in this final session. Walter Mondale did better in 1984 than stripes did here. Special mention to L. Whitney Clayton’s brown/redish shiny striped tie.
The color battle was interesting too. Red did not show up to play. It almost always does. Purple often plays a dark horse role, but it held its ground surprisingly well against ol’ reliable blue. But because of the internecine battle between red and purple, with the latter coming out on top, and with a few random other colors thinning out the vote, blue claimed victory by a sizable margin.
Our lesson this year, other than to study the Restoration and memorize that new proclamation: wearing patterned (shiny) blue ties is key to being a speaker in a COVID-19 dominated General Conference. Maybe red will come back in October when we are all feeling more bullish.
Sunday Morning Session
Many blues. Many patterns. This was among the least exciting sessions in terms of Tie Tracking, but perhaps that was appropriate for our solemn assembly. Blue overtook purple to assume its rightful place at the top of the heap!
Patterns were everywhere. President Oaks wore the only striped tie of the lot. Long live patterns!
Cool new proclamation!
Saturday Evening Session
Well that was fun! Two youth speakers! I can’t imagine how that must have been for them. How were they extended the invitation? When? So many questions! Someone get them on our podcast!
We saw less movement overall in this session, primarily because the First Presidency spoke, and since Elder Uchtdorf is no longer part of the gang, everyone was still wearing the same ties from earlier, thus giving us fewer new ties from which to be blessed.
Elder Gong busted out some baby blue patterns, and blue continued to grow in wisdom and stature throughout the session.
We had some good female representation this session! Sister Kaouk wore a beautiful white dress, and we would that the General Officer women in the Church ditch the blazer approach and consult with Sister Kaouk on future fashion ideas. That said, President Bingham did some solid work with her getup.
Saturday Afternoon Session
Slow. Clap. For. Elder. McCune.
Look at that paisley glory. So many colors and lines. So much is happening! And he loves this tie so much, he wore it in his official General Authority portrait and during his first General Conference remarks! That’s dedication. All hail McCune!
Bishop Gerard Causse also brought back a long-forgotten pattern: checkered! Some might call it houndstooth, and that might be fair, but we were working with a YouTube stream of dubious 1080p quality to make these calls. Plus, houndstooth is not an option in our self-approved official tracker, so let’s just stick with checkered. Yep.
Unfortunately, even though he’s French, Bishop Causse appeared to embrace the weakness that is the Windsor knot. And since when do the Gauls or Normans want to emulate the House of Windsor? We implore Bishop Causse to rethink his stance. It’s… knot… good.
Elder Tai also blessed us with a shimmering acid green piece. It was borderline inappropriate for missionaries!
Red got knocked down a few pegs this session, thanks primarily to those we’ve been discussing, and it’s ceded first place to purple, of all colors. Again, all hail McCune!
In terms of style, patterned ties maintain their leading position, but those gains have been undercut by the resurrection of paisley, as well as some growth from stripes.
Saturday Morning Session
Out the gates, President Nelson’s glorious gold patterned tie was like a Wisconsin sunrise, and it brought us great joy. Red, or even mauve, is crushing it right now. Typically, we see something of a horse race between red and blue, and that might still transpire, but right now, red ties are by far leading the way.
Also unsurprising, patterns are doing particularly well. We might luck out with a few notable stripes (look for President Eyring to come through in the clutch), but it’s doubtful that pattern’s strong lead will evaporate anytime soon.
Callout to Jean B. Bingham for her excellent blue and white blouse with coral jacket ensemble.