As corporate America began developing, tie clips became even more prominent and were worn by dignitaries, executives, middle management and even the layman. If you wore a business suit to work, you wore a tie, and if you wore a tie, you wore a tie clip.
Within the last couple of years, it seems like tie clips have gained somewhat in popularity again.
Types of Tie Clips
There are many different styles that can help keep your tie in place while keeping you looking dapper. Let’s examine a few of them.
This is the original tie clip. It can be found in many different metals, shapes and even with diamonds, rubies or other jewels affixed to it. It usually has a little chain with a T-bar attached to it, which is put through a shirt buttonhole to keep the tie in place. This is like a lapel pin in that it pierces your tie and shirt, to hold the tie in place. It works well for woven silk ties or coarser fabrics such as wool or cashmere neckties because the little tack won’t leave a mark. If you only wear finely printed foulard ties, it is probably not the right choice for you since the little holes may not disappear completely.
Tie Clip or Tie Bar
The most popular of the bunch, it’s two bars attached by a spring mechanism that latch together or sometimes just a simple bar. You basically clasp your tie to your front shirt placket and that’s all. The bar or clip design comes in many different options, some of which are truly ugly and cheap looking, but also very refined ones. Suits Unlimited carries only the latter.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s it was popular to have a chain with a clip on the end that latches behind the tie onto the shirt. Often the chain will feature a fob of sorts and acts as a method to hold the tie loosely but still securely in place. You can find a lot of inexpensive vintage pieces at estate sales, vintage stores and some menswear stores.
Tie Stick Pin
The tie stick pin is technically not a tie bar, but you also use it to keep your tie in place. It is particularly common with a stroller suit or a morning coat, like you see on royals in the United Kingdom, and is more decorative than practical. Classic versions are made of solid 14k or 18k gold with a white pearl, but you can find them also with diamonds or other precious and semi-precious stones and decorations. Considering you rarely see them these days, I find a simple stick pin to be the best addition to a formal daywear outfit.
The Why & When to wear a Tie Clip
Decorative: men enjoy adding an accessory, just like cuff links or a watch.
Keep your ties clean: whenever you lean over the dining table, you run the risk of your tie touching your plate or meal. A tie clip prevents that from happening.
Great for Doctors: When an MD sees a patient, they often must lean over, and without a vest or clip the tie touches the patient. So, either you can wear a bow tie, or a tie with a tie clip
Essential for people with one shoulder lower than the other: A tie clip helps always keep the tie straight.
Good for popping tie knots: If you like the look of popping tie knots (tie knots that don’t lay flat on the shirt but pop up a bit), a tie bar helps to keep the popped knot in place
It’s rare when something so small and so intricate can have such a huge impact on the way a man looks.
How to Wear a Tie Clip Do’s & Don’ts
1. Clip it to your shirt: The first thing to remember is that the tie bar is intended to keep the tie in place, and it does so by grasping onto the shirt placket. Some men will often wear tie clips thinking it just holds the small neck and big neck of the tie together, when it fact it’s meant to be attached directly to the shirt.
2. Tie Clip Positioning: The Position of the tie bar is crucial and should be a couple inches or centimeters above your jacket’s closing button. Sometimes you see people wear it rather high up which is too much in your face. If you don’t wear a jacket, attach it somewhere close to your natural waistline or above.
3. Tie Clip Width: The width of the tie clip should always be shorter than the width of the tie, preferably about 70 – 80% of the width. So, if you have skinny ties and wide ties, you need different tie clips.
4. Tie Clip Angle: If you have a tie clip that is too long, angle it slightly. It all depends on your look. Casual outfits might benefit from a slight angle while polished business outfits look better with a horizontal tie clip.
5. Tie Clips & Vests: If you wear a vest, and you still want to use a tie clip, wear it invisibly underneath your vest, otherwise it is simply too much, and you should skip it. For the most part, the vest will fulfill the function of a clip and you can skip the clip.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our article on tie bars and clips. It may seem like they’re not as stylish as they once were, but they are amid a comeback and just like cuff links or watches, they really help you personalize your outfit without breaking the bank.