The sartorial side of Sapphire

It is a public holiday and father’s day here in Germany, so I get to relax a bit.  At Sapphire I made an off hand comment about executive dress sense, and someone said write a post about it.  So I will.

Scott Schuman’s the Sartorialist is one of my favourite blogs and, in the words of the Kinks, I am a dedicated follower of fashion. Well sort of.  I do like a good suit and tie.  I’m a regular reader of the English cut blog too. 

I’m not a mathematician, but one of the joys of working at SAP is that I get to meet some really interesting mathematicians and physicists. Loren, for instance, who has a great food blog, explained basic stats to me  with the patience of Job. 

There is a fascinating book that anyone interested in ties or maths should buy. (I’m not sure who has my copy, so please drop it back) Two theoretical physicists, Fink and Mao wrote the 85 ways to tie a tie. The Mathematics of knots is, apparently, a significant field of study. They comment on the site.

Recently in the magazine Nature, we proposed a mathematical model to calculate and classify all possible tie knots. Of the 85 found, we duly predicted the four knots in widespread use and further introduced nine new aesthetic ones.

The maths is a little beyond me, but it is fun trying some of the different knots out. 

Photos from the sapphire07 flickr photo stream. Thanks mainly to David and Charlie. Herewith sartorial SAP. (corrections to my descriptions welcome from any fashionistas out there)


Henning Kagermann wearing a mid spread collar with snap tabs, single cuffs white shirt, and a pink woven tie. Knotted with a Windsor.

Here is Kagermann at Sapphire Atlanta. consistent look, different tie.

Ernie Gunst: Head of SAP EMEA

Similar look. Strong pink tie, Windsor or half Windsor knot. mid spread collar. In my opinion the trousers are probably a touch long, although this look is quite fashionable at the moment.


The pink tie theme has reached the SME market. Tom Kindermans, SVP SME EMEA. Midspread collar, perfectly tied Windsor (I think) . Suit probably Hugo Boss.

Leo breaks the pink tie trend with an elegant dark blue patterned tie.  Grey suit with faint pale blue chalk stripe, single cuff shirt.  Immaculate!

 Chris Conde, CEO of Sungard. In a bow tie. Excellent! I saw it close up later, and it is a blue and red checked pattern. Definitely not a clip on. (I asked him!)


For his keynote Leo wore a blue suit with a blue tie. The tie had small polka dots on. Single cuff white shirt, mid-spread and a half- Windsor knot.

Hasso Plattner at Atlanta. For years Hasso has often worn a very widespread, cutback collar, and he tends to tie a big Windsor knot. Here in chalk stripe double breasted suit. 


Hans-Peter Klaey, mid spread collar, quite long points, probably an eterna shirt. I think this is his favourite tie, as he wears it alot. 



Amit Chatterjee, head of GRC,with button down collar, Lucian check, single cuff. 4 in hand knot. This is a very American look, but the tie is probably an Armani or similar.



 Ian Kimbell’s tie, on the other hand, is rather off the wall. Much like Ian.

To quote my favourite novelist of all time.

“What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? … “There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter” — PG Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Impending Doom


Perhaps  I will start a photo blog of developer attire next.

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14 thoughts on “The sartorial side of Sapphire”

  1. Hans-Peter – maybe it’s the only tie he’s got?

    As for dress sense – the bloggers in the photo call with Henning richly deserve the Irregular moniker.

    Me? Jogging pants and (preferably) Blue Monster T-shirt. The height of EI Slob.

    Which reminds me – if I do meet FBPN folk – I’ll need to get a suit!

  2. I can save you the trouble describing my SAPPHIRE attire:

    “Charlie wears an off-the -rack suit bought 20 pounds ago when he ran 5 km every other day and ate well, paired with a button-down solid blue shirt of questionable origin sporting faded stains that help remind him of his two-year-old sons at home. Rubber-soled shoes harken back to his days working for Stellent, now an Oracle subsidiary based in the frozen (and slippery) wasteland of Minnesota. No tie.”

  3. Thomas, I can’t really call myself a mathematician any longer since it’s been years since I last worked in that discipline. However, I’m happy to talk to you about mathematics at any time, though I suspect that we will have more conversations centered around food and cooking. (Thanks for the plug!)

    By the way, with regards to fashion sense, I would steer away from getting any sort of advice from a mathematician (including myself). Having spent the better part of a decade hanging around math departments, I know first hand that fashion felons abound in those hallowed halls…

  4. Kicking myself that I didn’t grab a photo of you, Thomas, when you adjourned to the Communities of Innovation corner at Sapphire Vienna on day last. You looked very natty and dapper in your suit.

  5. Hi Tom, ties are a sensitive subject for any right thinking man. I’m not entirely convinced by Ian Kimball’s tie which appears to be of the novelty variety. Jeeves might raise an eyebrow. Nor a bow tie which runs the risk of projecting the image of eccentricity or faux intellectualism, If that’s a word. I’m reassured that it wasn’t a ‘jemima’. Phew. Hans Peter’s tie is American it appears, whereas Hasso’s is European. Yet Hasso lives in the States and Hans Peter in Europe. A strange yet beguiling contrast. The stripes give it away, as any fule kno’.
    Keep up the good work and hope to see you in Blighty before too long.
    PS The Winsdor knot really is the most awful invention, it makes a tie look pre-knotted like a copper’s and it just too symetrical to be attractive..where’s the jaunty angle, eh?

  6. This is so cool! I happened across it looking for Ian Kimball’s title, of all things. I work for SAP in Palo Alto, though I am currently in Karlsruhe for DKOM. I too am a devoted fan of the sartorialist!

    Please, please do a blog on developer fashion – or DKOM or TechEd attire – it would be so fun! If you get a few of these type blogs together, I’d consider doing a story on the for SAP News. (I’m a contributor.)


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