It has been almost five years since "conversation ties" -- the kind with prints designed to set tongues wagging -- burst onto the men's fashion scene.
Judging from the splashy displays in the men's departments of local stores, retailers are counting on the continued popularity of these colorful, fanciful ties for at least one more gift-giving season.
Meanwhile, in the men's magazines, on the trendier TV shows, in press releases from designers (and even on Sen. Al Gore, the only candidate in the presidential race with any fashion elan), a new look in neckwear is emerging: the creative geometrics.
These are traditional stripes, circles, triangles and diamonds that have been reconfigured and recolored for a look of fresh, upbeat formality.
The newest rep ties are done in broad diagonals of unconventional color instead of narrow bands of white or navy.
Some of the most striking of the striped designs come from Ralph Lauren and Perry Ellis, while Joseph Abboud leads the field with his creative takes on the pyramid, rectangle and diamond.
These new geometrics may not elicit quite as many comments as, say, the "junk-food" tie by Nicole Miller, with its scattering of popcorn, pizza and candy bars.
But they're so crisp and dynamic, they're bound to be noticed -- as will socks, belts and other furnishings that are starting to show up patterned with geometrics.