If clothes make the man, ties make him hotter.

That was the theory behind radio station WMAL's "Why Knot" push yesterday, encouraging offices to push up thermostats to save energy, and men to cut ties to help keep their cool.

A worthy effort, except many offices, including those of the D.C. government, found they could not control their individual office temperature.

And many government offices already had dress codes encouraging more casual dress for men and women.

Sen. Spark M. Mastunaga (D-Hawaii) loved the idea and declared the spirit right for his staff to don aloha shirts. But he forgot to tell them.

In Sen. Floyd Haskell's (D-Col.) office, where the one thermometer registered 80 degrees, male members of the staff shed their ties. The senator, who hates ties, kept one in his back pocket, however, to be prepared to go onto the Senate floor, where ties are required.

Over at the American Association of Retired Persons there was no thermometer, but most men agreed they felt cooler without a tie. Nicholas Willard, state legislative representative for the AARP said, "The basic reason anyone wears a tie is affecting how people are going to react to you." But no one had reacted any differently to his green Chemise Lacoste. "I'm basically the same person," he said.

At WMAL, where the air conditioning equipment malfuntioned yesterday, temperatures climbed to 92 degrees at one point.

Only Jerry Anderson, executive director of the National Neckwear Assn. was hot under the collar. "How ridiculous to make the tie the symbol of the whole energy problem," he said. He suggested alternatives: wear lighter weight suits and ties; wear clip-on ties; wear a larger neck size shirt.

By 4 p.m. yesterday, total meagawatt consumption, according to PEPCO, was 3,447, up significantly from the day before but not as high as the all-time record, exactly a week ago, of 3,730.

"We tried," said a WMAL spokesman, mopping her brow. "Maybe someone will bring back windows."