Simplifying the Tie Bar

Tie bars are the most functional of men’s accessories, built to keep their wearer’s necktie in place and look damn good doing it, too. As easily as slipping one on can make your outfit look like a million bucks, overthinking the simple accessory is one of its most common pitfalls. Here’s my less-is-more guide to wearing a tie clip.

Types

Tie bars fall into two main categories. Your garden variety is smooth on the inside and slides on like a paper clip. These are perfect for most types of ties and won’t damage more delicate knit numbers, but may not fit over a thicker piece. The other — a hinged clip with teeth — uses gentle pressure to fasten more robust ties.

Positioning

A clip should be secured over your tie and under your shirt’s placket so that it’s just visible when you button your suit jacket. Wearing it any higher renders the clip’s functionality useless and may make it appear too wide for the tie. I find a horizontal orientation is the only good-looking option; wearing it at an angle’s just plain sloppy.

Width

The ideal tie bar should be just around three quarters the width of your tie, maybe slightly longer. A too-short clip, while rakish, comes undone easily and can off-centre the tie. Although I find it permissible to wear a bar that cuts across the full width of a skinny tie, you’re better off with a smaller clip that maintains that perfect 4:3 tie-to-tie-bar ratio.

Matching

Unless you’re sporting a coloured or novelty tie bar, any neutral metal (gold, silver) will pair equally well with any tie. And while I don’t suggest unduly obsessing over matching your tie bar to your timepiece and the buckles of your double monks, coordinating the accessory with at least your belt buckle helps pull together the chest area of your outfit.

Over-accessorizing

Tie bar, cuff links, pocket square, lapel pin: pick two and wear them well.

Keep it simple and stylish, my friends.

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