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The many men who have long scorned the necktie as a foolish fashion are getting some welcome help these days from an unexpected quarter.

Forget the old claim that the tie is not only a waste of good cloth but also that its constriction around the neck makes one swelter needlessly during the summer.Now there's a more telling argument against ties: They amount to an invitation to get mugged.

That's the contention of Jay Aceto, a Virginia businessman who is also a martial-arts experts. After surveying 3,000 reported assaults, Aceto discovered that when the victims were executives wearing business suits, the attacker nearly always used their ties to spin them around, choke or otherwise threaten them.

His sensible advice: Get rid of the necktie, particularly when there's no one to impress. "Then," says Aceto, "you're no longer wearing a `handle' for a mugger." And tieless mavericks can tell the boss they're not being unfashionable, they are just preventing crime.

Another good suggestion for the street-smart business person is to keep $50 in a handy pocket for potential muggers, who may take it and go away. This may also prevent an inconvenience like the one recently suffered by a Washington attorney. He wasn't carrying any loose change for his attacker, who then settled for the victim's expensive Armani suit and silk boxer shorts.