A Guide to Mastering the Tie Clip

Two men walk into a bar and… well, chances are they are both wearing one.

While men have accessorized with tie clips for ages, there has been a recent resurgence in their popularity. With thanks to a revitalized interest in classic and more formal men’s style, gentlemen everywhere have begun to take part in this very clean and very modern subtle look. The tie clip (or tie bar) is a small, finishing detail that has a huge impact on your look.

If you are sick of getting food on your tie when you lean over to eat, if you can’t stand the wind taking over, then opting for a tie clip may be the answer you are looking for. Although it seems simple and pretty obvious, it is easy to lose your put-together look by improperly wearing one. Follow these golden rules to ensure your tie clip always serves its functional and stylistic purpose.

The History of Tie Clips

Picture source: GQ

Accessories have the ability to upgrade your look significantly. Take for example the tie clip, this small and simple accessory can add sophistication to any suit and tie combination. Furthermore, apart from its great addition to your look, it is also very practical to keep your tie in place on occasions where you have to lean across a table with food and candles, stand up frequently or shake many hands.

Tie clips, tie bars, tie slides, tie clasps… They all refer to the horizontal thing that securely clips a neck tie to the dress shirt. The tie as we know it today, became popular around the year 1850. About 20 years later, men started using tie pins to affix the tie to the shirt. Eventually, in the 1920s, tie clips became more popular, because they did not require to puncture and thus damage the delicate ties.

The tie clip had been gratefully embraced by the American corporate, civic, and political culture. It could easily be used as a miniature billboard and most presidents have their signature put on a tie clip. Other than that, tie clips were also used for memorial purposes, like for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Many civic-minded groups, schools and corporations followed.

Now the question remains, how did this accessory, once a menswear staple, fall so precipitously from favor? As fashion became more casual during the 20th century, the tie clip started fading from the fashion world. Suits in general became less popular to wear to sport games, which gave the tie clip a more ‘corporate’ image. Moreover, the typical lifelong job at one company became less common and people were not as tied to one company as they used to be. This also resulted in leaving the typical tie clip, with the name of the company on it, at home.

Lately, the tie clip seems to be making a comeback. Although it’s still not common to wear it, we vote in favor of the tie clip! It is still functional and can make your look much more sophisticated very easily. For those lucky enough to have bought one years ago, got one as a gift or inherited one: dig it up, make it shine and start wearing it! For the unfortunate people among us that do not have a tie clip roaming around or the one you already have should not ever be seen in daylight, we have bad and good news. Let’s start with the bad news. The tie clip has become an endangered species. Especially in comparison with neck ties. Even if you are not looking to buy a tie in Manhattan, you will still be bombarded with the amount of ties that are available in stores and even on the streets. A tie clip, however, is no where to be found in the big department stores. The good news is, nowadays literally anything can be purchased over the internet. You can find some very affordable tie clips on Amazon.com or Thetiebar.com. For a fancier clip, you should visit Mrporter.com.


Article source: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/fashion/2007/05/here_lies_the_tie_clip.html?nav=tap3, by Paul Devlin