What Is A Tie Clip Used For?
Tie clips are used to hold a necktie in place. A tie clip is for both form & function, as it is used to attach one’s tie to a shirt and look good in the process! This stops the tie from flapping around in the breeze, and / or dunking in one’s soup. This aim is achieved by “clipping” the tie to the shirt placket.
Holding a necktie in place has functional and aesthetic advantages, namely that it keeps the tie from flying everywhere throughout the day, and a man’s look is neatened up considerably as a result of this. Furthermore, tie clips offer their own aesthetic value as the are made in a wide range of designs and colors.
With all that said, a tie bar can also be a really quick way to show the world how little you know about style and menswear if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to use a tie clip and the basic rules of wearing one.
How To Wear A Tie Clip
- Place the tie clip around the shirt opening
- Slide the tie into the gap and release the clasp
- Check your work
- Admire your tamed tie
Tip: if you’re looking down at the tie, your perspective may seem to “shorten” the amount of tie fabric required. Therefore, just make sure there is some excess to allow for some freedom of movement.
There are three main factors to keep in mind in order to know how to wear a tie clip correctly:
- Correct Placement
- Correct Size / Width
- Proper Angle
Correct Tie Bar Placement
The tie clip typically sits between the third and fourth button down on your dress shirt.
There can be a few slight exceptions, which would relate to the jackets “stance” (where the jacket’s lapels meet at its top button, and how low that point is). At most, this will only ever be a few inches.
DON’T wear it somewhere near your midsection, or up around your throat. It’s not much use up there!
The tie clip SHOULD be seen when your jacket is on and buttoned, which, when standing, should be all the time.
Correct Size & Width
There are three possible options for the size of a tie clip, two are right and one is wrong!
- Wider = NO!
- Same = YES
- Narrower = YES, as long as it still clasps to both the tie and shirt while not distorting the tie off line
Proper Angle For Tie Bars
First, let’s be clear: it’s entirely acceptable to wear your tie bar at a 180-degree angle. This is how most men do it, and most men who wear it this way look perfectly fine.
It is, however, generally considered a bit rakish to angle your tie bar slightly in one direction, generally downward. This is thought to be an aspect of sprezzatura, adding a dash of, “Oh, I just put this on real quick and didn’t have to think about it too much” panache.
Still, there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing, as we see below:
Don’t Become An Over Dandy-ized Victim!
The angle of the tie clip above is simply too “try-hard,” which we can see because it looks so unnatural. Also, this example shows the tie clip far too high up on the tie, and worn with a waistcoat, no less (more on that last bit further down this page).
When To Wear A Tie Clip & Choosing The Right One
When deciding which tie bar to choose for your ensemble, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First of all, what’s the occasion? Formal occasions such as business meetings will often call for a plain gold or silver tie bar, which gives a sleek edge to a traditional look.
On the other hand, more casual settings like a beach wedding can give you a great opportunity to show off some personality with your tie bar.
What Are The Occasions For Wearing Tie Clips?
Below are some general guidelines to help you choose the best tie bar for the occasion:
Tie Clips At Work / Office
This is dependent on company culture. If your dress code is business professional, you can generally get away with any tie clip that’s silver or gold. It can have some engraving or even be a unique design, so long as it’s subtle.
If you work in a field that’s sartorially conservative, such as law, government, or finance, it’s advisable to stick to plain metals in silver or gold.
Tie Clips At Job Interviews
Job interviews require that you put your best foot forward, and part of that is minimizing distractions while demonstrating, through your clothing choices, that you “get it.” As such, choose a simple silver tie bar. Not engraving, no etching, no funky designs. Save that for after you’ve gotten the job.
If you want to learn more about what to wear on this occasion, head to our job interview guide.
Tie Clips At Weddings
Weddings are fun, celebratory occasions, and your tie clip choice can reflect that. If you’re a groom or groomsman, you can coordinate tie clip colors with one of your wedding colors (assuming you aren’t wearing a suit with a vest, in which case you should forgo a tie clip altogether).
Guests can coordinate their tie clips with a different part of their outfit, such as a pocket square. Generally speaking, if you choose to wear a brightly-colored tie clip, keep the color seasonal: light, bright colors in spring and summer, and muted, darker tones in autumn and winter.
For a full-blown guide on everything to know about weddings regardless of your role in them, see our wedding guide.
Tie Clips At Funerals
Funerals are kind of the opposite of weddings: this is not the time for personalization, color, or fun, quite frankly. Your job is to be respectful to the deceased and his / her family, and maintaining a neat appearance with a simple silver or gold tie clip is the best way to do that.
Tie Clip Color: Gold, Silver, Or Other?
Most tie clips are made of either gold or silver, or some metal that’s one of those colors if not the precious metal itself? How do you know which ones to wear?
A good rule of thumb is to ensure that your metals match outfit-wide. If you’re wearing a belt with a silver buckle, for example, wear a silver tie clip. If the hardware on your braces is gold, a gold tie clip would make the most sense.
This is all great for dressier outfits, but what about more casual ones? This is where colorful or more boldly designed tie clips can come into play, but what’s the best way to coordinate them with an outfit?
Tie clips share the same visual plane as the tie, shirt, pocket square, and braces (if applicable). As such, it makes the most sense to coordinate your tie clip’s color with one of these items.
Color coordination is a whole subject unto itself, and we have an entire color guide dedicated to it if you need help on that front.
How To NOT Wear A Tie Clip
As we mentioned above, you should never wear a tie clip angled so drastically that it would serve as an unwelcome distraction from your ensemble instead of a handsome addition to it.
Furthermore, there are certain garments that compromise a tie bar’s purpose. A tie bar was initially designed as a functional tool for narrowing a tie’s range of motion, and it loses its root function when wearing a waistcoat (vest) or sweater.
Never With A Waistcoat Or Vest
A waistcoat or vest precludes the need for a tie bar, as the waistcoat is performing the same function the tie bar would. Wearing a tie clip in a case like this would be sartorially redundant, which robs it of all its style points:
We see the same concept at work when we replace the waistcoat with a sweater (“jumper” for our British readers):
No Need Good Sir!
Learn More About Ties & Menswear
Now that you know more about how to properly wear a tie clip like a pro, you may be interested in learning more about men’s style. Check out some of our other comprehensive resources below: