I despise both.

The decorative flourish of which I approve is a rare one. From a purely aesethic perspective they usually look like afterthoughts. Worse, they serve no useful purpose and in fact are often a considerable burden.

Neckties are expensive. Cheap neckties do not tie well and generally look worse than any other necktie. They take time to tie, are difficult to wash, constrict the neck, and generally just get in the way. The explanations I’ve seen suggest that the modern necktie is a descendent of a Croatian cavalryman’s neck cloth. It was seen as both a practical and aesthetic improvement on the lame lace neck cloths that French soldiers wore and such was the birth of the necktie. I believe these original neck cloths served some purpose in keeping the collar together and preventing it from flapping about.

Window shutters were ostensibly used to protect windows from debris and the like, especially in storms. We can get away without using them today. Windows of old were more fragile and far more expensive (hence the use of mullions - small panes are easier to install, less apt to break than larger ones, and are cheaper to replace in the event that they do break). Those windows could not withstand the elements. Today’s windows most certainly can. Not only are shutters unnecessary they’re almost always functionless, to the point of nailing single pieces of molded plastic to the wall next to a window. Ugly; the architectual equivalent of a clip-on tie (if you’re going to do “shit” then you might as well do it properly). Worse, the “nice looking” shutters, the authentic wooden ones, are extraordinarily expensive to maintain.

Flourishes do work sometimes. They work, naturally, when they improve the image. But the flourish has to be added for its own aesthetic characteristics (yes, I am assuming that the aesthetic charecteristics of an object can be divided into those that are formed from its visual relation to its surrounds and the charecteristics anchored in its socio-historic context). Exterior decorative shutters are added almost entirely for their anachronistic appeal. They are visually comforting because people are used to seeing them. They seem to be nothing more than a lagged bridge to the past. I don’t see anyone sticking hand cranks onto their cars. No, that would look ridiculous!

A good rule of thumb I think would be to see whether a similar but not too similar substitute would be acceptable. If not, then the flourish is wasteful. Take a friend’s pet peeve - “vestigial” buttons. Could the buttons on a man’s blazer sleeve be replaced with stitchings, daubs of color, or something else that can’t be mistaken for a button? Probably not, and thus the buttons should go. Could painted rectangles replace shutters next to windows? No? Get rid of the uglies already!